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20 Questions with Eric Groft

The Kalamazoo Questionnaire: Eric Groft

Chris Mordi, Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet | 07/27/2015 | Design

Kalamazoo’s 20 Questions With:

Eric Groft is a landscape architect and principal at the Washington, DC-based Oehme, van Sweden, and a Fellow at the American Society of Landscape Architects. His firm’s work has appeared in the pages of Architectural Digest, Southern Living and Hamptons Cottages & Gardens, among others. Here he shares his thoughts on extremism, no color schemes and A Room With a View.

Which person(s) do you admire most?

I’m from a military family, so I admire those who serve our country.

Which designers do you most admire?

Frank Lloyd Wright as an architect, Frederick Law Olmsted as a landscape architect and Sister Parish as an interior designer.

Which designers influence(d) you?

Certainly Jim van Sweden and Wolfgang Oehme, my mentors and partners.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Nature as a whole. Whether you are on the beach or in the mountains nature gives you the clues you need to design.

Give us three words that describe your professional design style.

Sense of place.

Which trends would you like to see go away?

The thing I’d like to see relax a little bit is the extremism in the use of native plants. Extremism is always bad.

Which trends would you like to see come in?

Landscapes with more color, texture and movement.

Which design publications are monthly must reads for you?

Architectural Record, Architectural Digest and Garden & Gun.

If you could redesign one historical landscape, which would it be?

The White House.

What’s your favorite landscape in TV or movies?

A Room With a View in Florence, Italy.

What’s the one thing you always put in your designs that could be considered your “signature?”

Diverse horticulture.

What’s the one thing you can’t live without in your projects?

Water.

What’s your favorite color scheme?

No color scheme.

What are the three words that describe your perfect client?

Visionary. Trusting. A dreamer.

If you weren’t a LA/interior designer/kitchen or bath designer what would you be?

A chef.

If you could practice design anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Eastern Long Island, NY.

What’s the name of the appliance store where you buy items for your projects?

Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet.

Where did you grow up?

Lancaster, PA.

Three words that describe your personal style at your own home?

Low maintenance and care free.

What’s your favorite room in your house?

The living room looking at the water.

What’s your favorite season?

Anything but summer.

What’s your go-to restaurant?

Sushi Taro in Washington, DC.

Coffee or Tea?

Coffee. I like the buzz.

What’s your go-to item to cook on the grill?

Rockfish from the Chesapeake Bay.



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Innovation is at the heart of every Kalamazoo product. Each part of the collection – from grills and pizza ovens to refrigeration and cabinetry – represents a significant departure from the established norm. Our passion for outdoor cooking and our fiercely independent design philosophy drive us to establish new industry benchmarks. Consequently, our list of exclusives and innovations speaks for itself.

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