This month our Designer Spotlight features Ellen Kastelberg, a Richmond native whose beautiful interiors mix traditional components with a unique twist. Ellen gravitates towards blues and greens when decorating and admires the work of Virginian Bunny Williams as well as New Yorker Katie Ridder. Ellen believes no home is truly complete without a garden or stool – preferably an elephant shaped one! Below you will find an interview with this fabulous interior designer who I am lucky enough to work with and call my friend.
How did you get into Interior Design?
Although I was an English major in college, I was always drawn to the beauty of the home, inside and out. And I have always been drawn to color and interesting textiles. I started working in the design and retail industry throughout college, and then went on to assist designers, such as Amanda Nisbet, before starting my own business. My dad is a custom home builder here in Richmond, and housing vocabulary was always thrown around in our house, so working in the design industry has just felt natural to me.
What is your favorite part about being a designer?
Two things! Building relationships with my clients and really listening to their needs and how they like to “live” in their home. Secondly, the initial creative process. I love a client who says, “Here, we have this empty room and want to start all over, show us your ideas.” This blank slate truly gives me the creative freedom that I love.
How would you describe your style in one sentence?
Traditional with a twist.
What or who inspires you and your work?
Bunny Williams, a native Virginia designer. I love how her designs feel so warm and layered. She has a way of being frank about the design industry – a seasoned designer who is extremely talented. Also, Katie Ridder…her way of mixing color and pattern gets me every time.
What is your best entertaining tip?
Make things simple, easy, and functional. As the host/hostess, you want to be able to enjoy your guests too!
What are you best known for personally or professionally?
I think I’m best known for my use of color in rooms…and maybe my nursery designs…those are my favorite rooms to decorate 😊
What color are you constantly gravitating toward?
Blues and Greens
No home is complete without….
A garden and/or elephant stool
How do you start the design process for a room?
I listen to what my client’s needs are – sometimes they have a piece of furniture, accessory, or artwork, that they would like to “hold onto” or something that has to “stay” in the room, so I create my designs and color scheme from that. From there, I create a digital presentation, followed by a presentation board of fabric, wallpaper, carpet, trim samples, finishes, etc. that we review and make selections from there.
What’s your favorite design trend (current or timeless)?
Always have something old (antique/vintage,) and new living in the same room.
How do you feel art can influence a room or space that you are designing?
Art is such an integral part of any room. You can either begin with a piece of art the client already has, and build a color scheme from it, or introduce a new piece of art that compliments the design, once a room is complete. I tend to do the latter.
Huge shoutout to Gordon Gregory for his beautiful photographs of this special project. Gordon perfectly captured the essence of this lovely home that Ellen and I worked on.