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Sarah Stacey Interior Design is a US based residential interior design studio who has been in business for 10 years. Working on mainly residential projects and small commercial projects like a vegan ice cream shops. Their goal is to create homes that are not just pretty but also meaningful to their clients.

Okay, lay it on us, 3 songs your morning playlist must contain. 

Anything that gets me moving a little bit and are easy to listen to. All time favourites for working are: Incidental Boogie by US Girls, Million Dollar Doll by Britta Phillips, Comeback Kid by Sharon Van Etten

Okay, now pleasantries: tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

I’m a US based residential interior designer who has been in business for 10 years. I do some very small commercial as well, like a vegan ice cream shop, but mostly I do furnishings and remodels. Our goal is to create homes that are not only pretty, but are meaningful to our clients. 

What did you want to be when you grew up? 

I remember making a little booklet in kindergarten about what you wanted to be when you grew up. I drew a cheerleader, which is funny because that’s not my personality! Haha. But when I was in high school my parents hired a designer to work on their new build. As soon as I learned what this profession was I had my heart set on it.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? and the worst?

Best advice is one I recently received from my business coach, which is to not to hide behind my superpower! Your superpower is essentially what makes you different from others. I was told to stop promoting my white kitchens since everyone designs those and that I should promote work that is authentic and different because that is what makes me unique. 

Worst advice was to take a job because I need the money. I’ve learned that by taking projects you don’t want will increase the likelihood of getting burned out. It takes a while to recover from burnout and I try to avoid it now. And there is usually a reason why you don’t want the job, it could be the scope or a bad vibe. Listed to your gut!

What is your favourite creative outlet to get the juices flowing?

Spotify! I love listening to my Discover Weekly to hear songs from bands I’ve never heard of. I love music and it is a great way for me to clear my head and get into the zone. 

Jump in the Tardis and fast forward 5 years – where are you and what are you up to?

I hope to collaborate with brands to create products like tiles, rugs, light fixtures and furnishings. Also to work in cities throughout the US and some abroad. 

What’s one thing other people may not know about you?

I am a big softie and feel hard. I cry at commercials, especially ones about animals. Also my close friends know this, but I don’t show it much, but I am very political. 

What resource would help you in your work that you don’t have right now? That one thing that would save so much time and stress. 

Having an office where my employees worked next to me. Right now everyone works at home and it is challenging to communicate ideas efficiently over emails and texts. 

You can only follow 5 people and 5 brands on your social media forever on, who are they?

I find a lot of inspiration from these accounts! Pierre Yovanovitch, 214 Modern, Travel and Leisure Elle Decor, Jen Talbot

What are your main sources of inspiration? Are there any outlets you reference regularly? 

I look though Instagram and Pinterest a bit. I have a folder saved in IG where I collect things that inspire me over the week then post them every Sunday. I also save images that are inspiring me on projects, so people get a little peek into things I’m working on. I also ask clients to give me inspiration images of items that are unrelated to interiors, it gives you a different perspective when designing a space. 

Complete this sentence… Life is about…

Having options. When you have options you can make better and more interesting choices. 

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Rachel Laxer Interiors is a luxury interior design studio based in London and New York. The studio focuses on high-end luxury residential homes, hospitality and corporate spaces; and delivers bespoke and exclusive interiors to their clients. We had the pleasure of interviewing Rachel and finding out a little more about her and the Studio.

Okay, lay it on us, 3 songs your morning playlist must contain.

Sympathy for the devil – Rolling Stones, My back pages – Bob Dylan, Snow Patrol – Open your eyes

Okay, now pleasantries: tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

I run a design firm between New York and London, working on cool exciting projects and survived 2 teenage daughters. 

What did you want to be when you grew up? 

President of the USA – I think they still need me!

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? and the worst?

Best – Go to school at night and get your MBA, Worst – I gave my ex husband my beautiful Rose Wiley painting. Wish I’d held onto it. 

What is your favourite creative outlet to get the juices flowing?

Spin Class – helps me clear my head and solve design challenges

Jump in the Tardis and fast forward 5 years – where are you and what are you up to?

Living between NY and London and continuing to design. 

What’s one thing other people may not know about you?

I’m actually VERY nice. 

What resource would help you in your work that you don’t have right now? That one thing that would save so much time and stress. 

