Designer Spotlight: Justine Sterling

Continuing our series in which we spotlight some of our favorite interior designers (click here for previous installments), today we are featuring Justine Sterling of Justine Sterling Design. A South Africa native and former hospitality designer, Justine now serves residential clients in the greater Boston area. Her work has been featured in various publications including Design New England Magazine, The Boston Globe, and Boston Home Magazine.  She is based out of Melrose, Massachusetts where she lives with her husband, two children and feline friend. 

justine sterling design

Q: How did you get into design?

A: My journey began over twenty-five years ago in Cape Town, South Africa. I found a home in interiors due to my love of art, organization and the inherent nature of finding structure in chaos. I got my start in innovative commercial firms (a highlight being a 30-chalet game lodge in the Madikwe Game Reserve in South Africa.) When I moved to the Boston area and especially after I became a mom, my need for effective space planning went into overdrive. My passion for structure now finds its way into residential design.

Q: What’s your design philosophy?

A: I believe the key to a well-designed (and loved) home starts with guiding my clients on a journey of self-discovery. This method isn't for the faint of heart: I'm asking clients to bring our working relationship into a collaborative place of vulnerability and trust. But this unique approach allows me to intimately understand the design elements that will bring surprise and delight to their space.

For some, that means functionality and efficient space planning to ease their frustration with a lack of flow or storage needs. For others, it means finding a piece of art or furniture that reflects their life journey, heritage or favorite memories. Being able to combine both function and aesthetic is the holy grail of all designers. For me, a job well done is when I can create a balance of form, function, and feeling.

Q: What’s your favorite part about being a designer?

A:  Being able to explore ideas and see them come to life.

Q: What do you do when you have a creative block?

A:  Stop what I am doing and read my online “pile” of design magazines. Essentially going down the rabbit hole of the design world will always spark new ideas.

Q: What helps you stay organized?

A: Evernote! I switched from using an old school moleskin notebook to using Evernote from my iPhone, iPad and desktop, and it has literally changed the way that I organize my thoughts for home and work. Did I say that I absolutely love it and couldn't live without it now?

Q: No home is complete without...

A:  ...an overriding story. Yes the spaces can be gorgeous and well curated, but people, and their stories found in art, new and old objects and colors define how they will live in their home.

Q: What's a color you never tire of?

A: White. I know, it’s not technically a color, but it allows me the opportunity to layer on a blank canvas. I have an uncluttered sensibility and white was the color that I chose for my own office to create some calm in an often chaotic scene of fabrics, paint chips and blueprints!

Q: What's your go-to pillow size?

A: 20”x20” with top stitch detailing

Q: What's one of your dream home must-haves?

A:  A very long loose stone driveway

Q: Are you a morning or night person?

A: Neither really anymore since having kids. Lets just say I am my best once I have a cup of tea.

interior designer favorites - Justine Sterling

1. No-regrets home splurge: commissioned art by a favorite local Melrose artist Ellen Rolli

2. Luxury CandleMaison Blanche Nectarine and Mint

3. Style Icon: India Hicks

4. Flower: Protea Pin Cushion (Proteas are the national flower in South Africa where I am from)

5. Favorite Arianna Belle pillows: Moncorvo Le Mirage, Channels Ebony & Ivory, Kubus Argent

6. Guilty pleasure:  Tea (Authentic South African Rooibos Tea, or Taylors English Breakfast Tea), cookies and Netflix

7. Design books: Elements of Style by Erin Gates; Black and White by Celerie Kemble; Habitat by Lauren Liess

8. Travel destination: Cape Town, South Africa

9. Everyday outfit: In the Summer, anything white

10. Design tip: Measure twice

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To learn more about Justine, visit her website and social media profiles: 

Website: https://www.justinesterling.com

Social Media: Instagram / Houzz / Pinterest

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Cheat Sheets

by Arianna Vargas

Designer Spotlight: Stephanie Jean Design

Continuing our series in which we spotlight some of our favorite interior designers, today we are featuring Stephanie Giesbrecht of Stephanie Jean Design who is known for creating fresh, clean, bright interiors. Stephanie works with residential clients in Vancouver and surrounding cities, but also offers e-design services. Read on for a Q&A with her and a look at some of the beautiful inviting spaces she has created. 

