The exact moment when Adam Schiff knew design was his calling is a bit fuzzy. But, when an Academy Award-winning director wants you to work on his home, that’s something you vividly remember.
“He wanted an amazing rose garden,” Schiff says of Quentin Tarantino’s request.
It was Schiff’s first project for a Hollywood star. It wouldn’t be his last.
Anne Hathaway, Melissa McCarthy, Goldie Hawn, Jenna Fischer, and Busy Phillips are among the A-list clientele he has now worked with, bringing his energetic, creatively out-of-the-box design aesthetic to give their luxury abodes even more oomph.
“I don’t remember a day when I said, ‘I’m going to do design.’ It just kind of happened,” Schiff says with a sincerity that, despite his celebrity fans, reflects humility and lingering awe of his unplanned success.
And the Michigan native-turned-L.A. transplant with HGTV shows and Bravo’s Million Dollar Decorator on his resume hasn’t slowed down since moving his home and haute firm to Scottsdale.
“I’m so thrilled to be in Scottsdale and bring what I do to the table,” Schiff says. “Everyone is so welcoming and so kind. It’s been amazing and I love my life here.”
In the vast realm of residential design, name it and Schiff does it, from remodeling and harmonizing of lighting, furnishings, and art to flowers, planter containers, and water and fire features.
Every job Schiff has done has been completely different. He’s passionate about color and stretching design bounds way beyond blah. Word-of-mouth fuels new client searches through his Instagram (@adampschiff) and website.
“A lot of designers are stuck in grays and browns. We live in a crazy world now, so we need more color… and we need more happy,” Schiff says.
His engaging personality and super-approachable aura combined with a knack for knowing what clients want even if they can’t quite articulate it are part of his formula.
“Clients hire me because I’m so different,” Schiff says. He chuckles, “People really let me do what I’m great at.”
Many clients—like the man who hired Schiff to give his 6,000-square-foot home in D.C. Ranch an updated personality—let Schiff go wild.
This included the spaces dedicated to his client’s 3-year-old daughter: A bedroom featuring a playful accent wall of a flowery field with colorful flowers against a sky blue background and her sitting room with a more grownup butterfly wall flaunting vibrant shades of pinks, violets, and golds.
A seaside theme permeates the dining and family areas with an array of cooling blue shades in various patterns and prints spanning the walls, floor coverings, and furnishings. A trio of framed moss squares serve as a well-composed wall art installation.
“I love mixing nature in as much as I can. I love shaking it up,” Schiff says.
Schiff was 21 when he moved to Los Angeles, bringing his natural aptitude for color, design, fashion.
“It all came from my mother. She dressed really wild and colorful and funky,” says Schiff, who isn’t formally trained. “With design, you can go to school to learn color theory. But you either have a good eye or you don’t, and I’m really good at putting things together.”
Soon, Schiff earned gigs as a stylist for MTV Beach House and with name drop-worthy clients Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss, and Details magazine. Eventually he moved into the residential design field he calls home.
Schiff moved to Scottsdale craving change. Months later, the pandemic hit. Out of caution, Schiff put himself in lockdown for 15 months.
He got his business off the ground by working remotely and from the kindness of Arizonans.
“I came here and didn’t know anybody. I could’ve been in the corner in a fetal position,” Schiff says. “Luckily, everybody is so nice here. People have been so open to giving me breaks and introducing me to friends. I’m so grateful.”
Schiff talks excitedly about his current project— a new build in Sereno Canyon—and the larger homes here that give him freedom to make his mark.
And whether it’s a Hollywood star or the family-next-door, it’s also what gives Schiff absolute joy.
“At the end of the day, whether you’re a celebrity or not, they are living in it, and I want them to be happy,” Schiff says. “I want to change people’s lives and make a difference, even if it’s in some small way.” AdamPSchiff.com