I wish there was a better connector between clients and designers, helping the new business pipeline. 

Who or what are some of your influences? Are there any peers or creatives that you admire or draw inspiration from? 

Jacqueline Kennedy O Nassis – she exemplifies grace under pressure.  I love Jacques Grange for his work. 

You can only follow 5 people and 5 brands on your social media forever on, who are they?

Helene Benhamou, 1st Dibs, Kelly Hoppen, Christiane Lemieux, Pierre Yovanovitch, Holly Hunt London, Karen Swami, Sarah Myerscough Gallery, Phillip Jeffries, Cole and Son

What are your main sources of inspiration? Are there any outlets you reference regularly? 

I’m constantly curious and always looking – instagram, vintage markets, fashion, art. 

Complete this sentence… Life is about…

curiosity and being positive and kind. 

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Andres Alsina has been honoured this year with the ‘Universal Excellence Award by price Nobel Rene Cassin for his career. A journalist who eventually found his way and his career as an interior designer. We had the honour to interview Andres Alsina and find out what makes him tick.

Okay, lay it on us, 3 songs your morning playlist must contain.

How I need to jump out of bed, the ideal is music with lots of synthesisers or very funky. To listen to the supreme songbird Mariah early in the morning..nobody gets me up , I take the day off. The VOICE I leave it for later in the day . The morning must be an adrenalin rush , something like There Must be an Angel of Eurythmics, Donna Summer’s I Feel Love  or Jump from the Pointer Sisters.

Okay, now pleasantries: tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

I am a South American Interior Designer living in Paris for the past five years. I work for hotels and private projects bringing all sorts of aesthetics solutions. Now a days I spent my days between the production of an iconic collection of furniture that have marked my trajectory and doing the layout of the Premium Edition of my book 6 rue, de las Nouvelle Elegance.

What did you want to be when you grew up? 

Everything pointed out that I would be a lawyer, but the studies of journalism that I did in France boosted my humanistic skills. I always wanted to be a writer .  Interior Design came later on in my life, at my 30’s, when I realised that the profits of the sale in a sofa was three times more than what I earned for an interview. I would have loved to be an actor but my sense of self-criticism would have paralysed me before the cameras.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? and the worst?

The best is paraphrased in my latest book: “In a world full of set-designers and Interior Architects, Andres Alsina is the last decorator “ coming from an icon of the fashion world and taste like Ines de la Fressange, it is hard to overcome that.

The worst was when they told me that my work was a front, that I was really an international escort. That being false and absurd. There are sensible stomachs for sleeping with people and mine.

What is your favourite creative outlet to get the juices flowing?

Living in the most beautiful city of the planet any 500 vmts walk from my home is a trip. To walk through the Tuileries, have tea at The Ritz of the Place Vendôme, go inside the foyer of the Opera, to sit by the gardens of the Palais Royal while my food is being made two stores from me. So few people in the world have that privilege … and gather with my friends in the Cafe de L’Epoque , in the Rue Bouloi is a must

Jump in the Tardis and fast forward 5 years – where are you and what are you up to?

I arrived in this country 5 years ago. I lived a year in Versailles in the furniture depository of Louis XVI , it was an extraordinary experience. Now a days I spent my time traveling through Europe giving my consultancies in London, Amsterdam, Milano, Madrid , Barcelona etc.

What’s one thing other people may not know about you?

It is hard for people to understand that I am a writer. I am stuck as a decorator and in this visual universe that takes the lead. Only a few are interested in reading me. Nevertheless it is more feasible that you can see me walking on my way to the Mazarine Library where I study and write than walking around through the decoration circuits that bore me to death.

What resource would help you in your work that you don’t have right now? That one thing that would save so much time and stress. 

A very competent team of at least 5 people and 2 traveling around the world permanently seeking for projects.

Who or what are some of your influences? Are there any peers or creatives that you admire or draw inspiration from? 

Madeleine Castaing, David Hicks and Dorothy Draper. They invented it all in decoration, even before the word decoration existed. Nobody overcomes them because decoration as such has its days counted. The true one, the good one can’t be found anymore 

You can only follow 5 people and 5 brands on your social media forever on, who are they?

