Posts in Designer Spotlight
Designer Spotlight: Widell+Boschetti

Based out of Philadelphia, Barette Widell & Christina Boschetti are the duo design team of Widell + Boschetti, a boutique interior design firm that symbolizes how important a blend of disciplines can be to a successful project. After working with the firm to create a custom piece for one of their projects, I knew I wanted to feature them in our Designer Spotlight series. Get to know this talented team and see more of the project which includes a custom Canvas With Movement® tapestry below!

 Photography by Brian Wetzel

Photography by Brian Wetzel

Tell us about Widell+Boschetti! How long have you been in business?

Barette Widell and Christina Boschetti started their boutique residential interior design firm about 4 years ago. W + B has a technical designer (Cads,elevations, renderings, layouts) as well as an office manager (invoicing, tracking, bookkeeping, any admin). We call these girls our left and right hands. PHEW!

 Photography by Brian Wetzel

Photography by Brian Wetzel

How did you two meet? What lead you to designing interiors together?

After their first run-in at the park, they both walked away thinking they have met their business partners. Quickly they realized their similar paths and common goals could be turned into something great. With both families on the verge of leaving Philadelphia fate kept them here to join forces. Little did they know their dream was right under their noses. Christina joined Barette to operate the lifestyle and event design company, called Widell Designs.

After working their butts off for about a year both having kids in hand dragging them along to meetings, they decided the event business just wasn’t doing it for them. There was very little design and not enough money to deal with this business. Their love for design was to go to the next level. They soon took the risk of solely focusing on the interior design industry. They joined their names and officially became partners. Somehow, organically the event requests never came back.

 Photography by Brian Wetzel

Photography by Brian Wetzel

How would you describe Widell+Boschetti’s design aesthetic or signature style that differentiates you from other firms?

W + B design aesthetic would be considered streamlined and sophisticated with a little bit of a twist or edge. We design for all types of aesthetics from Transitional to Modern

 Photography by Brian Wetzel

Photography by Brian Wetzel

 Photography by Brian Wetzel

Photography by Brian Wetzel

Which celebrity is your ideal client based on their style or personality? What about their style or personality would be the best part of working with them?

Charlize Theron. She is classic and sophisticated yet has a little bit of edge. Clearly, in her roles she isn’t afraid to take risks. Working with her would be a dream as she seems as if we could learn a lot from her through out the project.

 Photography by Brian Wetzel

Photography by Brian Wetzel

 Photography by Brian Wetzel

Photography by Brian Wetzel

Which room is your favorite space to design? Why?

Love love love designing formal living rooms! This is the space kids are usually not “allowed” heheheh! That said, clients are willing to spend more money on amazing quality product and give us the ability to take risks. Formal rooms usually are the jewel of the home which allows us to use luxurious lighting and elegant fabrics no matter what the aesthetic is.

 Photography by Brian Wetzel

Photography by Brian Wetzel

Tell us about your worst design fail and how you recovered and what you learned!

Our biggest design fails started in the very beginning of our career where we tried to take on other trades like hanging draperies, etc. We had one client where we didn’t account for the change of depth of the new flooring and gave our seamstress the ceiling to floor existing draperies to make a pattern for the new ones. Even though, it was about a 1/2 “ difference the client was not happy. Needless to say we had to eat the cost of the draperies as well as not given permission to take photos of the entire project. What we learned? LET OUR SUBCONTRACTORS DO THEIR JOBS!!!

 Photography by Brian Wetzel

Photography by Brian Wetzel

 Photography by Brian Wetzel

Photography by Brian Wetzel

What has been your career highlight?

Signing on with an A-list celebrity hush hush- it’s a secret! He/She let us run wild with our designs and is loving everything about the outcome. Almost every piece of furniture was custom designed under our private label Widell + Boschetti which is also a turning point in our career!

 Photography by Brian Wetzel

Photography by Brian Wetzel

What rules do you live by when it comes to including art in your designs?

There are no rules when it comes to art EXCEPT when our client is Art Enthusiast where you are not even allow to say the “A” word never mind placement. Art is such a personal thing to most clients so we include Art in all of our design boards first hand. We include art that we feel best suits the client’s aesthetic both by style and personality. If the client isn’t feeling the pieces we presented then we simply give it a couple rounds. If we do not come to fruition then we hand off the task to our client.

 Photography by Brian Wetzel

Photography by Brian Wetzel

How does Lauren’s artwork fit in to your design aesthetic?

We love using Lauren’s art in our designs especially when the client has a bit of an edge and is a risk taker. Usually its that lonely bare wall that needs a significant piece to give dimension whilst not just a piece of framed art. We love that Lauren’s art has many different elements to it to not only make a huge statement but to really achieve the impact the space deserves.

