Thank you for your interest. If you've reached this page, it means you are interested in learning more. Every designer works at least a little bit differently, and I understand that you are looking for a designer that fits you. On this page I share plenty of information about how I work. Note that no amount of information can replace a good old fashioned conversation, and if you believe we may be a good fit for your project I invite you to reach out. I look forward to speaking with you.
– Robert Trotman, ASID
ABOUT MY CLIENTS
My clients often like to entertain in their home. They are interested in art and want their home to be filled with art. They want my help and want to delegate almost all of the work of making their home beautiful to me. They often know what they like, but are looking for an expert to manage the project and make the process simple and stress free. My clients generally understand that the physical architecture of the house may need to be tweaked to make rooms function at their optimum level and to be a pleasing backdrop for all their new furniture and art.
ABOUT THE PROCESS
My clients rely on us to do almost all of the research and sourcing of all new purchases for their home. They generally are not interested in going with me to showrooms and workrooms. They might want to go to a showroom to sit on a piece of upholstered furniture, but that’s about it. I don't ask them to look through a bunch of catalogues. I bring them two or three good carefully chosen choices. Once they approve all the furniture and fabrics for a project, we manage the ordering, receiving, and delivery. On the day of installation, I personally inspect all new items. If there are any flaws, we handle any necessary corrections directly with the manufacturer. You have better things to do with your time than try to find a piece of furniture or a fabric. That’s why you hire us. You want it done in a timely manner, smoothly and professionally.
I like it when a client doesn’t yet have much art and looks to me to find beautiful pieces. Of course, I'm just as able to help those who have an existing collection of pieces or who may simply need a piece or two to complete the space.
I do high end residential. I like starting with a major remodel or new construction, in which I design the interior architecture. Even if there is an architect, I usually custom design the kitchen, bathrooms and any built-in cabinetry, such as a library. I also do the space planning during the architectural design phase if it’s new construction with an architect involved or if it’s a remodel, I do all of this as part of the remodeling design. By this I mean that I do a complete furniture layout for my client’s approval during the design phase.
Once the space planning is complete, and the drawings are all approved, I inspect the project throughout construction.
The next step is to decorate the house. I especially like to design custom rugs. I give the client a complete proposal for all items of furniture, accessories, window treatments, and custom wall treatments.
As we near completion of the construction and start getting close to furniture installation, I like to place any of the client’s existing art and then find pieces for walls that don’t yet have art.
Besides custom cabinetry, I also often design custom pieces of furniture, especially coffee tables.
I also have a lot of experience with custom art commissions. I have commissioned two large wall installations by Dale Chihuly, as well as several other glass commissions by local glass artists. I have a very good relationship with numerous local art galleries and am very familiar with almost all of their artists.
The goal of my work is to create calm and peaceful spaces with exude comfort and are inviting just to look at. I want rooms to subliminally say "come and sit here and enjoy this space”—enjoy the art, enjoy the view, enjoy just being in this room
The way it do this is to first of all, use upholstered goods which LOOK comfortable. Of course, they must actually be comfortable as well. I don’t like to use colors that are too light for carpets or upholstery. I don’t want anyone to look at a room and think "OMG, I will get that sofa or carpet dirty just by walking or sitting on it. I better avoid this room.” I like to layer a room with a beautiful carpet. Usually it is fairly simple, as I always want the art in the room to shine. I don’t want too many interesting pieces of furniture in a room. Maybe a I‹nock out coffee table or a focal point cabinet.
Most of the fabrics I use are quite plain in color, but have a beautiful, subtle texture. Again , I want the art to shine,
But in addition to the art, I like beautiful pillows, that can be minor works of art in themselves. They can be an exceptionally beautiful textile or a rug fragment. On table tops I like to see interesting objects and I like to fill a room with beautiful books. And often we will add plants to soften a room and add another layer. I’m also fond of orchid plants because they are easy to care for and if the client travels a lot or this is only a part time residence, there are very realisitic faux orchids.
POINT OF VIEW
I believe a home should be a sanctuary where a person feels safe and comfortable. The client should like to just look at any of the rooms in their home and feel satisfied and bask in the beauty of the space.
