Wayfair At Home Magazine & Wayfair.com Designer Of The Month, March 2015
Congratulations to Susana Simonpietri of Chango & Co., on being selected as our March 2015 Designer of the Month!
Chango & Co., a Brooklyn-based firm, creates inviting family-friendly spaces with bold pops of color. Their wide array of projects exhibits the modern-traditional blend of styles that they execute so well. Read on to learn more about Susana’s inspirations and the process her team uses to create these gorgeous homes.
Can you give us five words that explain why you love interior design?
Creativity, style, peace, order, and neatness. Neatness is next to Godliness.
Can you tell us how you got started in the design field?
As an undergraduate I studied comparative literature and modern languages. My studies took me to England and then to France, where I finished my degree. While living in Paris, I fell in love with design and that was that. I moved to NYC and did a Masters Degree in interior design/interior architecture at the Pratt Institute and quickly started working for some of the best design firms of New York City. I learned as much as I could, and eventually opened my own firm in 2009 and have never looked back.
How would you define your personal style? Your firm’s style?
I think our style is approachable, comfortable, family-friendly, fun, varied, and eclectic. I treat interior design the way I treat my personal fashion; I don’t want to look the same each day, and I don’t want to produce work that looks too much alike, so all of our work has an identity of its own.
We love all the behind the scenes photos on your site! What is a typical day in the life of a Chango & Co. designer?
We spend our days in a mixture of client meetings, installations, shopping trips and office research time, which makes for a fun life. I like to keep things as light and fun as possible, which leads to great picture moments, especially when installing or photographing a project.
Is there one element that you always put into your designs? A.k.a.—any signature decorating moves?
Linen always seems to find its way to every project I do, and I think it has something to do with my Caribbean upbringing and how I long for all things linen. We also use a lot of white on sofas and chairs, but do it with slipcovers to make sure they are easily washable. I also think NO space should ever be without a high-end scented candle (which is why I feel so strongly about our Chango & Co. candle line to be released later this year!).
What is the number one comment you hear from clients?
I feel proud when potential clients approach us and tell us they love our work because of how polished it is without feeling contrived. Also, the most reoccurring comment from clients is: “this feels so much like us!” and then they proceed to thank us for capturing them so well, in a way they could not have done themselves. I take great care in studying people while we work with them to try to provide a space that is tailored to them in a special way (which explains the vast difference in our project looks), and it makes me utterly happy when clients tell me I got them just right.
What was your favorite part of your first big project?
Honestly, I think the best part of any project is the freedom, which was the case for our first big one. The more experienced we get, and the more selective we become with clients, and the more freedom we are provided. Designers are creatives after all… and we do our best work when we are trusted and left free to create.
Do you have any go-to people, places, or things that inspire you?
Living in NYC as a designer is kind of the equivalent of a kid living in a candy shop, but I try to travel as much as possible to get influences from around the world. When stuck in the office, I love to navigate through Pinterest for a bit of inspiration and help from other designers. There is so much beauty out there, and it is so nice to look at the world through other designers’ eyes from time to time.
What is your favorite house from a movie set?
Oh boy… Great question! I LOVE to watch movies for design inspiration. Romantic comedies, which often are terrible cinematic feats, have some amazing set designers on board. Movies I specifically recall loving are: “Something’s Gotta Give”, “It’s Complicated”, “The Holiday”, “Home Alone” (for the festive holiday spirit put into each and every flawless detail), “Father of the Bride”, “Beetlejuice”, “Atonement”, “The Royal Tenenbaums” (and ANYTHING Wes Anderson really), “Great Expectations”, and “A Single Man”, amongst others.
What are the three things in your office that you can’t live without?
My team (especially my husband and business partner), my flowers, and my pets, two little dogs and a cat, who live in the office with us.
Are there any 2014 design trends that you’re sad to see go? Are there any new trends that you’re excited to try?
To be perfectly honest, I don’t really know what the trends were for 2014, or what the projected trends are for 2015. I try to stay away from trends because we like to make sure our designs are as timeless as possible. I don’t tend to read a lot of magazine articles, but I do browse through the images to look at what other designers are doing. I suppose we sometimes fall into the trends of the year articles, but I think this happens organically.
See the article on Wayfair.com