Starting out as a punk-rock bass player, Designer Max Humphrey is redefining American style through his signature laid-back, no-rules approach. “Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.” Learn more about Max’s unique design philosophy, favorite tile and upcoming projects, and be sure to check out his new book Modern Americana, available in bookstores now.

Photography by Christopher Dibble, @maxwhumphrey

1. How did you get started?

I was a touring punk rock bass player and after my band broke up I moved back to LA and rented my first solo apartment. Instead of job hunting during the day I spent all my free time decorating my apartment. A few months in I realized THAT could be my next career and the rest is history. 

2. What was your favorite project featuring out tile that you’ve worked on?

I normally just get to pick tile for clients and other people but last year I finally was able to renovate the bathroom at my house and used a 3 x 12 Savoy tile in the Lotus color. I picked it because it looks like a chambray shirt. 

3. You said you have really hands-on clients how do you incorporate them in to you design process?

I drag my clients all over town to furniture stores and fabric and wallpaper showrooms and of course to Ann Sacks. I like to see what they’re drawn to immediately without me pointing things out. Then I try and at least incorporate some of what we find so it really feels like THEIR house. 

4. What is a tile of ours that you haven’t used yet, but are dying to use?

I’m going to work my way through all of the Kodra mosaic patterns. I’ve used the Plus one in both colorways so far and looking forward to using Mod next. I love that they’re made from recycled materials and I’m hoping to come up with some custom patterns too. 

5. We know you have an exciting project coming up with Emily Henderson… anything you can share on this?

Me and Emily are co-designing a house here in Portland right on the Willamette River. We’ll be using Ann Sacks tile throughout and are stoked to show how tile can be used in interesting ways and not just in the kitchen and bathroom. There’s a bunch of fireplaces, outdoor spaces, and more that will be thirsty for tile. 

See the full tour of his recent Manzanita project this Thursday, June 3 on our Instagram.