My Top 20 Interior Design Idols: Part One

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{Katie Lee’s Living Room designed by Nate Berkus}

For someone who loves reading and taking surveys, I am sometimes caught off guard when someone asks me what my favorites are. I love so many things, that I sometimes have a difficult time narrowing it all down on the fly. Just the other day, I was asked who my favorite interior designers are. I named a few of my top favorites off the top of my head, but I knew that I had inevitably left some names of my list.

A few days later, I really started to ponder who my favorite designers were. I could have gone on forever! There are so many designers whose work I admire so, so much, but I knew I would have to narrow it down. I whittled down the list until it was still about a mile long, but that still seemed a little excessive for a “favorite” category. I then challenged myself to name my top 20. It was no easy task. In all honesty, I really do admire so many things about the work of many, many designers out there and I love discovering new ones along the way. I am sure my list will continue to grow and change over time, but in the meantime, I will be doing a four-part mini-series on my Top 20 Interior Design Idols, each of whom has greatly influenced my own personal design aesthetic. They will appear in no particular order, beginning with the first five today. Be sure to come back tomorrow for the second installment of my list!

nate berkus glamour2Nate Berkus: I adore Nate’s polished style and the fact that he emphasizes the importance of making a space feel personal. Every room in a home should say something about the people who live there. I usually love the color palettes that Nate employs and love that every space he designs features a touch of glamour. And by the way, could he be any cuter?

Nate has something that most other designers do not, even the ones that every design-minded person knows. He is a household name that even people who do not have a vested in design are familiar with. I love that he has brought an awareness of design to the masses. Did you know that most of the items in the room pictured above are from his line for HSN and are pretty affordable? It doesn’t hurt to be Oprah’s go-to-guy does it? It also doesn’t hurt that he is incredibly, undeniably talented.


jk capriMichele Bonan: This Italian designer is a true master in my opinion. Most of the spaces he has designed rank amongst my all time favorites. These images, from the JK Florence and JK Capri Hotels respectively are so telling of his effortless, elegant style. Every last detail is incredibly chic. He always manages to bring out the stunning architecture of each room and often uses subdued palettes. He uses accessories and art so masterfully and makes each room look completely elegant and timeless, which is a true coup in an industry that is ever-changing.

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Suzanne Kasler: I love Suzanne’s genteel aesthetic. Everything she designs is elegant and classic. She has such a knack for infusing a bit of a modern touch to her otherwise traditional rooms. Her designs are undoubtedly feminine and classic, but always feel so fresh and new.

Lázaro Rosa Violán: Lázaro is a Barcelona-based designer whose work I have been crazy about lately! I have featured him on my blog a few times since January, when I stumbled upon his work while looking for a hotel for our trip to Barcelona. His main emphasis is on hotel and restaurant design. The spaces he creates are not only gorgeous, but completely original and full of character. Take the Big Fish restaurant pictured in the first image above, for example. It’s definitely not what comes to mind when one thinks of a sushi restaurant. I love the minimal color palette, the amazing lighting, the use of various textures, and the fact that he mixes new pieces with vintage ones to create the most amazing, layered looks.

Angie Hranowsky: I adore the way that Angie uses color and mixes high and low-priced items. Not only are the spaces she designs beautiful and inspiring, they feel attainable. Many times, we’ll find ourselves admiring gorgeous interiors only to realized that we may never be able to spend tens of thousands of dollars decorating a single room. Angie’s designs inspire me to be more creative and to check out different sources like thrift shops and estate sales where surely, some of the items in the rooms pictured above were found.


I wonder what my affinity for these designers says about my own style? I suppose I could describe it as classic with a twist? Eclectic with a hint of glamour? Let’s get the conversation rolling! Have I mentioned any of your favorite designers in this post? Whose style do you identify with? Who are some of your own design idols?

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