 Photography by Brian Wetzel

Photography by Brian Wetzel

 Photography by Brian Wetzel

Photography by Brian Wetzel

When choosing artwork or an artist to work with, what challenges do you face?

  1. Always BUDGET!!!

  2. Clients personal preference

How do you source artwork? Do you have a resource when it comes to looking for new artists or artwork?

We have go- to trade companies we use for every day needs. We also do research through Instagram to find talented unknown or less known artists that speak to us and then usually build an insta love for each other which leads to presenting the artists work in our projects. Its truly an organic way to do business while building long lasting relationships.

 Photography by Brian Wetzel

Photography by Brian Wetzel

Top 2 tips/advice for designers, established or new to the biz?

  1. While designing, GO WITH YOUR GUT! The client may have an array of aesthetics they like. That said, they usually don’t know what they like! You as a designer need to really consider the bones of the home and pick which aesthetic will work best for them and then add YOUR own twist.

  2. Use Instagram as its the biggest free tool of marketing/researching/engagement. It truly allows people to see who you are as “real people” as well as REAL TIME designing and everyday life. Use this as an advantage as you can run with it as far as you want it to take you!


What is the best way for us to follow your design projects and firm’s accomplishments?!

You guessed it! Insta! @widellboschetti

Designer Spotlight: Meet Sherry Shirah, of SLS Designs
 photo by Micah Nunley

photo by Micah Nunley

I had to take a look through my old emails to remember when I first met Sherry Shirah. In March of 2016, Sherry sent me an email inquiring about a custom piece for her new home. Sherry knew exactly what she wanted and after a phone call to discuss her vision, I began working on a “medium” sized tapestry (these measure 72” across and hang 28” long). When I was finished, I sent her an approval photo. She loved it and asked me if I would be able to come and install the piece. I had never been asked to install my artwork for a client, but was excited for the opportunity to see the new home Sherry helped design, and also see my artwork hanging in a beautiful space. I wanted to make a good impression and bought a small tool box that I filled with hanging hardware, a level, a tape measure, a pencil and a few other things that made me feel prepared to “install my artwork”.

Even though I’ve hung hundreds of tapestries on my own wall, there was a little pressure to hang my art on a brand new wall in a brand new home (while my client is watching!). But when I arrived, tool box and art in hand, Sherry welcomed me with the warmest smile and hug, and a tour of her gorgeous, single story, modern home. The decor was clean, with a balanced mix of vintage and modern touches and the feeling of artistic appreciation beginning with a baby grand piano in the foyer, the Annie Leibovitz SUMO book on it’s own tripod bookstand, a wall sized vintage map of Paris hanging opposite a glass, and a temperature controlled wine room. Remember, I’m still just in the entryway!

Since meeting Sherry at her home in 2016, I’m lucky enough to call her a friend. Recently she made a career change, going from technology to interior design with the start of SLS Designs. In my opinion, she was born to design and now has two tapestries hanging in her home and has incorporated my coordinating velvet pillows in multiple projects. We are sharing images of all this below along with a little Q&A on how she makes it her mission to design spaces that you love to live in every day. She specializes in residential interior design primarily in Dallas, TX and New Orleans, LA. I’m excited to share more about her business and design approach below!

 photo by Micah Nunley

photo by Micah Nunley

Tell us a little bit about yourself!

 photo by Jacqueline Marque

photo by Jacqueline Marque

This may be one of the toughest questions to ask someone… haha.

Can I be type A and a wanderlust soul at the same time? I’m originally from New Orleans so I naturally gravitate towards rich cultures, interesting spaces that have old character and delicious food! I live to travel but I find I love my time at home in Texas just as much. I have three dogs that I spoil whenever possible so that makes home one of the most special places on earth.

How long have you been working in the design industry?

 The first tapestry I created for Sherry and installed in the guest room of her Texas home.

The first tapestry I created for Sherry and installed in the guest room of her Texas home.

It’s either passion, conviction or pure craziness but I started my interior styling business at the end of 2017 after deciding to leave the technology industry. Out of college, I worked at a prominent interior design firm in Atlanta for a few years. I innately loved design but my career took off in another direction when I decided to pursue tech. Through the years, I have used my own home as my blank canvas for constantly rearranging furniture, art and plants and I’ve always helped friends with theirs. Flash forward to the last few years, it was really weighing on me to pursue my dream of starting my own interiors business so I took the leap. I’ve loved every minute of building my own business and have been fortunate to work with many incredible people so far to help create a space that they love to live in every day.

What advice do you have for someone with a passion for design and wants to take the leap and make a career out of it?

It really is a leap to take that risk because it's embracing complete change and the unknown. I know the feeling first hand! But I think a second life career that centers around ones passion is such a gift to dive into. Know that you will have ups and downs - moments of brilliance and lows but maintain conviction and push through. Also, don't be afraid to make mistakes, it's going to happen because learning is part of the process but don't be afraid to own up to those mistakes. Also, find a couple of industry mentors/sponsors that you can bounce questions off of and gain insight. That has been invaluable for me.

