This August I had the pleasure of meeting and working with a talented and successful interior/construction designer Debra Geller from instagram: @debra_geller_interior_design. Our shoot took place at the Holiday Showcase House in Water Mill, NY. While each room was immaculately decorated by various designers, Debra's room was the most magnificent! She created an office/creative space that is feminine yet very powerful, inspiring and inviting. 

I was so impressed by her style, professionalism and positive personality I just had to interview her to feature on this website. Scroll down to see images from our shoot and read the full interview. 

Q: Why did you decide to go into interior design business? Were there favorite designers that inspired you to go into this field? 

A: Right out of college I started out in a retail management track program for Filene's department store in Boston. But when I was about 10 years old my mother encouraged me to take art classes... I always loved painting. Using amazing colors and textures always intrigued me, I loved creating beauty!  My mother was an interior decorator, she could make any room more beautiful with her amazing style....she was my inspiration for all things beautiful and spiritual.. which I believe are both very connected and interrelated...   I learned at an early age, that your environment is everything and needs to make you feel safe, warm, comfortable and be beautiful.

I always had an eye for design and anything that had to do with the home or any type of fashion... It was always my Passion. 

So when I was working as a retail manager, I was also doing custom artwork for people's homes ... I was discovered at a trade show in Massachusetts and I was asked to come to New York to be the head designer for a hand painted wallcovering/ furniture company that had just launched into the market.  I started creating an incredible collection of wallcovering that was high end hand painted and hand crafted by artisans, whom I taught to recreate my designs and reproduce them in repeat... I then started designing complete interiors that spawned off of my wallcoverings.. and so my career began....  I was very focused on launching my career and my business, I never worked for another interior designer I started my business from the ground up, and I learned the from getting experience in the field, I am self taught......  word-of-mouth spread of my work   when I lived in Westchester County, and i had a thriving successful interior/construction design business.

Q: How would you describe your decorating style? 

A: My decorating style is always determined by my client's taste level and their style. I pride myself on creating a personalized home that has my clients fingerprints all over it. With my design expertise, and creativity along with my vast experience, and know how pulling together their dream space, creating a cohesive beautiful environment that is a blend of what they like and what they love, and my design aesthetic.... After all it is their home that and they must live in it.. I want my clients to be 100% comfortable and excited everything that they select.

In my own home however I love to live with a mixture of textures colors and warmth ..adding lots of family photographs and family collections to make an interesting design concept and a very livable and casual home. I love soft calming colors, and elements of surprise , and exciting pieces of art. I often create paintings for my own home as well as clients.

Q: What is your favorite part of the job and what is your least favorite? 

A: My favorite part of my job …that's a twofold question favorite part Is the happy , excited and pleased look on my clients face when they see their completed project!!  nothing makes me happier than when my clients look at me with tears telling me how much they love their home and how I have created an incredible environment for their family to love, live and be happy in... 

I am a construction designer, so I love building and creating projects from the ground up and designing the entire concept. I work with draftsman or architects driving the project, creating an amazing environment inside and out. I love choosing materials and developing the space from some inspiration, whether it’s the nature on the property, a view, or a beautiful piece of fabric, antique piece of wood, or a family heirloom.  I love the entire process creating beauty from nothing. Its magical!

Q: All of your designs are spectacular, where do you go to get new ideas and inspiration?

A: Thank you very much!! I'm inspired by many things because I am an artist I look at design very differently and then most designers, because I understand color how it works, the theory of color and how color makes you feel.  Nature is one of my biggest inspirations… I love how trees look against the sky, and flowers and the mixture of color and textures, as well as the juxtaposition of light especially living out in the Hamptons. The light and the colors mother nature puts together are always spectacular. I often select color palettes from nature that will make my client's house feel serene calming and inviting.  I also travel to many trade shows, art shows and read lots of trade publications, keeping current with new and exciting products, and artisans to bring my clients the most innovative and exciting products and design ideas.

Q: What was your inspiration behind the room design in Holiday showcase house in water mill? 

A: My inspiration behind the design at holiday house was to create an environment for the woman of the house that was her creative sanctuary. A room that she could go to and be productive in her work day, and that is also a place for her children to come sit with her and talk to her and be comfortable in... I wanted her to be inspired by her space, the very large-scale peony wallcovering that I chose in shades of pink, and lavenders with a very dark black background and beautiful organic soft fabrics which created a soothing and interesting environment. I also chose great art to compliment the space as well as a hand crafted desk and cabinet. I chose pink to honor my mother who passed away from breast cancer at age 47…she is the reason I am an interior designer; I'll forever be grateful for her, she is always my muse.

Q: What was your experience designing it?

A: Designing my Room for holiday house was an amazing experience. Not only did I get published in Hampton cottages and gardens magazine,( our house media sponsor) Newsday, channel 12 , tipster and other publications… but I met amazing designers who in themselves were inspiring and I created lifelong friends.. I also was able to meet many wonderful people who came to see the house. We raised a lot of money for breast cancer research…  I will be doing the holiday house again next year, and helping to create an even more exciting interesting holiday house for everybody to come see.

