The expat design duo Catherine Olasky and Maximilian Sinsteden have made their mark with projects in Dublin, Nantucket, Austin, Connecticut and beyond in just 7 years. The globe-trotters both studied under the greats- including Bunny Williams, Charlotte Moss, and David Easton- and their method reflects the polished and meticulous approach to design and expertise that will soon make them masters in their own right.
What inspired this career path for you?
We each knew from an early age that we wanted our careers to have creativity at the center. After exploring other interests (fine arts for Catherine, performing arts for Max, architecture for both of us), we each found interior design and loved how it combined form, function, aesthetics, elegance, identity, and whimsy. We also both had the great fortune of starting our careers at firms which will likely shape and inspire us for the rest of our lives. While studying at Parsons, Catherine was able to land an internship for Bunny Williams, where she spent six amazing years. Meanwhile Max, starting at age fifteen, was a sponge for decorating arcana in various roles for David Easton and Charlotte Moss.
What is your go-to source for inspiration?
We are frequently inspired: it could be the work of a peer, or a client’s art collection, or something as small as a single antique Dutch tile. We have a particular passion for the history of interior design and architecture, and are very involved with the Royal Oak Society in America, which supports the National Trust and all it does to preserve historic British architecture, interiors, and the decorative arts.
Tell us about your creative process.
We tend to work in the school of Sister Parish and Albert Hadley. Beginning with floor plans and elevations, we make sure that any work we do — be it architectural or decoration — relates to the architecture and reflects the place. From there, we develop furniture floor plans, offer carpet possibilities, and then fabric schemes. We eventually go through each category of the home, from lighting to upholstery to curtains to framing to accessories — and everything in between.
Describe your style in 6 words or less.
Where clients will be at home.
What’s a staple in your tool kit?
Extremely tiny contrast piping, good lampshades, extra soft throw cushions, bedside note pads, good lighting at all levels and of all kinds.
Who do you look up to in the design world?
Beyond our former employers (and mentors), we love the work of Tom Scheerer, Veere Grenney, Alex Papachristidis, Amelia Handegan, Robert Kime, and Rose Uniacke. Those no longer with us: Chester Jones, Renzo Mongiardino, John Fowler, Roger Banks-Pye, Bunny Mellon, Henri Samuel.
If you could design a space for anyone, what kind of space and for whom would it be?
A cottage on Antigua for (and with) Deeda Blair.
Tell us your favorite design-related word, phrase, or quote.
Just published in Town & Country‘s April issue: “How do you know when a room is finished? When you run out of money.” — Robert Kime
Which design blog, website, TV show, or magazine would you be lost without?
World of Interiors, Tatler home issue, The Crown, Downton Abbey
What do you love about Viyet?
Viyet allows both the individual and the designer to shop from anywhere for a huge variety of interior furnishings, lighting, art, accessories, and more from the comfort of their desk (or bed!). We know firsthand how stringent the Viyet inspection process is, and that creates a level of trust that is almost unheard of in online shopping. The breadth and depth of what is offered really allows one to shop all aspects of a project!
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