Who Is Taylor Mattos? Get to Know the New York City Designer

taylor mattos

Grace Rivera

Taylor Mattos caught the design bug at an early age. She started visiting job sites with her mother, Cindy Rinfret, when she was two years old. “[That was] likely some kind of a code violation, but I am still grateful for it,” she says.

Mattos credits her mother, who is the principal designer of Rinfret, Ltd., for having the biggest impact on her career so far. “She always treated me like an adult in the sense that I was never too young to appreciate something in her eyes,” Mattos explains. “That meant taking me to restaurants or hotels and always taking the time to point out the details that made a space feel inviting and interesting.”

Before joining the firm in 2020, Mattos started her career at the Dallas-based firm Cathy Kincaid Interiors. Then she went on to work for de Gournay in Paris and New York, which helped her understand the vendor side of the design industry. After “a bit of an existential crisis about being in design and being around it [her] whole life,” Mattos pivoted into financial tech for about a year. “It was really important that I saw success in something that was not related to design so that I could make a conscious decision to come on board with my mother’s firm,” she says. “It allowed me to have my own business mind and feel that independence, having seen personal success in another field.”

It’s the small things that set apart a space and make you feel truly at home.

Now, Mattos creates interiors for the firm that are undeniably stylish while prioritizing comfort and functionality. When devising backdrops for people’s lives, she focuses on personal touches. “I love incorporating family heirlooms, favorite colors, or taking inspiration from one of [the client’s] favorite hotels or outfits,” she says.

Her other sources of inspiration come from flipping through design magazines and keeping tabs on the hospitality industry. “I take advantage of living in New York City, so anytime a new restaurant or hotel opens, I take a look to see what designers are doing,” she says. “I’m more interested in the interiors than the menu half the time!”

When it comes to her go-to design trick, she adores upcycling items to tweak them to the owner’s taste—whether it involves reupholstering an old chair or swapping out cabinetry hardware. “It’s the small things that set apart a space and make you feel truly at home,” she says. “At the end of the day, I want them to feel themselves and see themselves in the interiors we create.”

a living room with a chandelier and a couch

Lesley Unruh

Formal spaces can still be “livable and comfortable.”

House Beautiful: What’s your favorite…(and why)?

Item to collect: “Backgammon boards! My husband and I have about 10 now, ranging from custom painted with our wedding emblem to the latest new offerings to an antique from Morocco. We are always on the hunt to play and add to our collection. They are always unique and such a great design element. Every time we play on a different board, we think of the place we found it or the person who gifted it. The stories behind the item make things worth collecting.”

Design era/style: “Billy Baldwin! Classic American style that really elevated decorating in the U.S. during a time that was primarily all about European decorators.”

Paint color:Calm by Benjamin Moore. I find it to be the perfect non-boring creamy white color. It has a warmer undertone, so I think it lends itself to a lot of different spaces and looks good in every light. It’s a great option if you don’t want white but aren’t ready to commit to a specific color.”

Artist or piece of art: “I love mixing in more contemporary art with traditional interiors. I have been loving William McLure lately. I found one of his pieces at the Antique and Artisan Gallery a few years back, and it was one of my first larger art purchases. His color palette is fantastic. If I am going to a gallery or museum, I am typically partial to the Impressionists. I love the feeling of each brushstroke. If I see an Impressionist painting in an antiques shop that’s a good price point, I typically buy it without knowing where I am going to put it!”

Local shopping destination: “The Antique and Artisan Gallery in Connecticut. It is a mecca for amazing finds. I always try to source a few items from there for every project. They have everything from furniture to objects to art and glassware. I had my eye on an antique chinoiserie cabinet that I wanted to convert into a bar cabinet. It sadly sold before I made up my mind!”

Online store: “If I am looking for unique and interesting accessories, I always try Abask. It has a really edited selection, so if I don’t have the time to shop in person or find something abroad I always go to Abask!”

Travel destination: “Anywhere I haven’t been yet!”

Decor item you buy on repeat: “Interesting plates! I am a sucker for dinnerware. If I find an interesting pattern, either new or antique, I try to buy one or two at least. I think a curated and collected tablescape is just as interesting as something that all matches. It’s also a fantastic conversation starter on where I found each different plate.”

Meet the Rest of Our Next Wave Class of 2024

next wave class of 2024

Courtesy of photographers

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