Q: What trends to you see emerging for 2020?

 A: For emerging trends in 2020 I see more movement towards organic materials bringing the inside out.. 4 season rooms that open onto the patio outdoors creating a multi functional and more al fresco entertaining spaces. Cozy outdoor living spaces with great sofas and seating and firepits for gathering, along with expansive outdoor grilling and kitchen areas will grow more, as well as wellness areas, like saunas, spas and large outdoor zen areas and luxurious showers. I also think there will be much more use of rounded organic shapes colored glass and mirrors and textured 3-D surfaces… especially in wall covering, and I think wall covering is going to become even bigger than it was before, with very large scale patterns textures and even scenic wall covering. 

I also think Colors are going to be more rich such as navy and some greens, and pinks, with soft colors as the neutral base, like warmer grays and softs creams… Kitchens will stray away from the “white kitchen” and go more towards different colors and woods and combinations, textures and mixed metals. Fabrics are becoming more durable and family friendly and the choices are growing vastly. I think antiques will make more of a comeback used sparely to create some history and interest even in modern interiors.  Of course, high Tech and voice sensor activation lighting and environmental controls and smart homes will get even smarter.

Q: What’s your favorite room in your house now?

A: My favorite Room in my house is my study.. I have a beautiful gray sofa with turquoise and teal accents it's a very cozy Room with lots of great books, photographs, family heirlooms, and guitars. It's just a great place to sit and talk with a beautiful blush oversized club chair and lots of textures… velvets and beautiful cottons and linens …but it's mostly my favorite Room because it's where we go to talk to our children and see how they're doing and come up with solutions and discuss anything in private.

Q: What are your top do’s and don’t of decorating that you would like to share with our audience? 

A: If you're decorate on your own I suggest going to different interior design product websites, there are many that have multi product selections. Many of they them let you save favorites so you can compare and go back and decide before you buy. I suggest saving photos on Pintrest, or Houzz that you like the best… create files for each room in your house, and try to source out product, some of the sites offer help. I think it's very important to create a home that your family is comfortable with and to use fabrics that are durable and stain resistant especially home to children's and pets.. do not over clutter your home, keep it simple, keep it beautiful… and let your family have a say in what they like especially in children's rooms.  Starting with favorite colors is a great place to be inspired.

Q: While we know there is no exact recipe for a Debra Geller interior, what are some of the ingredients you use again and again?

A: I always sit down and talk to my client and interview them about their favorite colors how they live in the house… what their family likes to do.  I like to speak to everybody in the family, including getting the children involved and excited about their spaces….. I always look in everybody's closets to see what colors they like to wear.  It's very important that your home colors reflect what you would wear every day, because if you don't like the color salmon in your clothing , you certainly don't want a dining room that color …because you will be wearing it every time you go in that room, and you will not like it very quickly..

Color creates and evokes emotions and people.. So color is one of my 1st go to’s …then I build the Room around that … I go through my clients wants and needs, they are the forefront of any good design… I always have them make wish list.  I usually start with 1 inspiration whether it's a piece of artwork or a piece of fabric.  I get my clients excited about that, and then I bring lots of different textures, art work, upholstery, some eclectic pieces, cozy pillows, throws and interesting lighting and accessories are a must .. then I can create an amazing story. 

I am a construction designers, I design and build from the ground up, so it's very easy for me to create an entire environment for the clients. Especially when I can create the home for them from concept to completion.  When I am working on an existing home we can do the same thing simply by changing out moldings, adding beautiful door knobs, hardware, built-ins and creating different wall finishes and interesting ceilings, and still making the space my client's own.

Q: What qualities do you most admire in a room?

A: I admire a Room that has good proportions … even if it's a small Room, with great light and amazing moldings and ceiling heights .. also where its positioned in the house is also important, good flow in a home is Paramount!! and storage is also very important, and a must!

Q: What do you wish people knew before hiring an interior designer? 

A:  I wish people knew before hiring an interior designer that an interior designer is there to make your home more beautiful interesting, comfortable and special in a way that they could not achieve on their own...

DO  hire an interior designer if you want them to create an amazing home!  they will bring products ideas and creations that you would never have thought of on your own. They have the resources, expertise, creativity and will keep you from making costly mistakes. They will take all of the guess work out of design and make your life much easier and more organized when designing.  And take the stress out of the equation!

Bargain shopping is not what interior design is about...

 Designers of course will shop product for you and pass on discounts and get you the best product for the best prices…. but designers are NOT there to be bargain shopped and haggled down… if you're looking to shop a light fixture for example on line yourself and tell the designer once they've spent the time and chosen a light, that you can get it for cheaper or that you saw something for a different price… than you should not be hiring a designer.. a designer is there to create an amazing home for each individualized project. It takes many hours of time to find the perfect light, and all products chosen.. TRUST your designer, don’t second guess your decisions and have fun working with the professional you have chosen, and your house will be beautiful!!

To view Debra's work visit her site Instagram: @debra_geller_interior_design

Using Format