My job as a designer is to interpret what “comfort” means for that particular client. For some clients it means a lot of layers of things. lt may mean incorporating inherited items that have special meaning to the client, For others, "comfort” may mean a very few well edited pieces of art with lots of negative space around them. lt’s figuring out what colors make them happy. l’ve found that it’s usually the colors they look good in personally). Comfort for one client may be knowing that whatever their grandchildren spill on the sofa or rug, it’s not going to matter because it will be easy to clean. For other clients, comfort ÏS IUXUF , having a sofa upholstered in silk velvet or a chair in cashmere.
Finding art for a client is perhaps the greatest challenge, but the one I enjoy the most. And the layer that most defines a wonderful space. It is getting to know the client and then thinking of all the artists I know who make work and what artists may appeal to that particular client.
I specialize in whole house projects. Ones which require great organization and the ability to see the big picture. To be able to give a client a pretty good estimate of what their major remodel will cost and what it will cost to furnish their new home.
To be able to allocate a budget over the total square footage of the house and use it to its best effect.
I think the thing that I do better than any designer in Portland is use art to its’ best advantage to make a room warm and inviting and interesting.
However, I think my clients, especially my repeat clients choose me because I always get things done when I say that I will and I make the process very easy for them. They just show up when we install and their house then looks like it has been lived in for years. It’s not a work in progress. It’s ready to have a cocktail party that night!
This is hard to answer. I think I first start with the raw space, ie the bones of the house. Can I make this room beautiful and comfortable, or do we need to make the windows larger, do we need to change the fireplace or re-do the floors. Or do we need to add a lot of lighting to showcase their art?
Then, if it’s a new client, I have to figure out what they want. Do they want a more formal space? A space that is multi functional, ie works well for two people who inhabit the room most of the time AND can work for when their 4 grandchildren are staying with them for the weekend.
I try to figure out what colors they like. And whether or not they want bright colors or very subdued colors. I try to figure out what kind of art they might like by observing the art they already have. or just questioning them about what they like in a piece of art.
I think that I’m very intuitive. From just talking I learn a lot about the client. And observing their reaction to certain fabrics, certain colors, certain pieces of art.
I am based in Portland, Oregon. For personal reasons I need to work close to Portland because of my partner’s health. I don’t need to say that but don’t want to stress that I can do projects out of state as I did in the past. I would do a large project out of state for the right job.
I work with a team. I have two assistants and an office manager. However, I am in charge of every project and do all the client meetings. Each assistant is assigned to a project. If it’s a particularly large project I might have both of them work on it. I sometimes have the assistant go with me to client meetings to take notes and to get the lay of the land.
We are a full service design firm. By that I mean we can design all of the interior architecture for either a remodel or new construction; select all finishes; inspect during construction; do all of the space planning; select all furniture, rugs, upholstery, window treatments and wall treatments; select all accessories and help in the selection of all artwork. For some clients we even go so far as to select their dishes, table linens and glassware.
I have been in business since 1986. I have always just worked for myself and had my own firm. We have completed projects as small as the furnishing of just one room to doing all of the interior architecture, space planning, all furnishings and artwork for a 16,000 square foot residence.
The named buildings that I have worked in in Portland are the following high end condominiums: The Gregory, the Elizabeth, the Eliott, Fountain Plaza, as well as a very exclusive retirement condominium, the Mirabella.
I have many repeat clients. These are clients with multiple homes. I have one client for whom I have done 7 residences all up and down the west coast. Another client for whom I’ve done 5 residences. Another for whom I’ve done 4. And several for whom I’ve done three.
I think that my repeat clients hire me because I am able to get their job completed in a timely manner with very little involvement of their time. We have 2 or 3 planning meetings. I give them enough options for them to maI‹e a decision. The next time they see me is at the installation, which I always oversee.
At the time of that installation, all rugs, window treatments, furniture, accessories and art work are installed. In most cases the client could have a cocktail party at their home the next day and the house would look like it had been finished for years. In other words, there are no blank walls or missing items.
