Interior Designer Spotlight with Sam Ciardi
Founder-owner of Samuel Robert Signature Spaces, Millburn, NJ.
Before Sam made a splash in the Manhattan and New Jersey interior design scene, he spent 17 years in fashion. Most notably he was invited by Ashley and Mary Kate Olsen to join their company Dualstar Entertainment in Los Angeles. He became the Executive Design Director and was responsible for creating the vision for the mary-kateandashley brand.
Join me in this chat with Sam as he shares insights into the changes coming to the world of fashion and interior design.
Do You See Interior Design Changing Over the Next 2–5 Years?
“Well I do. I’ve been in the design industry long enough, and in fashion, which seems now to almost be dictating some of our home trends and color stories. I know a home can’t change as rapidly as fashion, because it’s more of an investment for the consumer, but we’re on the brink of some big political changes in this country and what’s happening politically, socially, economically always impacts design. It’s just a historical fact! We are starting to see it emerge in fashion trends now. Things are going in a brighter, happier and a little bit more whimsical direction. This sort of industrial, gray, bleak, big giant pieces, boom…boom..boom — I just think we are seeing about the end of it.”
Have You Started to See This Bright Color Trend Emerge?
“I think we are starting to get there. The color of the year was Simply White so we are starting to see it emerge in some photo shoots — bright, crisp white interiors with bright color accents. I just feel like things are going to take a more personal twist. Things are going to have a lot more personality.”
Which is Your Favorite Interior Design Magazine?
“Elle Decor just because I think it’s a little bit quirky and they show some interesting things that aren’t just mainstream. I lost confidence in Architectual Digest when it became about who’s celebrity house are we going to show next. I think there’s a place for actors and actresses but I don’t think they need to be the face of design in our country. There are a lot of great interior designers who should be celebrities themselves. I don’t need to look to Jennifer Aniston to tell me what my house should look like. Hopefully, this will trend down. Not everything needs a celebrity endorsement.”
Why Did You Want to Become an Interior Designer?
“I think it was first and foremost always my passion. The fashion industry is pretty insane. I had quite a long run and a lot of travel. I just always have been attracted to interior design, home products, and furnishings.”
How Does Interior Design Differ in California from New Jersey?
“I can tell you that I think in California, everyone wanted to be different. They wanted to have a look that was unique. They were more into expressing themselves and they weren’t really afraid to do so. What I’m seeing here are big changes because New Jersey is an older community. It’s got more history. I end up working with older homes, sometimes historical. I think the major thing we are seeing right now is a whole mind set of moving away from historical accuracy and traditional pieces for traditional homes. They are trying to figure out how to modernize, contemporize and make their home comfortable for today’s lifestyle.”
How Are You Able to Compete in Your Competitive Market?
“One thing I have going for me is that I have a 3,000 square foot showroom which a lot of designers today don’t have. Having a showroom and becoming a stocking dealer of the brands I feel are necessary to design a home, I am able to offer really competitive pricing. And it also gives the opportunity for people to come in and feel the fabric and sit on the actual furniture. They can see the quality as opposed to seeing a picture online. I try to help my clients create a space that is uniquely theirs and not every other gray and white house on the block.”
For more on Sam Ciardi: Samuel Robert Signature Spaces