How do you begin the design process?

I really start with two things: 1, walking through my clients’ space to understand the era of the home, how it flows and what pieces may already exist that could be instrumental towards driving the décor direction that we move towards and, 2, I have a personalized questionnaire that I asked my clients to complete. It helps me understand things like “which colors do you gravitate towards?”, “do you love plants?” and “where have lived throughout your life?”. This is really key as you approach the design tone of any home.

Where do you find inspiration?

Every day I find inspiration whether it be sitting outside having morning coffee, reading trade blogs/magazines, going antique/vintage shopping, even in my yoga practice…

When it comes to including art in your designs, what do you look for?

Art is so subjective and I really try and to find unique pieces that my clients will love. I say to my clients that they really should love each piece of art they see in a room. It should invoke a special feeling. I find that including different textures are important to mix in a well curated room and that even applies to the walls. I gravitate towards unique photography, vintage oil paintings, sculptures/3D pieces and of course fiber art!

 photo by Jacqueline Marque, featuring our 30” x 30” Yellow Gold Velvet Pillows

photo by Jacqueline Marque, featuring our 30” x 30” Yellow Gold Velvet Pillows


How would you describe your design aesthetic?

Old and new world curation.


Favorite color pallet for designs?

White, black, linen and rose


What's your favorite room in the house?

I really love my art studio/office. We have wall-to-wall bookshelves that are never alike week over week. I move books around, add new ones, hang new art and am constantly shuffling things based on my mood.


What recent design trends are you most excited about?

I love the emergence of new independent artists that are leveraging Instagram to gain exposure. It allows me as a designer to gain access to unique artists all over the world. I’ve inquired and bought from artists from Australia to Toronto to Alabama!


What is your best advice for someone who is redecorating a room?

Start with a piece you love and want to see every day in that room and build around it. Remember that less can be extremely interesting when you have the right scale.


How do you approach design challenges with clients and/or spaces?

Every project comes with it’s own set of challenges, it’s just the nature of design. I think one of the biggest lessons you learn as a designer is that if you screw up or a piece isn’t to the clients liking (and I don’t know anyone that this hasn’t happened to) be humble and know when to take ownership. Challenges are all part of life. You’ll likely grow from the experience.

 photo by Jacqueline Marque, featuring our Moss Green Velvet Lumbar Pillow

photo by Jacqueline Marque, featuring our Moss Green Velvet Lumbar Pillow

What's your favorite place you've traveled to (or dream to one day)?

France, for the opulence and Cambodia, for the soul of the people; both have such deep rooted history and you leave feeling so much love.


Tell us about a past project that you used a piece from Lauren's ART and/or HOME collection. Which piece(s) did you include?

I recently installed one of Lauren’s Spring 2018 tapestries into a home of a client that lives in a 1940’s tudor-style home on the M-streets in Dallas, TX. She has this magnificent room that we call the fancy lodge and the tapestry adds so much warmth and interest throughout the room.

I also love having three of Lauren’s lush velvet pillows as rich accents in my small shotgun home, The Purple House, in New Orleans. Everyone comments on their beauty and durability and wants to know where I got them.

You have included the velvet pillows in multiple design projects, what about them are you drawn to?

I absolutely love how timeless and luxurious the velvet pillows are. They bring a richness and warmth to any room. Beyond aesthetics, I've found that they are SO durable. I have two euros and a lumbar pillow in the Airbnb/VRBO (The Purple House) and they weather all of the guest stays really well so I highly recommend them to clients with children

What surprised you most about this piece from Lauren's art and/or home collection?

I continue to be in awe of the attention to detail that Lauren has. From the art itself, to the package and the handwritten notes. The authenticity carries throughout her process and her art from order to delivery.


What's your website and Instagram so we can see more of your work?

You can visit SLS Designs at: www.sherryshirahdesigns.com or @sherryshirahdesigns

Designer Spotlight: Hanin Smith of Beachy Bohème

Welcome to the first of our ongoing Designer Spotlight Series! I love meeting and working with designers and art consultants to help incorporate the perfect piece of art for their design project and am excited to help share their stories and advice with you! 


_B_2Ur1A.jpg

Beachy Boheme  is an Encinitas-based home décor and design boutique offering interior design services and an eclectic mix of new, handmade, vintage and unique home furnishings and accessories with a relaxed bohemian vibe.  Designer and curator, Hanin Smith is passionate about helping create spaces that foster love and positive energy. 
 

Tell us a little bit about you and why you love designing interiors!

