Q&A With Ariel Okin
We are so excited to share some insights and inspiration from interior designer, Ariel Okin!
Scroll below to see what she has to say about the industry, the latest trends, and her advice for new homeowners – plus a peak at some of her fabulous work!
How did you first get involved with interior design?
I started designing on the side of my day job in education – I went to graduate school for communications and public affairs, and I was working full time, but friends would ask me to help them with their apartments on the side. I quickly realized I was spending more time working on those projects for free than I was spending on anything else at work! It took me about three years to be able to build up a book of business that was big enough where I could go out on my own and leave my day job, but I’m so grateful that I did – I can’t believe I get to do what I do every day and I feel so grateful to be able to design and create the homes that our clients form their memories in every day.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I am a huge collector of both vintage and contemporary interior design books – I also turn to nature often for interesting color palettes I might not have thought of or seen together before. I always ask our clients to come to us with a few inspiration photos and then we build that into a creative brief (essentially a large mood board, for every space in the house) so that we’re all on the same page, inspiration-wise, so that we’re kicking off the project on the same foot before we start sourcing. I also love to draw inspiration from travel but with two toddlers, there isn’t too much of that going on in my life right now, ha!
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
I always tell people that interior design is 10% creativity and 90% communication and logistics. I don’t think clients realize at the outset if it’s the first time that they’re working with an interior designer the sheer amount of logistics and planning and project management that’s required with these large scale homes. Communication is so key to making sure that everyone is on the same page – whether between us and vendors, us and the client, or internally as a team. That’s something that my team and I are always striving to be the best we can be at!
What is the most fun/rewarding part of your job?
Receiving messages from happy clients when they move in is one of the most gratifying experiences I can ever have. Watching our client’s children play in the spaces we created is so affirming; I love what I do and seeing moments like that is just the ultimate cherry on top for me, to know that people are creating their life’s memories in spaces we created. It’s the most special part of my job, by far.
Do you have a favorite project that you’ve worked on?
I love all of the projects that we work on; we are lucky to have clients who also really trust us and who share the same aesthetic vision, which I believe are the two keys to producing work that we are really proud of.
How would you describe your style?
Traditional with a twist – my style is very much rooted in the classics, but with a fresh, updated eye and a contemporary spin.
How has the industry changed since you first got started?
I think in the decade since I’ve started designing social media has really allowed for so much more discovery – of vendors, of antique shops, for clients to discover us – and that’s something that I find to be such a blessing.
What predictions do you have for styles/trends in 2023/2024?
I am not one to subscribe to any trends; I really believe in choosing classic items that reflect your own individual personality in your house, and items that will stand the test of time. Timeless over trendy, every time!
What advice would you give a new homeowner, or someone embarking on their first design project?
Hone in on your personal style; it’ll make purchases and the cohesiveness of your home come together much easier.