Q: How would you describe your design aesthetic?

A: Classic with a fresh take.  My favourite spaces are clean, bright and inviting.

Q: How did you get into design?

A: I grew up with an appreciation for quality workmanship and good design.  I was fortunate to get to work on the homes of family and friends as well as work with and learn from amazing local designers.  My business has grown out of these opportunities.

Q: What’s your favorite part about being a designer?

A: Working with my clients to create a beautiful space they love to call home.

Q: What do you do when you have a creative block?

A:  I know everyone says it but there really is no end to the inspiration you can find on Pinterest and Instagram.  I also go through photos of things that have inspired me along the way whether it be from somewhere local or a previous trip.

Q: What keeps you sane?

A:  Time with family and friends

Q: What helps you stay organized?

A:  Lists, I write absolutely everything down.  It's satisfying to cross off completed tasks throughout the day and helps to clear my mind before finishing up for the night.

grey pillow: Poetical Grey

Q: No home is complete without...

A:  Textiles - adding decorative pillows and draperies really finish off a room and make it cozy and personal.

Q: What's a color you never tire of?

A: Blue

Q: What's your go-to pillow size?

A: 22x22

pillows on bed: Pyne Hollyhock Charcoal

Q: Are you a morning or night person?

A: I've always been a night person; as a mom it's been helpful to be able to get more accomplished once the house is quiet for the evening

1. No-regrets home splurge:  Lighting - the right scale and design is worth the higher cost (shown: Jacqueline Two-Tier Chandelier)

2. Guilty pleasure: Miss Vickie's salt and vinegar chips 

3. Travel destination: Right now I'm dreaming of sunshine, warmth and the beach so Hawaii sounds like the perfect getaway.

4. Flower: Lilacs - they not only look pretty but smell heavenly.

5. Favorite Arianna Belle pillows: Pyne Hollyhock Indigo - one of my favourite patterns; Citysquare Mistymorn -soft, neutral tones; Navy Velvet - works with almost any pillow combination

6. Luxury candle:  A local company, Vancouver Candle Co, has great scents - my favourite right now is "Atlantic

7. Set Design: Nancy Meyers films - The Holiday, The Intern, It's Complicated...what's not to love!

4. Go-to paint color: White Dove - Benjamin Moore; the perfect warm white that isn't too cream or yellow

8. Design book: Nancy Braithwaite: Simplicity - I have this one on my own coffee table.

9. Everyday outfit: We get a lot of rain in Vancouver so jeans, boots and an oversized sweater

10. Design tip: Choose classic styles in neutral colours for your main furniture pieces and you will always be able to update them by switching out your accessories

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To learn more about Stephanie, visit her website and Instagram profile: 

Website: http://stephaniejeandesign.com/

Instagram: @stephaniejeandesign

photography by: Tracey Ayton

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Cheat Sheets

by Arianna Vargas

Designer Spotlight: Shophouse Design

Continuing our series in which we spotlight some of our favorite interior designers, today we are featuring Betsy Helm and Kiley Baun. The talented ladies, with backgrounds in interior architecture and fashion, run the Philadelphia based boutique interior design firm Shophouse Design. Read on for a Q&A with them and inspiring photos of their work.  

Q: How would you describe your design sense/style/aesthetic?

A: Classic Modern is a term we frequently use to describe our aesthetic. We loosely define that as traditional with modern elements and a little quirk thrown in for good measure.

Q: How did you get into design?

A: We went to high school together...and then design school together - it was always the plan to start this business, we just needed to make it happen.

Q: What’s your design philosophy?

A: We strive to respect the architecture of the spaces we are designing. Most times we are working with very classic old Philadelphia homes, so we love creating the juxtaposition of the formality and grandeur of the spaces, with the way modern way families actually live today. It creates a beautiful balance.

Q: What’s a typical day like for you?