My love for designing interiors started when I was young. When my family immigrated from Jordan,  I was 8 years old and struggled to feel like I belonged in southern California. With home as my refuge, I turned to decorating to carve out my own space. I would always rearrange my own room as a kid, borrowing my mother’s Palestinian embroidered textiles and combining them with tie-dyed fabrics to create a space that felt like me… part Arab part American.  Eventually I’d decorate larger spaces in our house (usually right before my parents were hosting a big party!), but I never pursued this as a career.

My Middle Eastern parents preferred I pursue more traditional education and reserve arts/creativity/design as a hobby. So, I have spent most of my adult life hopping around different jobs in TV, journalism, marketing, PR, technology and HR wondering why nothing ever clicked. It wasn’t until I got laid off  while I was 6 months pregnant with my son Reid (now 2) that it all started to make sense. Armed with a small severance and lots of free time (aka unemployment), I got to fulfill my need to nest by decorating the crap out of my own house… and found my calling! Of course, I had major self-doubt since I don’t have a design degree, so I tip-toed into the design world by opening an online store selling home goods (pillows, planters, small furnishings, etc.).

Through staging my home goods on social media, people started asking for design services and I took my first paying client. It dawned on me then, that cultivating a true sense of home isn’t a feeling unique to immigrants, but rather one that is shared by all. I use this realization to help design my clients’ homes in a personal way that reflects who they are, rather than what they see on social media alone. To me, home is a feeling of true belonging, a safe place where you can “turn off” and be you.

Where do you find inspiration? 

Usually my inspiration comes from my clients’ lives… where they are from, what they love to do, etc. and I try to find a way to infuse their home with elements that draw on their own histories. Etsy is a mecca of solutions, and social media has introduced me to makers and artists who have amazing unique pieces. That’s how I came to learn about Lauren's artwork through Instagram.

wbIzJddA.jpg

How would you describe your design aesthetic? 

I’m so early in my career that I have yet to hone a specific design aesthetic of my own, but I am influenced by the SoCal lifestyle. Being close to the beach, with young kids and almost year-round sunshine, I gravitate towards bright and airy spaces with an eclectic mix of textures and patterns. 

What recent design trends are you most excited about? 

As much as I tend to love variety and eclectic decor, I also love the minimalist Shaker trend. I think it’s so cozy and am drawn to places that feel nostalgic (who isn’t)! It reminds me of the Little House on the Prairie but IRL.

What’s your favorite room in the house? 

Normally I would’ve said the family room, but right now we’re in the middle of a major renovation, and I’m realizing I prefer the master bedroom. Because I have little kids, the master bedroom is less of a “romantic” space and more of a family space… the kids barge in and we have some of my favorite family moments wrestling or reading on the bed, uninterrupted by a TV, so we share a lot of quality time there. That’s my favorite space for now, and since it’s highly personal and non-formulaic on the design side, it’s fun to decorate.

What is your best advice for someone who is redecorating a room? 

I wish I could take my own advice, but it would be this: turn to social media for initial inspiration and then turn it off! It’s so easy to get overwhelmed by new trends and second-guessing yourself, but really is the best advice to shut off the other design voices, and listen to what makes you happy, what feelings you want to have when you walk in to a space. Start there, and try to ignore the noise. Second piece of advice is to pay attention to scale… no matter how pretty your furnishings are, if they are out of proportion to the space, it will always feel a little awkward. In this case, it can’t hurt to hire a designer to help guide you (shameless plug).

What rules do you live by when it comes to including art in your designs and spaces? 

Art is highly subjective and personal, so I listen to what emotions my clients want to evoke in a space, and use that to inform the decisions I make about art. Art is also an investment, and a good one. I prefer one large statement piece to a dozen pieces, but there’s a place for both. 

DfCjVoMQ.jpg

Tell us about a past project that you used Lauren’s art in? 

One of my best friends asked me to decorate a guest room and gave me carte blanche to do whatever I wanted (with very few requirements). The room has 10 foot ceilings, so it can feel cold or hollow and I knew we needed to drench the space with textures to absorb the sound and give it warmth. I was so excited to use Lauren William’s artwork… not only for the visual effect, but for the texture. When the piece arrived, it looked even better in person because the weight of the wool and the quality of the wood can only really be appreciated in person. It’s still one of my favorite spaces that I’ve designed, and get lots of compliments on the art in that room, especially that piece.

How does Lauren’s Canvas with Movement fit into your design aesthetic? 

The warmth of Lauren William’s canvas with movement art is what draws me to it, along with its refined simplicity, and quality materials. It’s a rich piece of art that elevates a space and really adds warmth to the overall vibe of the room. I hope to get to use more of it in future projects! 

Thank you so much, Hanin for sharing what inspires you and how you have found yourself through design! I loved learning more about you!  xo, Lauren

Be sure and follow Hanin at: 

www.beachyboheme.com
@beachyboheme