Interior Designer Self Portraits



When it comes to an interior designer’s practice, the focus is typically on the client — figuring out a design that lends to their desires, space, style, and needs. Like artists, when designers create for clients, naturally their own personal taste is infused in their creation; and, when looking at an overarching portfolio of work, you may be able to infer an idea of who they are. Yet, there are some spaces that speak to the individuality of the designer more than others, some that really showcase their true aesthetic. Curious to see what these would be, we decided to ask Dering Hall designers to send us spaces that represent themselves, or their design style most. From projects for clients that serendipitously turned into a design self portrait, or rooms in their own homes, read on to see what these look like.

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“This project is one of my favorites because it reflects our core philosophy of simplicity and ease. It depicts our love of creating light-filled spaces, working with neutrals, and incorporating a range of textures to add interest, depth, and warmth. When our client purchased this townhouse, it was closed in, dark, and dated. We were able to transform it into an open, light-filled, serene modern oasis. This would not have been possible without her trust, an integral part of the process for us. Our goal was also to infuse her vibrant personality into the space — and to do that, we included some whimsical, fun pieces throughout.” — Celia Welch, Celia Welch Interiors.

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“For the San Francisco Decorator Showcase, we were able to dream up the perfect MODTAGE space, a styling room dedicated to my grandmother and fittingly named ‘A Day in Her Shoes.’ This room is a combination of all things we love: pattern, texture, clean modern lines mixed with vintage finds, inspiration from our travels, and a well-thought-out color palette.” —Gretchen Murdock, Gretchen Murdock | MODTAGE design.

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“My design aesthetic is calm and clean. I love nature and the outdoors. It’s all about a dreamy soothing design.” —Violetta Ustayev, Vi Design.

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“This is a home I designed for a dear client. It is a mix of all sorts of materials: Dekton, concrete, stoneware penny tile, wood, brushed brass, leather, pottery, artwork and antiques. It’s a joyful expression of the homeowner’s aesthetic and tastes. I appreciate blending all new elements with my clients’ collections and meaningful objects. It keeps me learning, stretching, and advancing in my knowledge of design and art. Things stay fresh and I stay engaged in the profession I love.” —Wendy Glaister, Wendy Glaister Interiors.

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“I love these rooms because they are somewhere between formal and casual, which is where I love our work to be. It is an elegant, layered interior, but nothing is too precious to be used. This family has three kids and three dogs, and they truly live in all the rooms. The palette was established by the antique painted chest in the dining room, and is subtly repeated in the Raoul textile drapery on the far wall of the family room. I love mixing wicker with an antique French chandelier, antique Oushak rugs with baskets and antique French chairs upholstered in a gorgeous Soane textile. We added the paneling to the dining room which was the first layer and adds so much architecture to the room.” — Elizabeth Vallino, Elizabeth Vallino Interiors.

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“This space is so me. While it’s modern with clean lines, it’s also earthy and warm. I love the combination of super sleek — Italian chrome table and Taraxacum Castiglioni chandelier — combined with a vintage Redwood wall dated to 1969, original to house. I also love anything vintage, especially from the 1970’s. That decade feels a little edgy and chic, but inviting and casual. Of course adding in any textures is always a huge favorite of mine too like the sheepskin, and rattan. This photo is of my own dining room!” — Elena Calabrese, Elena Calabrese Design & Decor.

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“The living room shot from my Tenafly project best represents my style because it is booth soothing and intriguing. The coloring of the room is very unique. It’s a green/grey which is rarely seen. The Armani/Casa wallpaper gives the illusion of being inside a clam shell. The seating layout is very dynamic, as I took Minotti sectional sofas and separated them to create flow throughout the room. The ‘mushroom city’ tables in brass and blackened bronze are all different heights and diameters. The finishing touch is the standing lamp from Material Lust. I always like to add something unusual in a space, that makes you look twice.” — Jessica Gersten, Jessica Gersten Interiors.

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“I’m pretty sure Joan would agree that this room represents us the most. We designed this space in 2011 for the Kips Bay Showhouse entitled ‘Urban Sanctuary.’  Both of us are drawn to the ethereal qualities in life… light, air, and a certain purity. We worked around the clock to capture its essence. Eggs, birds, flight, rebirth, and life.” —Jayne Michaels, 2Michaels Design.

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“My kitchen/living space in my renovated condo represents my love of texture, circles, and great space planning. After making a lifestyle change (downsizing from a house in the suburbs and moving to the city after I became an empty-nester), I learned the importance of making a small space work for you instead of trying to work against the configuration of less space. I also love that the items in this room aren’t overly curated — most are pieces I’ve picked up throughout my life and I rotate them often. It’s important to me that the space is never perfect – it represents the evolution of my life!” — Susan Brunstrum, Studio Brunstrum.

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“This room perfectly sums up my aesthetic, which I’ll call the 4 C’s:  custom, clean, classic, and comfortable. It’s contemporary enough to be current, but tailored enough to feel timeless. The use of multiple patterns, texture, and shine in this space create a relaxed elegance, and the blue-gray tone-on-tone palette is both soothing and calming. The goal is to always make my clients feel at ease when they’re home, surrounded by colors, art, and objects they love. My studio doesn’t place much value on preciousness: I want my clients to feel pampered with excellent quality furniture and exquisite textiles, but at the same time, our selections give them permission to not care one whit about whether they can put their feet up on the coffee table. Approachable luxury. That’s pretty much where it’s at for us.” — Sabrina Alfin, Sabrina Alfin Interiors.

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“This living room truly reflects the joyful and colorful verve that we infuse into our spaces. Delivering the lifestyle a client envisions for their family always fills us with gratitude. We love collaborating, providing our interpretation of the client’s taste while fulfilling their needs. We created custom pieces for the client, including the commissioned collage art by Jay Kelly and the custom chow foot games table complete with an inlaid flip top that reveals a chess board or backgammon and drawers for Mahjong and pocket chips.” —Dane Austin, Dane Austin Design.

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“This image exemplifies my aesthetic as it has real depth with personality, unique textures, and sumptuous layers. I mixed personal objects, custom items, and found treasures that the client and I purchased together. It isn’t a uniform space but deeply personal. The client really shines through which is my ultimate goal!” — Amanda Nisbet, Amanda Nisbet Design.

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