Susanna Salk from Quintessence, the only platform for truly good taste. Liam O Neill , the son of my beloved Faye Dunaway Cecilia Zuberbuhler, an argentinian fashion doyenne and journalist Ingrid Betancourt, a personal friend of mine; A free woman in all the  extension of the word. And of course my niece, my daughter Amalia Ducci As for brands, @charlesburger @judithgabarroluxuryadvisor @maisonrapin @ritzparis and @royalluxuryinterior

What are your main sources of inspiration? Are there any outlets you reference regularly? 

History is the only main source of inspiration I need. The rest is just sooo boring to me

Complete this sentence… Life is about…

At my age life is only about saying YES or NO followed by a loud, respectful and determinate THANKS!

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Noor Charchafchi established Celine Interior Design in 2014 – a world leading and award winning luxury interior design practice designing the most exclusive portfolio of homes across the UK and globally. We had the honour of finding out what makes Noor tick and what that morning playlist looks like.

Okay, lay it on us, 3 songs your morning playlist must contain.

What morning playlist! 

My morning ‘music’ contains listening to a podcast about successful entrepreneurs and then I listen to myself reading out my daily gratitude list. 

Okay, now pleasantries: tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

I am a mum of three and an interior designer and a wife. I love design and I love business so luckily I run a design business. I am passionate about making a difference in the lives of others and there are so many ways to do this I hope I can always contribute more and more from that perspective.  

What did you want to be when you grew up? 

I wanted to be a lawyer, badly, I could see it as clear as day, and then it happened and I loved every moment of it. I then moved on and having always been very creative and loving beauty wherever I could find it, I ended up running a design company I love. I feel very blessed to have had the luxury of working in two professions I love. 

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? and the worst?

Best piece of advice was never give up and honestly I don’t think I’ve ever had bad advice, everyone has a different lens to look through and a different perspective to offer and I like to listen to everything everyone has to offer because it might come in handy one day. 

What is your favourite creative outlet to get the juices flowing?

Honestly I just grab my hot strong coffee a little dark chocolate and get myself going, I love design so much that I really don’t need a push I am ready all the time. 

Jump in the Tardis and fast forward 5 years – where are you and what are you up to?

I am doing exactly what I’m doing now and growing. 

What’s one thing other people may not know about you?

I sing, I used to sing for the English National opera and I was a backing singer for lots of well known pop bands. I am also fully Iraqi and I feel my background has been an incredible asset to my business because we deal with many Middle Eastern clients who of course know that I understand them and their homes in a way that would be difficult if I was from any other background.  

What resource would help you in your work that you don’t have right now? That one thing that would save so much time and stress. 

I think probably a CRM type technology management system that really considers Interior Designers and Design business and takes it all in. There are lots of CRM systems and programs but I haven’t used anything yet that I feel fully considers our profession or at least not in a fully adequate way. 

Who or what are some of your influences? Are there any peers or creatives that you admire or draw inspiration from? 

I am honestly inspired by everything I see, there are so many designers who are doing wonderful things and it’s such a pleasure to watch them design and develop and grow. 

What are your main sources of inspiration? Are there any outlets you reference regularly?

I love visiting art galleries and museums, I love the V&A museum and the Saatchi Gallery and I love visiting the British museum but I also love the shows that we have here so PAD Art Fair and Frieze but I’m also inspired when I am visiting France or Italy and all of the Middle East which is just breathtaking. 

Complete this sentence. Life is about…

….Love and growth, love everything you do and you will be inspired to grow and develop all the time. 

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This is a big call but Charlotte Stuart could quite possibly be the nicest person to work with in the world. Her charm is infectious and her projects are bursting at the seams with well refined colour, fabrics and attention to detail. Charlotte is a master when it comes to textiles and colour, no surprise – she’s presented for Colefax and Fowler, Julian Chichester, and Farrow & Ball! It was our honour to get an insight into Charlotte’s playlists and creative flow! 

Okay, lay it on us, 3 songs your morning playlist must contain.

As an interior designer every day is so varied. I can find myself on site, knee deep in mud one day, then up early the next morning to style an event and spend the afternoon presenting new collections for an interiors brand. My morning song choices can really get me in the right frame of mind for the task at hand.

As a huge Dolly Parton fan nothing gets the blood pumpin’ like “The Sacrifice”. ‘Grindstones and rhinestones have made up my life but I’ll shine like a diamond!’ This song is fun and fabulous, just like Dolly and always reminds me to go the extra mile and do my very best for my clients.