A:  We wear a lot of hats.... no day is the same. Some days we are in the office on the floor surrounded with fabrics and carpets, some spent with headphones and Autocad, drawing for projects. Others we are doing site visits, client meetings and climbing around construction sites.

Q: What’s your favorite part about being a designer?

A:  Coming up with the perfect design schematic. When it comes together, and 'clicks' it is such a rewarding feeling. That and final install, of course.

Q: What do you do when you have a creative block?

A:  Move on, there is always another task that may not require as much brain power

Q: What keeps you sane?

A: Each other. The beauty of this partnership is that one of us brings a different mindset towards projects, and running the business in general. It's a wonderful balance and keeps us relatively sane.

Q: What helps you stay organized?

A: We use spreadsheets and Ivy, but nothing beats our paper list of our clients and our checklist. We keep it in front of us at all times, and reference it all day long to keep projects moving.

Q: No home is complete without...

A:  A roll arm sofa 

Q: What's a color you never tire of?

A: This may or may not be considered a color, but we always need a little black and white in our designs, it always seems to add that extra layer we are looking for.

Q: What's your go-to pillow size?

A: 20 x 20

Q: What are some of your dream home must-haves?

A:  The perfect flow for entertaining, high ceilings and all of the light!

Grey geometric pillows: La Fiorentina Light Grey & Ivory

Q: Are you a morning or night person?

A: Morning 100%

Q: What's on your nightstand?

A: We both use a gratitude journal every morning and evening before we start and end our days

Shophouse Design Favorites - Designer Spotlight - Arianna Belle Blog

 1. Restaurant: Trattoria Carina, which we just so happened to design!

2. Luxury candle: Diptyque Fig

3. No-regrets home splurge: Custom window treatments

4. Flower: peony

5. Favorite Arianna Belle pillows: from one of our favorite design projects - La Fiorentina Light Grey & Ivory, Solid White with Grosgrain Ribbon Border, Orangerie Rose

6. Go-to paint color: Benjamin Moore Paperwhite

7. Gratitude Journal: The Five Minute Journal

8. Travel destination: Nantucket and Tulum, MX

9. ArtistJean-Michel Basquiat   

10. Style Icon: Giovanna Battaglia

11. Everyday outfit: Jeans or joggers, a cozy sweatshirt and flats - heels are impossible with how unexpected our days are.

12. Guilty pleasure:  post lunch dark chocolate

13. App Can't Live Without: Pinterest

14. Design tip: Stay away from trends!

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To learn more about Shophouse Design, visit their website and Instagram profile: 

Website: www.shophousedesign.com

Instagram: @shophousedesign

Are you an interior designer or decorator?
Join our Trade Program for exclusive benefits!

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Cheat Sheets

by Arianna Vargas

Designer Spotlight: Meredith McBrearty

Today we continue our new series in which we spotlight some of our favorite interior designers (click here for the first installment). Our second featured designer is Meredith McBrearty who is based out of Atlanta and offers full-service residential interior design around the country.  She currently has projects in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Birmingham, San Diego, and Nashville. Read on for a Q&A with her and inspiring photos of the gorgeous interiors she has created.  

Q: How would you describe your design sense/style/aesthetic?

A: My home is much like my personal style - it is casual, a great mix of old (antiques) with new (contemporary).  My goal as a designer is for the end result to reflect my clients' personalities, not mine!

Q: How did you get into design?

A: I always took art lessons as a young girl and loved it. My parents gave me a "new room" for a Christmas gift one year and the designer did a color rendering of my new space and I loved it so much I put it by my bedside for years.

Q: What’s your design philosophy?

A: Buy things you love and stay true to a design that feels like home to you.  If you are comfortable in your home and feel that it reflects you, you will be happy!

Q: What’s a typical day like for you?

A:  I've already lived a full day by the time I get my three kiddos out the door for school - then, I begin the work day which is, of course different every single day.  I always have an agenda and then my phone rings and a client or builder needs this or that, and voila - my to-do list is de-railed just like that. 

Q: What’s your favorite part about being a designer?

