I feel pretty confident in saying that in almost every home reno or even room makeover, there’s that point of despair and when the creative juices are at an all-time low that you think to yourself, “Ugh, I wish _______ could just design this space for me.” It’s equal parts design fatigue and total admiration for “fill in the blank” designer. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE getting to design my own spaces and tapping into that creative side of myself… but I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t jump at an opportunity to get into the brains of some of my absolute favorite design firms. Wouldn’t we all???
This blog post idea came out of our EHD Offsite (we like calling it an offsite because it makes us sound undeniably legit:)) Emily posed the question, “Who would you want to design your house if you could hire anyone??” At first, my mind went blank and literally the only designer I thought of was Emily. That’s not to be a total suck-up but I’m sure nearly all of you rolled your eyes and I get it and it’s fair. I just know that woman knows how to make a comfortable, fun, yet extremely beautiful home. But with Emily off the table and a minute to actually think, I was FLOODED with designers/firms that I adore. Honestly, I don’t know if I can even name them all without making this post a million words long (especially since I’m not the only one contributing to this post).
So let’s start with Emily because I think we are all dying to know:)
I want to be clear that there are a million designers out there that I would recommend hiring, for sure. Last year for the farm I hired ARCIFORM because Anne and I totally jived, but we have different expertise – hers in architecture (especially vintage houses) and me in decorating and styling. There are no toes stepped on, or if they are, no pain felt or expressed (on either of our sides).
FUN FACT: I’m going to help her style and shoot their homes because they usually stop at the built-ins and that’s kinda where I love picking up the most.
But what if I was unable to do any of it and had to hand it off to someone to just let them execute my vision completely? Who would I hire???? It’s so hard and truly depends on the home. I suppose for the mountain house I would have hired Workstead. Their high-quality warm minimalism is ridiculous and will never age.
For the farm, it gets harder and harder to choose. I guess I have to go to the designers that always impress me, where I can see they are obsessing about the details as well as the overall art direction, that they are executing very custom, very laborious ideas. Obviously, I’d hire someone that is better than I am, and that would push the design further into unsafe territory where the visual wow pays off. So I think it would be a combination of Jessica Helgerson and Studio Shamshiri. I want the vintage warmth and soul that Jessica can do – I witnessed it first hand in the old firehouse that we shot for Styled. That tiny but smart bedroom with the built-in upholstered alcove with storage was so beautiful and genius.
And for reference, we shot that 7 years ago, and it was designed even before then. I’m not saying that we should be surprised at how un-dated it is (it’s only been less than a decade) but I’m so impressed with how fresh it still feels. And maybe that’s because it’s appropriate for the house, with some risks and restrain.
My love of Studio Shamshiri can be credited to their unexpected layering of vintage weirdness, upon a really masculine base. There is something super grounded about their style, but with levity in the furniture. Granted every single piece of furniture is 10K +, with collectible classics that the future will knock off badly, so in a way, they create this gallery of design that I want to be surrounded by.
Also, fun fact – Heidi Caillier was high on my list, and fun fact – one of my best friends, best friends just hired her for her kitchen in Seattle which I’m VERY excited to see, and now that we are less than 3 hours away maybe I’m due for a visit ….
You are about to see a bigger list than the rest of the team because it was painful to even limit it to these five. But you all have lives to lead and didn’t want to take up your entire day with ALL my fantasy collaborations.
Having Studio Shamshiri design a home of mine would be the dream of all dreams. They don’t specialize in a style as you can see from all of these photos. What they DO specialize in is creating truly special spaces that speak to the architecture of the home and are LAYERED with stunning details and wonderful surprises. You can tell it’s a “Studio Shamshiri” design because every moment is highly considered, very special, and yet feels effortless and comfortable.
When I first was told about Reath Design and saw their portfolio I couldn’t believe I didn’t know about them sooner. HOW WERE THEY NOT EVERYWHERE YET??? I love how not afraid of color and pattern they are, but I also love that it doesn’t feel visually overwhelming. There’s somehow a casualness to it that I love so much. Take the color-blocked lounge chair cushions and the color-blocked tiled backsplash! Simple, easy, but so fun and not the norm. I think that they would really push me to take more risks in that regard, keep the design feeling cozy/welcoming while still keeping my love for modern, European-inspired design alive.
I have adored Arent & Pyke since my early days at EHD. They definitely lean more modern but still create cozy spaces that are surprising and textured. I also love their attention to shapes. Whether that’s a staircase, bed frame, lighting, whatever. There’s almost this dreamy visual ride you are taken on as you scan each room. It’s quiet but I think that’s also the point. “Modern Ethereal” is a great way to describe it and that sounds like something I also want to live in:)
Tali Roth is kinda a blend of Reath and Arent & Pyke in a way. She designs insanely cool spaces that are modern but ones that also look extremely livable… at least how I want to live! They are playful, high-end, a little risky but also cozy. I am also a big fan of her art choices (which is a big deal to me since I am forever #teamgallerywall)
The queen of a modern custom design detail and the pinnacle of cool. YSG Studio is truly all about the unconventional and for me, it’s so important to have an element of that in all of my spaces. I don’t want my space to feel totally expected and in the hands of this incredible firm and Yasmine Saleh Ghoniem there’s no way that would happen. I mean look at that beautiful kitchen cabinet????