Standing up in front of an audience and presenting can be daunting so I need a song that will really energize me and help me get into performance mode. The song ‘Rocket Man’, version by Tarron Egerton (current secret crush) sums it all up in the first line “They haven’t come to see Reginald Dwight, they have come to see Elton John”. Say no more!

Lastly, ‘The Greatest Showman’. Having started my career as a costume designer before moving into the world of interiors, I learned a lot about how to put on a show. Being an interior designer definitely has similarities as my team and I work hard behind the scenes, creating imaginative and innovate schemes that will hopefully delight and surprise my clients.

Okay, now pleasantries: tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

I am a Hampshire based interior designer who works with private homeowners and property developers across the UK. With an extensive knowledge of textiles and colour, I am also focused on the end to end practicalities of a project. Adding to this, I work as interior stylist and public speaker. I have presented new collections for brands such as Colefax and Fowler, Julian Chichester, and Farrow & Ball. With an eye for detail sharply focused on the finishing touches, I always ensure that the final design remains personal to my clients and reflects their own style and personality.

What did you want to be when you grew up? 

Honestly and truly, a Barbie Designer! She is a global design icon that we are still talking about today. She’s plastic, fantastic and still looking incredible at 60 years of age. Barbara Millicent Rogers never stopped believing in her doll that went on to inspire so many children around the world. She opened up opportunities to play creatively and explore the endless possibilities of design within fashion and the home. She even ran for president six times and traveled into space in 1965 proving the sky was the limit.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? and the worst?

I have been given lots of nuggets of wisdom over the years, however the two that always resonate with me are;

“You’re only as good as your last job” I hold myself accountable to this because reputation is everything. Despite the world of social media making opportunities more accessible than ever before, often work still comes through referrals. The power of word of mouth is so strong and it can make or break a business, so this little gem definitely helps to keep me focused.

The second piece of advice is “Leave your ego at the door”. A designer is nothing without the team behind them. Everyone plays a vital role in bringing the scheme to life and the client always comes first!

What is your favourite creative outlet to get the juices flowing? Where does all that great writing come from?

I love the V&A museum and in particular, the costume department. Imogen Taylor, who worked for John Fowler at Colefax and Fowler, told me that he frequently visited the museum to study the Eighteenth dresses on display for trimming and embellishments inspiration. Another firm favourite has to be Deco Off in January. There’s something about the crisp, cold Paris air and being surrounded by the latest designs which makes my heart skip a beat. I will also be honest and say that I have the support of a great editor. If left to my own devices, I could right reams!

Jump in the Tardis and fast forward 5 years – where are you and what are you up to?

In 5 years time I hope to be in collaboration with an interiors brand, designing my own product range. In my dreams, perhaps a coffee table book full of luxurious glossy pictures showcasing my recent projects. I would also be hosting a fabulous party to celebrate all the wonderful people in the design world who have helped and worked with me throughout my design career. Jonathan Adler and I would be dancing the night away in an interior homage to Studio 54!

What’s one thing other people may not know about you?

I worked for Farrow & Ball as a colour consultant for 5 years. This role enabled me to read properties quickly and the experience gave me great confidence with colour. Being able to leave the clients feeling excited and inspired was always a highlight of the role for me.

Who or what are some of your influences? Are there any peers or creatives that you admire or draw inspiration from? 

There are so many people that I admire in the design world. I swoon over Ashley Hicks and his incredible craftsmanship, furniture and bespoke Totems. Nicky Haslam’s creativity and hands on approach to all his work is inspiring. And of course, not forgetting Kit Kemp whom I admire hugely. Not only for her unique vibrant interiors but also her kindness and support to others in the design world, no matter the size of their business. 

What are your main sources of inspiration? Are there any outlets you reference regularly? 

I am a regular at Chelsea Harbour Design Centre. Everything is at your finger tips, it’s wonderful and so are the people! Also, I’m a huge fan of Andrew Martin in Walton Street. My clients are always impressed with the quality and price point of their products. For clients wishing for something a little more exclusive or unusual, I tend to visit the interior showrooms on Pimlico Road. Or, I’ll commission one off pieces with very talented artists like Margit Wittig whose range of lighting is absolutely stunning.

Complete this sentence… Life is about…

Love, passion and grit! Work hard, create your own opportunities and remember to be patient and kind along the way. 

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