A:  The best part of this job, other than the great fun of experiencing the creative process from start to finish and watching your vision come to life, is by far the great honor of helping families create a lasting home environment for years to come.  It's very personal, and a true honor when you're chosen to enter someone's life in this way.

Q: What do you do when you have a creative block?

A:  Go back to the drawing board of simple inspiration - I read a LOT of design books and magazines.

Q: What keeps you sane?

A: I'm not exactly sure I'm sane. :)

Q: No home is complete without...

A: Things that are meaningful to you

Q: What's a color you never tire of?

A:  celadon blue or purple

Q: What are some of your dream home must-haves?

A:  I would love a larger closet, a wonderful library that I have already designed in my head, and a butler's pantry!

Q: Are you a morning or night person?

A: Night

designer spotlight meredith favorites

 1. No-regrets home splurge: Probably the Urban Electric Co "Cosy Lantern" that I had custom done in eggplant purple - it's so fun and makes me happy.

2. Favorite Arianna Belle pillows: Glimmer Peacock, Golden Yellow Velvet, and  Heat Wave Palm

3. Restaurant: Le Bilboquet 

4. Go-to paint color: Benjamin Moore Ballet White

5. Design books: Haute Bohemians by Miguel Flores Vianna, Atelier AM, Piet Boon

6. Travel destination: I recently went to the Hamptons for the first time and fell in love...

7. Style Icon: Lauren Santo Domingo, Gwenyth Paltrow

8. Flower: peonies

9. Guilty pleasure:  Chips and queso!!  I lived in Texas for seven years!! :)

10. Design tip: A clean, uncluttered house and fresh flowers go a LONG way - so if you don't have the budget, get-to-cleanin'!!!

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To learn more about Meredith, visit her website and Instagram profile: 

Website: www.meredithmcbrearty.com

Instagram: @meredithmcbrearty 

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Cheat Sheets

by Arianna Vargas

Designer Spotlight: Alex Kaehler

Today we are kicking-off a fun new series in which we spotlight some of our favorite interior designers. Our first featured designer is Alex Kaehler of Alexandra Kaehler Design. Alex is based out of Chicago and offers full-service residential interior design as well as e-design.  Read on for a Q&A with her and inspiring photos of the beautiful interiors she has created.  

Q: How would you describe your design sense/style/aesthetic?

A: Eclectic, how boring is that? There's nothing I love more than combining things that don't naturally match.

Q: How did you get into design?

A: I worked in marketing out of college hoping it would be a great fit of creative and business, but it turns out it didn't fill that need at all. So while I was there I started a blog and ended up writing about design 99% of the time (this was back in 2010 before Pinterest popularity). So I left my job and went back to design school! 

Q: What do you do when you have a creative block?

A: Scroll through Pinterest and Instagram, there is so much to see! 

Q: What keeps you sane?

A: Attempting to have some sort of balance - time at work, time at home with my daughter and husband, time alone. It all recharges me. 

Q: What helps you stay organized?

A: Lists, lists and more lists. Also I love electronic sticky notes, they store my entire life. 

Q: Are you a morning or night person?

A: I joke that I'm a mid-day person. I'm happy first thing in the morning, but not if it's before 7am.

Q: What's on your nightstand? 

A: One book I'm currently reading and a pile of books that are up next!

Q: No home is complete without...

A: A dog

Q: What's a color you never tire of?

A: Green

Q: What is your go-to pillow size? 

A: 24" square

 

1. No-regrets home splurge: Art, if you buy things you love, it will always tell a story in your home. Also, a super comfortable sofa!

2. Favorite Arianna Belle pillows:

  • Olive Green Velvet - these are such a beautiful backdrop for just about any pattern - a floral, an animal print, a geometric.
  • Betwixt Water - I love the texture of this one, there's something so cozy about it.
  • Anshun Paprika and Blue - I'm such a sucker for a floral, especially this one. It gives you so many beautiful colors to work with - would be so good paired with an animal print too.

