This being the typical biography space, I thought it would be nice to share my thoughts and feelings in an interview format on why I do what I do and what makes me passionate for this business. We’ll kick it off with a quote that I’ve always loved. To me a design project is and always will be a great adventure!
“It’s impossible, said pride. It’s risky, said experience. It’s pointless, said reason. Give it a try, whispered the heart.” – Anonymous
What is your design philosophy?
SS: Quite simple, never be afraid to take a risk. Often times, these are the most successful decisions in a project. I am also a huge believer in embracing color. My home is filled with wonderful colors. Someone I very much admire has often said, “Living without color is like living without love.” It is so true.
How would you define your professional style?
SS: It really is all dictated by my clients. I take in their thoughts, interests, and understand their lifestyle, and then run that through my filter. What we end up with is a curated environment with mixed periods and a powerful individual style.
How has your aesthetic evolved?
SS: It evolves every time I am captivated by an amazing artist or designer or am seduced by a new material or concept or idea. I consider myself a modernist in that I am always looking for what’s new and next and I always try to make the work I do feel fresh each time.
What are your inspirations?
SS: Travel is probably the biggest inspiration for me. Though, I can find it in vintage design books, from seeing a great piece of clothing in a fashion show or by spending hours combing through 1stDibs.com and the curated collections throughout the site. I greatly admire the work of Kelly Wearstler, Jean-Louis Deniot, David Hicks, Gio Ponti, Pierre Chareau, Jean Royere and Ettore Sottsass.
What is the essential element of any room?
SS: An essential element is never really just a thing, but rather it is the spirit of the room. It is the essence of a room and the emotion it conjures. There should be a curiosity for each person who enters the room, it is the feeling, a wow moment that is really essential in every successful room.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned about your business?
SS: You have to be incredibly well organized and have the proper skill set. Having an eye is one thing, but you have to be able to execute and deliver the vision. And it matters who you surround yourself with. Someone once said, “If you want to succeed, make sure every person you hire is better than you in every department.” In growing a business that is so important.
Clients are becoming more sophisticated and design-conscious. How has that influenced you?
SS: It means that I have to raise my game every time in every project. Informed clients are absolutely better clients, and they make for better design in the end.
What are your three must-haves?
SS: Definitely a great piece of art that means something to you, a beautiful watch or piece of jewelry you’ll keep forever, and a terrific light fixture.
Any advice for someone starting out?
SS: You have to train your eye. Whether you’re going to a museum or a flea market or flipping through a book, always be on the lookout for something special.
What does value mean for you?
SS: It means the my client got more than they ever expected. It means a room touches the client in a deeply personal way that feels like an extension of their self, it is their home.
Any advice for someone with a small budget wanting great design?
SS: Great design can really be achieved at any price point. Vintage stores and flea markets are excellent sources in addition to the big box stores that offer value and accessibility for everyone. A rule of thumb is simply to not buy all of your furniture in one place. Your room should look curated and reflect a viewpoint that your pieces were found over time and in different places and throughout your life. If everything is made by the same hand, from the same store, it tends to look very flat and one-dimensional and the personal connection and emotion will not be there.