Home / Our Team / Deb Trombley

Deb Trombley

Deb Trombley

She draws outside the lines and thinks outside the box. She’s always willing to go “off the reservation” when it comes to decorating.

Deb Trombley lives near Chicago, where she decorates with finds from global travels and does DIYs inspired by design from cultures around the world. She is enthusiastic about patterns: carved in wood, set in stone, painted on walls and woven into textiles. Deb and her husband have a second home apartment in India, where she seeks inspiration for finishing its construction and decorating it with global style. She shares these design adventures at her blog, India pied-à-terre.

 

Deb’s personal style and home decorating styles…

My personal style is currently very simple – neutral colors! I have been putting less energy on clothes lately and choosing bolder jewelry instead. But that could change in a moment! I’m fickle with clothes. My home style is global in the smaller furniture and accessories. Like, a side table in our living room is a bronze rain drum found in Thailand, and it’s next to sofas and chairs from Room & Board. We’ll pair an Indian rug and an old Chinese chest with a leather Italian sofa. I have a Nagaland throw over a Chinese chair with leopard print suede cushion. I love textiles. I like both bigger contrasts and the subtle things – there’s always a place and room for both.

In my dreams I would go completely crazy! Who cares what the neighbors think! Resale value? Forget about that. My dream style would be complete freedom. Why not use a concrete chair with a fur cushion? Or a big stuffed giraffe reaching the ceiling? A slide instead of a staircase would be so fun. An entire wall that’s a salt water fish tank. Or maybe wrap the fish tank around a transparent bathtub. These are things I would choose just for me and not the rest of the world. It sounds like a big playhouse.

 

These days Deb identifies her design style most with…

Disco balls! Seriously, they keep popping up everywhere recently. My home got too serious and it needs some wacky, fun things.

 

In another life Deb would have been a…

Skydiver! So I could drop in anywhere in the world. Just whoosh in and get goin‘ somewhere new. And it would force me to pack light. I really did go skydiving once and loved it.

 

Deb’s favorite color combination is…

Red and black. They’re strong, they’re confident. I like just enough red and black to get energized from it, like a battery recharge. A room in our house is decorated with red and black, but it’s a smaller room because this combo can feel overpowering in big doses.

 

The ONE designer that Deb would like to get her house decorated by…

I really like Martyn Lawrence Bullard’s work. I like the visual influences he weaves in from various cultures. I feel he would be able to bring in the right amount of drama that I feel my house and life need right now. There is something about being bolder, bigger and using braver colors and patterns.

 

A little about Deb’s life as an artist…

I began painting with my mom! My mom, me and my sister have a tradition of painting together and the earliest memory of that I have is when I was eight and my sister was five. We painted little ceramic figures for Christmas trees. Over the years, we painted enough for the three of us to be able to decorate our own individual trees! My favorite was a little drummer boy and even now, every time I hear that Christmas song, the memories of those times when all three of us would paint around the kitchen table come back. I was always painting or coloring on something as a child, sometimes the walls, sometimes the driveway. My mom encouraged us to create.

As a teen and adult, I shifted towards creativity with words and graphics. You really can paint a picture with words. I toyed with becoming a journalist, designed publications, fell in love with fonts for a while, ran a retail catalog with my husband and  took some pottery classes. I also dabbled in sewing and jewelry-making – a creative heart has been always there but only in different ways. Even when gardening, I always look at it as a way to create something scenic. When gardening in the spring, I even think about what the plants will look like in winter because the gardens are barely six months a year in Chicago.

 

Debbie’s dream home and home decor styles…

Deb Trombley's home decorating style

Deb’s joys…

Simple things, really. Anything with a wagging tail! Snuggling with a dog or a cat. People’s smiles and laughter. Funny people. Really good chocolate. Daffodils after six months of bare trees. That spark of a moment when a great idea hits, and you just know it! Getting my hands on a huge pile of textiles. Shiny metallic paints.

 

What makes Deb unique…

I once worked in a hospital burn unit. My career is injury prevention/public health so my job was to keep people out of there. Because of what I saw and heard there, 20 years later I still work to prevent people from getting injured.

I feel most alive in the moment when walking off a plane into a place that’s different from everything I know, places like India, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos. I didn’t discover that until my early 30s because I’ve always lived in the suburbs in Midwestern states. So there’s a lot of catching up to do with travel. My husband is from India so we most often go there.

Quirky stuff: I collect dirt during our travels – I have dirt in many colors! I will only eat cereal dry because that 100% guarantees no soggy bits. I don’t read books much because I’m very undisciplined – I must get to the end of the story and won’t sleep or eat until the last page. I don’t understand how people can put a book down. So my life would be ruined if I ever joined a book club.

 

Deb’s favorite quote…

“We can’t become what we need to be by remaining what we are.” – Max De Pree who was a CEO of Herman Miller.

I heard it during my first job out of college and it has been a guiding quote of my  life since then. I’m very loyal to this quote. It’s like a guiding star. It just hit me immediately at a gut level. It fits my life philosophy of not dwelling on the past, not accepting the status quo and always making forward movement toward something, even if I don’t know what that something is at the moment.

 

Scroll To Top