Ariella and Anelle of A-List Interiors provide a fresh, modern spin to their clients’ spaces, while decorating with traditional elements that give a nod to classic design. Their added use of dressmaker details, color and texture contribute to the overall success of their finished projects.
How did you discover your passion for design?
Anelle: Both of us have always gravitated towards beautiful, well-made things, and have had a strong interest in art since childhood. My path was more direct, graduating from Parsons School of Design and then working at Dwellstudio in its start-up phase, developing textiles and soft home furnishings.
Ariella: And I came from an art history background and originally worked in the fashion world. I realized my passion for interiors was stronger than fashion when one of my fashion clients enlisted me to help design two custom homes.
What is your favorite decorative object at home?
Anelle: Artwork. We both have our own favorites. We love how artwork not only adds beauty and drama to a space, but also makes us feel more connected to our homes. Each piece is special because of a particular memory, an emotion it evokes, or a point of view.
Is design an art or a science?
Ariella: It’s a bit of both… just like alchemy.
Do you have any go-to color or pattern combinations?
Anelle: Rather than a specific color, we typically create contrast within whatever color palette we are working in. We believe that incorporating various different materials and textures is important in the creation of a home that feels layered and luxurious.
When do you consider a completed project a success?
Ariella: A project is successful when it transforms our clients’ lives. We love the beauty of design, but hearing how our clients are using their homes — whether they are entertaining more, hosting holidays, or just generally enjoying their homes, is the true measure of success.
Share your biggest design secret.
Anelle: Details matter. A space will never feel complete without that last layer of small accessories and styling. It’s the books, the flowers, and the small decorative touches that really make an interior come alive and feel inviting.
What is the most common design mistake you see?
Ariella: We are sticklers when it comes to window treatments. They add so much warmth to a home. Often we see them too short or the hardware installed too low. There are so many details to consider when designing window treatments — one size never fits all. We think this is an area of design where customization and experience make all the difference.
How do you balance style, comfort, and functionality?
Anelle: We work with a lot of busy professionals. They want to enjoy their homes, often love to entertain, and don’t want to worry about maintenance. That said, functionality and comfort are the first requests we get when starting a project. We are able to maintain style and design integrity by selecting furnishings that can be customized to suit a particular client’s needs — from adjusting the depth and cushion fill on a sofa for comfort, to using performance fabrics on upholstery, and conversion varnishes on case goods for durability. In general, we also find that higher quality items are more durable since they are made with better materials and construction techniques.
Is there a specific item you typically use as a starting point? (ex: rug, artwork, statement piece, furniture)
Ariella: While a lot of designers often start with a rug, we always start with a furniture plan and color palette then source and select the largest furniture pieces first. These are the pieces our clients will use the most and are often most important to them — sofas are the perfect example. We consider rugs and artwork more like jewelry, the finishing touches that pull together the overall look.
What do you think about Sotheby’s Home?
Anelle: Sotheby’s Home is a great resource for sourcing unique pieces at great value for our projects. The platform has also proven helpful to our clients when they are looking to consign pieces when moving to a new home or experiencing a lifestyle change. It’s an amazing way to promote sustainability in our industry, with so much mass production. Sotheby’s Home gives us the opportunity to source and provide higher quality pieces.
Can you share a little about your experience at Sotheby’s Institute of Art?
Ariella: We owe our design partnership to Sotheby’s Institute of Art, as that is where we met! We were friends first, but sharing a love of art, history, and the decorative arts led us to collaborate as design partners. We enjoyed the hands-on and behind-the-scenes access to some of the greatest collections of fine and decorative art that Sotheby’s Institute offered us. Our professors were top in their fields, with knowledge and experience that could not be taught from a book alone.