I have worked with hundreds of clients over the years.
Most of my clients have always been at least 50 years old. Most of the husbands are CEOs of companies, although I almost always work exclusively with the wife. Although one of my favorite clients was a woman CEO. It was all her money and she didn’t have to get approval of any budgets.
I’ve worked for the CEO of Fred Meyer, Albertsons, Rite-Aid, Jeld-Wen and Blockbuster Video. Other clients have been top executives at Nike and Amazon.
My clients are all quite wealthy and they are used to hiring experts to delegate tasks to. Their time is valuable. In most cases I’m working with the wife, but even if she doesn’t work outside the home, she likes to spend her time with her kids or grandkids, or golfing/other sports and with her friends. She doesn’t like to “shop” for her home. She just wants it to look beautiful and be functional.
I would say that the only thing relatively unique about my interiors is how dependent they are on the use of original art.
I cant’ say that I’m the leading designer in Portland in any way. POINT OF VIEW
I have always tried to avoid having a “signature style”. I approach any project by first evaluating the existing architecture of the residence. I try to first correct any awkward features,so that there is a pleasing backdrop for the furnishings and art I will be adding.
I then try to size up the client. Are they looking for a lot of luxury? Are they more modern or traditional? Is easy maintenance extremely important?
My goal is to create rooms that are first and foremost comfortable. By that I mean, rooms that LOOK comfortable and of course, are physically comfortable ( good upholstery, fabrics that feel nice, pleasing coIors,etc,)
I also want my rooms to be interesting. Rooms that a visitor are immediately drawn to because of the things in the room. For that I primarily rely on interesting artwork and accessories. But it can also be a beautiful carpet, rich looking, tactile fabrics or even the color of the walls.
In terms of a phrase, I don’t have one, but it would involve "comfortable” being the first thing one thinks of when they see a room. For me, that’s the greatest compliment and what I am always striving for.
Designers who have influenced my work are Bunny Williams, Alyssa Cullman, and Thomas Jayne. PRESS
I have been published in Luxe magazine for the apartment called “Collector” on my website. ASSOCIATIONS
I am a professional member of ASID. I passed the NCIDQ in 1998. I was the chapter president from 1998- 2000.
I am a trustee of the Portland Art Museum, where I chair the Collections Committee. The 50 member board of trustees are the ruling body of this non -profit organization. I have also been a docent at the Portland Art Museum
for 16 years. I also am a board member of the Pacific Youth Choir, a 300 member children’s choir, which is the leading childrens’ choir in the city.
I have a BA in history from the University of Oregon. I have a JD from Northwestern School of Law. I studied architecture at the University of Oregon for three years. I also studied in Berlin and Paris as an undergraduate.
Every two years I complete 10 hours of continuing education to keep my ASID status. BACKGROUND
I grew up in southern Oregon. I have a partner STORY
I practiced law for 10 years. After practicing for about 8 years, I said to myself that I just don’t want to do this the rest of my life. From an early age I was always interested in architecture, but when I was in college in the early Seventies, it wasn’t a great time to be an architect. The economy was up and down and my architecture professors told me that I would need to design anything that came up: churches, dental offices, schools, etc. I was only interested in designing houses. My professors told me I’d never maI‹e a living doing that, so I abandoned architecture after 3 years of studying.
As I started thinking about a second career, interior design seemed a better and better option. I had always spent a lot of time on my own residence, had designed and decorated my sister’s home and was always helping friends picI‹ out paint colors, furniture,etc.
I finally decided to just start doing projects while I was still practicing law. I did that for 2 years and then had so many clients that I left my law firm.
I worked from my home for many years until I had a staff of 5 and didn’t want them in my home everyday.
WHAT I LOVE: I love the process of transformation. Of taking an awkward space and making it a jewel box. Of moving furniture so that it suddenly makes sense and welcomes people into a room rather than repel them.
I particularly like architectural transformation or creating architecture that draws you to that room.
I also love how art can completely transform a space. I’ve literally installed a million dollars of new furniture in a house and the house felt flat and empty and lifeless until the art was installed on the walls. It’s magical.