New York interior design star Shawn Henderson never doubted the direction of his life’s work. After redecorating his bedroom as a teen, a project that involved various improvisations with fabric, the future unfolded before him: He was here to make homes beautiful.

Henderson is a magician at creating comfortable, yet practical, spaces that combined with just the right pieces, balances the feel of vacation plus home.Today, Henderson is the kind of niche celebrity who sets tastes for trendsetters. Recognized by top architectural publications as one of America’s go-to designers. Henderson’s quiet interiors embrace the evocative virtues of wholeness, calmness and serenity.

The result is an endlessly flexible style that seems like Zen improvisation on modern classicism, as if the space is speaking through him. A retreat in Aspen evokes mid-century geometry and restraint. A historic Southern plantation retains its traditional forms, but swaps its humid Gothic overlay for an airy collection of bright jazz notes. Henderson’s colors may be cool or warm, his choices casual or formal, but the effect is always distinct, inviting, and mentally relaxing.

Appointed by Grace Bay Resorts to give its groundbreaking new Rock House resort a look as unique as the concept, Henderson’s initial designs for the studio, one- and two-bedroom cottages epitomize comfortably sophisticated style.

The interiors speak a visual language familiar to luxury travelers steeped in world-class hotel accommodations, yet still offer the modern finishes and personal touches you’d associate with a private home.

Henderson is a magician at creating comfortable, yet practical, spaces that combined with just the right pieces, balances the feel of vacation plus home.

Henderson sat down with TCM for a fascinating chat about design and passed along some of his favorite techniques for making any indoor space pop. Try them at home!

1 remove the obstacles
I am a bit of a ‘neat freak’ so I look at the organization of everything in the room for a complete experience. This requires truly evaluating how a space is used, including daily habits. I like to consider a “home” for everything. This makes a space feel uncluttered and calm.

2 balancing act
Looking for a balance and harmony that makes you feel relaxed, I suggest adding pops of color to warm undertones. I think this combination works well together and using less saturated colors adds to the longevity of its appeal.

Colors and accents influence the feeling of a room. Using muted tones wisely imbues the room with a sense of calm, says Henderson.

3 add texture
Rock House is so much about the environment and we selected materials that complement its natural beauty. We added sheers to soften the room, while complementing the warms tones. They also offer privacy, without obstructing the view. For me, it’s important to have a mix of textures in a room. When finishes are all one-note, it can be a bit boring.

4 durable, but functional
Creating spaces that are calm, serene and peaceful with clean lines are my main objective. Next, I consider not just what it looks like, but how it is used. It’s important that pieces stand the test of time, both from a durability point of view and from an aesthetic point of view. Choose pieces that accomplish both!

5 do it, don’t over-do it
Carefully selecting pieces that fit well into the space is important. I like to use pieces that demonstrate the craftsmanship, that show someone’s hard work. There’s something very pure about that. This sometimes means that simpler is better. Beautiful craftsmanship speaks for itself.

Renderings provided by Rock House Resort