Renée Gaddis, Principal Designer of Renée Gaddis Interiors, has been outfitting Naples, Florida’s most sophisticated homes for nearly two decades. Renée is known for her ability to work within a diverse range of styles, from coastal to contemporary. Get Renée’s look by shopping her favorite Sotheby’s Home pieces, and learn more about her.

How did you discover your passion for design?
I have always been into fashion, and actually went to school for Apparel Merchandising, Design, and Production. In school, I learned all the basics about fabrics, warp vs. weft, durability testing, etc., which have proven to be very valuable in my current line of work. From the age of 10, I would make my mom take me shopping each year to redecorate my room. I was always cleaning the house and re-arranging the accessories. While I graduated from college with a degree in fashion, my first job out of school was in interior design. I quickly realized that design was what I was always meant to do.   

What is your favorite decorative object at home?
My spice-colored Hermès blanket that was a gift from my husband. I won’t let my kids go near it! I also have a pair of cream ceramic owls that were my grandmother’s and two vintage black-and-white snake prints from Lo Forti in my dining room. (The latter were featured on the cover of Elle Decor in 2013, and I scoured the earth to find them.) I have a slight obsession with owls and snakes.  

Is design an art or a science?
Absolutely both! You must understand the rules of scale and proportion before you can break them, what fabrics work for upholstery vs. drapery, etc. There are definite fundamentals that lay the groundwork in design, and what you layer over the fundamentals is what makes each design unique. But not having a clear understanding of the basics can be catastrophic.  

Do you have any go-to color or pattern combinations?
Typically, the client is driving these decisions. However, we are located in a coastal area, so we are frequently using colors reminiscent of sand, sky, and water, which cohesively link the interior design with the natural landscape.

When do you consider a completed project a success?
When the client is happy, and their expectations are not just met but exceeded.

Share your biggest design secret.
That is a tough one. I’d have to say my knowledge of construction and architecture, since the background selections and architectural details are just as important to good design as the furniture, drapery, and accessories.

How do you balance style, comfort, and functionality?
The balance is different for each client. By listening to the client and their needs, we determine priorities for each project and go from there. There are some clients who want more comfort and functionality, while others want the exact opposite. It’s all about checks and balances.

Is there a specific item you typically use as a starting point? (ex: rug, artwork, statement piece, furniture)
Years ago, I was taught to start with the rug and build the room from the ground up. This is no longer my rule of thumb. Again, it all depends on the client and what their priorities and inspirations are. If a client has a fabulous art collection or, say, a favorite color that must be incorporated, we start there.

What do you think about Sotheby’s Home?
It is a brilliant platform, really. I appreciate the mix of styles and periods, which is so important in achieving a timeless look. Plus, it’s very user friendly. If I need something in a pinch, I can search and find something in my area, which is awesome. And, if I am looking for one unique piece, it is easy to peruse through.

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