3. Luxury candle: Baies from Diptyque

4. Flower: Peonies, so basic but they're so good

5. Travel destination: Nantucket

6. Go-to paint color: White Dove, it's the perfect blank canvas for amazing art and textiles.

7. Guilty pleasure: Pizza...at least once a week

8. Everyday outfit: Jeans, boots and a great sweater. It's my Chicago uniform.

9. Design tip: Buy things you truly love.

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To learn more about Alex, visit her website and social media profiles: 

Website: AlexandraKaehler.com

Social Media: Instagram I Facebook I Pinterest

 

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Join our Trade Program for exclusive benefits!

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Cheat Sheets

by Arianna Vargas

Decorator Spotlight: Brooke Cariker Inabnett

Today I'm sharing with you a couple of favorites from the portfolio of the Dallas based decorating firm, The Interior Stylist. Owner Brooke Cariker Inabnett, creates sophisticated spaces with an emphasis on clean lines layered with modern, personalized touches.

For more, head on over to her website!

Shop the Look

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Irene's Colorful Abode

My friend Irene's beautiful SoCal home was featured on Apartment Therapy this week! If you haven't seen the tour yet, you're gonna love it. I've had the pleasure of stepping foot inside her home and it really is as fun and welcoming as the photos show (possibly even more so!).  This girl sure knows how to effectively bring together multiple colors, textures and patterns. She's one talented lady!

 

Our Leopard Velvet pillow in her bedroom! (size 20x20) 

View the full tour here.

photography by Bethany Nauert

by Arianna Vargas

Designer Spotlight: Melissa Warner of MWM

Previously, I spotlighted the very talented design trio at Massucco Warner and Miller Interior Design and Decoration. Today I'm excited to be featuring one of the latest projects by the lovely Melissa Warner, head of the Los Angeles office. Melissa sent me photographs of a San Francisco home she recently finished for a young family. I was absolutely delighted to receive them in my inbox! I think you'll see why...

Entry

Dining Room

How great are these tangerine velvet chairs?!? They work so beautifully with the De Gournay Portobello wallpaper.

Office

This clean, uncluttered, light-filled office, with just the right amount of kelly green imperial trellis added for style, makes it an ideal work space.

Who knew office cabinets could be so glam?

Living Room

I love that these chairs are upholstered in an unexpected color -it's such a fun way to take something traditional and make it more modern

Breakfast Nook

Such amazing light! who wouldn't want to spend their mornings there?

Family Room

Boys' Room

 

I love the impact bold painted stripes can make.

Girl's Room

Master Dressing Room

Vanity Area in Master Bath

 

A perfect composition of simple and standout pieces {that mirror}!

Master Bedroom

Osbourne and Little Asuka wallpaper + plush tufted headboard + crisp bedding = bedroom perfection

I was lucky enough to do a little Q&A with Melissa. Here's what she had to say about the design project:

AB: What was the goal of the project?

M: A fresh take on the classic! The goal was to reinvent the traditional with clever details, bold patterns, and color for miles. I wanted to make the home functional and kid friendly, while maintaining a hip vibe and uniqueness that reflects the personality and youthfulness of its owners. 

AB: Where did you find inspiration?

M: The clients! This young family is filled with energy and I wanted to make sure the house represented their lifestyle.

AB: What was your biggest challenge?

M: Using kid friendly fabrics without sacrificing style!

AB: What was your favorite design resource you used?

M: I worked with a local upholster who was so patient with me as we worked out every detail of tufting, nailheads, welting...the list goes on and on. I really enjoyed working with him to customize each piece and make it one of a kind.

AB: Which was your favorite room and why?

M: That's a tough one but I'd have to say the little girl's room! I had so much fun designing each detail of this space... I can't resist the turquoise and watermelon combination.

AB: Did you have to make any big compromises?

M: The client was a dream! Our visions for the space were so consistent so I didn't have to make any big compromises.

AB: Did you use any inexpensive pieces?

MWe did definitely mix and match higher end pieces with less expensive items. In the little boy's room, the beds are custom made but we paired them with lucite nesting tables from CB2 -a reasonably priced and chic solution!

by Arianna Vargas