Richard Stone, a man full of fine aesthetics and design talents, didn’t have a traditional upbringing in the world of antiques and interior design. In fact, he doesn’t have any formal education in the field at all. Despite that fact, Stone has created a place for himself as a photography stylist, where he applies his passion for good design.
At age 15, Richard spent his days after school merchandising a local antique shop in Amherst, Virginia. The owner became his mentor. She would let him trade his display services for pieces in her store, such as Pickard China, American Cut Glass, Limoges, and so on. Richard said, “I often think of that period of time as the ‘glory days’ of antiques and decorative objects.” Looking back, he says that there were items he wished he would have purchased because to this day, he has not seen them again. He remembers that in the late 80’s and early 90’s, the Laura Ashley English Country-style ruled with an iron fist. Later on into the 90’s, “Martha Stewart came on the scene with her own signature simple-elegant-organic-meets-pretty style,” says Stone. He believes that the combination of the two is what spawned his love for his signature “pretty” look.
Richard’s early background in store merchandising and window displays was just a stepping stone in his career. It gave him time to develop his aesthetic, but it was missing something. After two decades of merchandising for clothing and home decor companies, he didn’t feel that his craft was being fully appreciated by the consumer. With a large amount of avidity, he asked himself an important question, “What could I possibly do for a living where my work would remain permanent and never touched?”
One day Richard was flipping through Virginia Living magazine when he noticed the words “styling by” and started his investigation into what that meant exactly. Fast forward to his first photo shoot–
“I sat in on a food shoot with the art director of the magazine, and Kip Dawkins, a photographer I still have the pleasure of working with twelve years later. From there, I began styling homes and food features for the magazine. I was introduced to Bill Sorrell, the leading stylist in town, who had big-name fabric and wallpaper clients, such as Stroheim, Thibaut, Schumacher, and Travers. Bill agreed to take me on under a trial basis, and it became clear to us after my first shoot with him that I had found what I needed to do. The process of how the photography sets came together instantly captivated me. It was a world that combined everything I loved– beauty, imagination, and most of all, permanence.”
Richard found his place in the design world and was still setting goals for himself. He once thought that the greatest accomplishment he could have in his career would be to get Scalamandré as a client. Richard is thrilled to say that after a fortunate twist of events, they are now his client. He began work with their former creative director who set out on a mission to breathe new life into the brand.
Taking what he had learned early on, Richard to this day still has an adoration for antiques. He says, “antiques have always played a pivotal role in my life, whether I’m collecting for myself or buying to re-sell. I am addicted to the thrill of the hunt.”
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