In honor of International Women’s Day, find out how these distinguished designers turned their passions into thriving businesses, then shop their wares currently on sale at Sotheby’s Home.
As CEO for her eponymous line, Nancy offers contemporary design with a dash of Old Hollywood glamour. Raised in Seattle, her creativity was fostered by rainy days, prompting her to redecorate her doll houses. That impulse bloomed into a 30+ year business in interior design. Being self-taught, Nancy recently received an honorary degree from the Interior Design Institute in Orange County, where she started a scholarship for promising students. Her success is attributed to hard work with a carpe diem spirit, inspiring others to achieve her sophisticated aesthetic. This side table embodies her style with its neoclassical parchment-colored frame and glass top gleaming in modernity.
Known for her plush ladyfinger chairs and interiors bathed in pink, India is a master of choosing the right color to promote a sense of hospitality and femininity. Her penchant for creating pastel dreamscapes comes from having lived a cosmopolitan childhood, as she migrated from Iran and grew up in the U.S., France, and Germany. With degrees in architecture and industrial, graphic, and furniture design, she spent seven years as the artistic director for Christian Liaigre before establishing her own showroom in Paris in 2003. Her signature gelato lounge chairs display the visual and tactile delight of mohair velvet and nubuck.
Showcasing graceful lines and texture, this ivory Piedmont Chair from Baker is a classic barrel-back design by Barbara Barry. With a background in outdoor painting, Barbara draws inspiration from nature, applying her three tenets of good design (simplicity, proportion, and harmony) to her interiors. She opened her business in Los Angeles in 1985, producing furnishings, textiles, and lighting, and has collaborated with Baker and Henredon, among others. A world-renowned designer, her timeless style is a quiet solution to busy lives, and she has written a book called Around Beauty to inspire others with her meditations on nature and elegant design.
As CEO of Holly Hunt design, Holly is a powerhouse in producing contemporary streamlined furnishings with careful attention to scale. A West Texas native, she originally pursued fashion and trekked to NYC to work at a costume jewelry firm. A series of life events led to the establishment of her first furniture showroom in Chicago in 1983. Since then, her business has expanded to an empire, producing such classics as this glass top table, a versatile piece suited for urban living. She now operates under the umbrella of Knoll, where she remains CEO over her creative departments and showrooms worldwide.
Celerie creates whimsical, sun-drenched furniture and textiles inspired by her days in Palm Beach. She was immersed in interior design as a child, growing up around her mother’s business, Kemble Interiors. The firm was established in 1982 by Mimi McMakin, whose style was influenced by flowers and Southern charm. Celerie attended Harvard and briefly worked in film production before succumbing to what’s “in the blood”. She now runs the New York office and collaborates with Mimi to design comfortable residential interiors, and has partnered with Henredon and Maitland-Smith. Her enduring style is found in this Henredon nightstand wrapped in leather.