Robert Bray and Michael Schaible have been partners in their own business for over 31 years, but to this day, don't have a formula for "signature" design. Nor do they aspire to such a goal. Their intent is to create interiors that are right for the given situation, and that serve the needs of particular clients. Thus they analyze the space, considering, inter alia, architectural detailing, dimensions and light. They evaluate the occupants' tastes, living habits, existing possessions and interests. And them amalgamate the collective findings into the finished design-not coincidentally, producing work that scores high on aesthetics. Put conversely, they never begin with preconceived notions, nor repeat any one "look" just because it proved successful before. Also part of their philosophy is the unswerving resolve to keep the firm small. Support staff is held to a maximum of three, enabling the principals to exercise hands-on participation. Clients, understandably, value this too. Basically, the designers note, only one thing has changed: As their knowledge of antiques and old-time splendors expanded and as their appreciative client base grew, use of traditional elements became an increasingly discernible factor in their interiors work.
The partners friendship began when they were classmates at Parsons School of Design, and solidified when they both worked at and Saphier, Lerner, Schindler Environetics (with Hall of Fame member Lawrence Lerner). Previously Bray had studied architectural engineering at Oklahoma State University. His future partner earned his BFA degree from the University of Colorado, then continued his education at the Universita di Firenze per Stranieri. Since founding their business in 1969, they have completed a broad variety of domestic and commercial projects, though nowadays residential interiors make up the great majority of work.