The first designer that popped into my head was Beata Heuman. She is at the top of her game, her designs are bold, exciting, fresh, and they always maintain a hint of English country charm which I LOVE. She is a designer that truly excites me and reminds me that design can be (and often times IS) so fun, colorful, and playful. She is THE master of mixing pattern and color in a way that just looks and feels effortless.
Talk about DREAM COLLAB. I’ve had the pleasure of writing about two home tours by A1000XBetter. First, I fangirled over this minimal eclectic granny home that they staged, and then I adoringly wrote about founder Kristen’s own home that she renovated and designed with her ex-partner. Her home is actually my favorite home tour we’ve ever featured on the blog. She has an amazing curated vintage style and she knows how to use exciting wallpaper like nobody’s business. If she designed my home I just know I’d feel like the coolest girl in town.
OKAY. Chroma is an interior design firm based in San Francisco and there is just something about this female-run studio that makes my heart skip a beat. Their designs are sophisticated and timeless but there is a western country (read: elevated horse girl) element that I just simply die for. If I ever win the lottery and buy a farm outside San Francisco, I am calling them up.
I’ve always loved Brigette Romanek’s designs but after hearing her on the Design Time podcast I fell in love with her as a human being. She is wise and eloquent and her designs reflect the her expertise in mixing multiple styles with ease. I love how her designs are often minimal and modern but she always brings in life and intrigue with bold colors or unexpected shapes. This Laurel Canyon home in particular is one I go back to time and time again when I am feeling uninspired.
I have been a long-time fangirl of Julia’s (before she created her design firm) – also I’m a huge fan of supporting local talent and Julia NEVER disappoints. The way she mixes patterns, textiles, woods, finishes, periods, etc. the list goes on and on. If ever I could afford a J Miller project she would be first on my list to reach out to! Her work is fresh and inspiring and full of aesthetics!
Another local favorite of mine – I don’t even know where to begin with Victoria and her team of superstars – I love their work and I try to study every inch of what they share. Their approach and creativity are mesmerizing and I find my eye is captivated in every detail.
My dream in life is to work with an architect/design firm and build or renovate a true masterpiece in an architectural home. Where mid-century meets Japan in a modern way and plays with all sorts of levels, layers, shapes, lighting, and shadows and where technology blends seamlessly. This is when I laid eyes on Jack Chen’s work. He doesn’t know it but if money were no object, I would beg him to work with me.
Like…guys, I actually think he may be a genius. I know I drop his name in almost every post I write – I think I am officially the president of the Luke Edward Hall fan club at this point – but his use of color and pattern and his general point of view is just so masterful, you know? I’m over here waffling about whether or not to buy a cabinet (or if said cabinet has the right tone of wood) and he’s just in a whole other league, confidently assembling these rooms filled with antiques and soul. They feel collected but not planned and there’s not a ton of stuff – all the pieces are left to sing for themselves. (Also, as the owner of a water rower, I dream of a workout space like this.) I truly love everything he does so much and feel SO WEIRD for having this much of a talent crush on someone who is basically the same age as me.
So, uh, apparently I love color. SHOCKER. I love how much joy and warmth this team brings to their spaces. Example A: the architecture in that first shot is SO stark and modern, but Sally transformed it into a totally layered and happy and playful space. I know that if faced with a similar blank slate, I’d have been totally overwhelmed (which is probably why I’m just an observer and not, ya know, a full-time superstar designer). I also love the whimsy in their projects – that light at the Firehouse Hotel (RIP) is so fun and special and obviously, anything leopard is a HECK YES from me. Love love love.
Have you ever seen a neon quote done in such an elevated way? I am truly obsessed with Caitlin’s designs (and wish that I shared her talent for designing cheeky, IG-ready rooms in addition to her name). I love her mixing of old and new, her willingness to go there with color and print (that bathroom…big swoon from me!), and how livable her rooms still feel. Scrolling through her portfolio, I’m always in awe that the rooms feel like places you could actually congregate without like, living in constant fear of breaking/spilling/staining. ME NEXT?
They are just the coolest LA design studio who use color INSANELY well in my opinion and they know exactly what to do with each project they get. They’re super versatile and just all in all have it so together & inspire me a HUGE amount.
It felt weird to not put Kelly Wearstler on this list when I feel like she is constantly pushing boundaries in design which is what I love so much about her projects. Being in the Santa Monica Proper is like going to vintage chair Disneyland – she is so good at curating unique pieces…then putting them TOGETHER and her combinations of shapes, colors and materials just make you stop and stare. I should also note she is typically working with huge budgets which is why she can have so many awesome statement-y pieces – so I’d have to assume I could afford such incredible maximalism, but hey this is a dream world so she definitely makes the list…she might even be my #1 choice.
He is an incredible designer known for mixing Hollywood glam with Moroccan patterns and shapes. In my opinion, this is what makes his designs so interesting and fun – which are 2 things that are important to me in a space. His Palm Springs house is my dream palm springs house…it’s TOO GOOD. If my house was in palm springs I’d definitely ask him to design it…or Jonathan Adler because The Parker is just so cool.
It’s clear that there is simply too much talent out there! Maybe in another life I’ll own many homes (with endless design budgets) to be able to collaborate with such wild talent. But until then they will stay as constant inspiration:)
How about you? Who would you hire? Which EHDer do you relate most to? And no you also can’t choose Emily! It’s the only rule… at least for this exercise:) xx