Since we last chatted with you in 2021 you were in the midst of a big dreamy makeover on your Bushwick apt, how did that go? Any surprises or cozy spots you rediscovered?
It was insane! Painting white over grey-white dirty walls is enough to drive you crazy, but was super worth it. The most exciting aspect was knowing the finished product would be a perfect backdrop for my furniture designs and any other creative projects I wanted to fulfill. I HATED my kitchen before, because it was so brown on brown on brown, i never wanted to cook! Now it seems my kitchen is my hub for everything, hosting, smoking, working, and also cooking SOMETIMES ;) - so that has definitely been a surprising but welcoming change. Finding my $125 1980’s couch on facebook marketplace was an amazing finishing touch that made the living finally feel cozy, along with my sun filled nook, which I keep pretty empty as a transitional space, except when I have work overflow or stuff like that.
We love the photos you took of Friends products interacting in your space, what were your favorite pieces and did anything inspire you?
I also love products with a sense of humor, or a surprise element, which the fake bread definitely brings about. I love cherub and renaissance iconography, so that little baby has definitely been inspiring me to look back at one of my favorite eras of fine art.
Best advice for someone who wants to redecorate their space? Is there a process or do you intuitively mood and vision board to get to where you wanna be ?
Honestly, I avoid the vision boards! In the past, I had tried and failed to emulate many vision or mood boards and would find myself disappointed that it didn’t look exactly like the pinterest image. I also think looking for ~too~ much inspiration can derail your own true vision or creativity.
I work best by looking for familiar forms, colors, or time periods that make me happy. For example, if you want a whole new look and have no clue where to start, start with a color or palette that pleases you.
Once you find one purple plate or chair at goodwill, you start spotting purple and complimentary colors everywhere and developing a concept. Also, painting one purple wall or door frame is a lot cheaper than redoing your whole place, so little incremental changes like that are both cost effective and less overwhelming for someone just getting started.
And for those who don’t like to be too matchy-matchy, focusing on a time period is really fun. I love both the 80’s and old school stuff, so putting together an eclectic home has been easy for me. If someone is a little scared of that, stick to one or the other! If you love art deco or minimalism, it’s really easy to find second hand or vintage pieces that can guide the rest of your decision making and style. If youre really lost, look for ideas in spaces you go to daily, such as your cute local restaurant or boutique, especially in New York, there's tons of places with character and inspiration.
What initially drew you to making furniture / carpentry?
I have always loved art, but never felt compelled to create incredibly emotionally vulnerable or personal work in that manner. When I studied industrial design at Virginia Tech, I knew I wanted to make stuff, especially with my hands, but it was only when a professor showed me the collection of vintage chairs in our school library that I fell in love with the trade.
To create something that could evoke the emotion of a fine art piece, while having it functional and serve the user, is a really cool and fulfilling profession. And there is a TON of design history about women and queer designers that have totally been left behind, which is an aspect I love bringing back to light in 2022 and beyond.
Squiggle shelf styled with home decor objects from Friends NYC by Sophie. It's custom so contact her if you like it!
What was the first piece you made? Can you describe it for us?
The first piece I made was not pink! Shocker!! It was a primary color table, modeled after Gerrit Rietveld’s “Schroeder Table”. I had never built full scale furniture at Tech, so I took it upon myself the summer after graduation to buy a table saw from the hardware store and make something solely for myself. I kept to Rietveld's color palette, but injected a few more primary colors in true De Stijl style. My style has definitely evolved, but I always come back to the simplicity and refinement of that table, both the original and my version!
How did you come to define and commit to your current ‘barbiecore’ and *frills* aesthetic?
I think coming out helped a a lot, and being queer in general! Queerness is incredibly freeing, and it makes it fun to be ridiculous. When I was a stressed out straight girl in college trying to impress all the guys and male professors, it was hard to want to design something so pink and frilly - I convinced myself I hated color! I only designed stainless steel or grey things - very tragic. After graduating in 2018, I worked in an art museum and fell in love with Memphis Milano, the Gutai movement, and artists such as Lygia Pape whose works are all immersed in emotion and color. That was really eye opening and also when I started drawing all the ideas I am producing now!
Last 99 cent store buy that truly lights up your life?
Oh man! I’m such a sucker for the pastel round buckets at my local store. I don’t need so many but I keep finding uses for them in the studio. My cats also nap in those.
One summer ‘22 memory that you’ll always remember?
Dinner at the Versace mansion!
We saw you made it to Miami! Is that Italy trip on the way??
Hopefully next year! I’ll be manifesting in the meantime.
Next up on your home decor wishlist?
I want to tile our whole kitchen wall!!
Thank you so much for collaborating with us yet again, we’re huge fans of you and your aesthetic home design work <3 Where can the people find you and shop your pieces?? Do you do custom commission pieces?
www.sophiecolledesign.com is my main site :) I have some stuff up there now. People can also submit custom inquiry form on there. I also have my first commercially manufactured tables go up on areaware.com today (8/3/22!!) which is VERY exciting! You can view it here.
Don't forget to shop all of Sophie's recent Friends NYC home decor selects and see how she styled each piece for a slice of home design inspiration!