Welcome to our second interview of our blog’s feature, Design Insider! Every month, you have the shot to read an exclusive conversation with your favorite interior designer and find out everything about its novelties, current design projects, and what’s next! Our second special guest is the LA renowned designer, Claudia Afshar, who has an amazing portfolio filled with clean, sophisticated and functional High End Residential, Hospitality and Specialty Commercial Interiors Nationwide. From sunny Los Angeles, California, the mind behind Claudia Afshar Design accepted our invitation, and we had a lovely conversation regarding design and how it can be a useful tool to solve the world’s issues.
Claudia Afshar needs no introduction. The designer and founder/CEO of Claudia Afshar Design Studio, has been making waves in the design industry due to her incredible fresh, sophisticated, and functional residential design projects.
The difference between something good and something great, is the attention to detail.Charles R.Swindoll
This quote is the first sentence we read the minute we explore Claudia’s official website. The design expert’s clients range from families to celebrities and high-end property developers, and each project has its own fingerprint. The attention to detail is the key of her design.
Raised between London and the British countryside, Claudia believes all her travels helped her shape her unique signature style that turned out to be functional yet sophisticated. You may have seen her work featured in some of the most distinguished design magazines such as Vogue, Elle Décor, Rue Magazine, and many other, and today the designer will spill all of her design secrets!
On Getting Her Start in Design
Claudia apprenticed at her Mother’s award winning interior design firm, Living in Space, while she learned architectural design and ground-up development from her Father’s successful large-scale property firm. As such she has a unique set of influences from which her sophisticated, sumptuous and refreshing brand have blossomed.
Jessica: Hello dear, Claudia! Thank you so much for accepting this invitation for this lovely conversation about design! We are aware that you grew up surrounded by great role models, for instance, your mother is the founder of the award winning interior design firm, Living in Space. Was it a challenge to create your own unique design style?
Claudia: Hello Jessica! Thank you so much for the invitation! No, in fact having her knowledge and 20+ plus years of experience to reference has been a huge blessing for me.
It was important for me early in my career to figure out who I was as a designer and what my styles and taste was. Whilst she and I both have creative vision and know what we like, our styles are quite different.
J: Feel inspired and inspire are two of the most important feelings in the world. Besides your mother, which names of the design world inspired you?
C: There are so many wonderful influences that have inspired me and influenced my journey, but I would say I will forever be hugely grateful to Mr. Christian Liaigre, who was and will always be such a wonderful talent, with so many impeccable creations.
J: You were raised between London and the British countryside, do you consider that your design style has a European influence?
C: Yes definitely. I’m very much inspired by my travels and my time spent in and around Europe. As a little girl I spent a lot of time in Spain and often find myself nowadays gravitating towards a lot of texture, natural stones,
Mediterranean olive trees and earthy tones.
J: A clean, sophisticated and sumptuous refreshing design. Nowadays, due to the pandemic crisis, it’s even more important to create a peaceful and balanced environment. What are the key elements?
C: Clean lines and attention to detail. I love high quality and take great care that all our work is executed beautifully. It can make any home so much more enjoyable. We love to create a pleasing flow between spaces and have a theme that permeates the entire residence.
Practicality and usability are paramount in enjoying a home. I love seeing all the fine details come to life.
J: Claudia, your portfolio is filled with astonishing residential design projects that reflect the client’s needs and wishes. Imagine that I am a client – What would be the first question to start planning this new design process?
C: Thank you so much! Ultimately, we do our upmost to ensure we create something our clients love so the first question is, “What do they want to achieve by working with us?” We can then provide our expertise to bring that vision to life. Even if their vision is not our first choice approach, we can ensure its executed professionally and tastefully and that the property as a whole has flow and consistency.
J: What are the clients’ top requests when you begin a new design project?
C: Ultimately, they are looking for us to maximise how the space is used, bring insight into how to achieve this and execute in a way that is top quality, longstanding, durable and addresses their needs and desires.
On Why These Particular Rooms Can Represent Better The Designer’s Creativity
J: Everyone knows that it’s important to decorate every inch of the house. What is the room that you feel you can play more with your creativity?
C: I love to design beautiful kitchens, formal living rooms and romantic walk-in closets. I love all the hidden treasures and details you can masquerade, creating layers to a person’s experience. Not everything needs to be obvious at first glance. That said, every project is so different. I am very enthusiastic and passionate during the creative process and the variety of ideas and concepts we get to explore. For me it’s really about bringing out all the potential that a space provides.
Get To Know All About Claudia Afshar’s Design Projects
J: Your amazing projects have been featured in some of the most renowned design magazines such as Vogue, Elle Décor, and we would also like to talk about the calm residence in California that was featured last December in Rue Magazine. Besides the client request, and your unique signature style, did the location impact the design plan?
C: The project was a Malibu home with stunning ocean views and the desired aesthetic was tranquil minimal design. Our client, a world champion equestrian rider, wanted her home to be a Zen Beach Oasis where she could offset the rigour of competition with her crystals, meditation and yoga. The communal living areas, kitchen, yoga studio, master suite, seamless bathrooms and huge ocean deck, all shared a very calming theme and we created numerous pockets in each area to enjoy and relax.
J: Let’s take your beautiful mid-century residential project of a Bollywood Star in West Hollywood as another example. It had a mid-century yet functional touch, what do you love more about the final result?
C: This project was again a total transformation, completed sight unseen in time for the client’s arrival. The fridge was stocked, his towels and robes were pressed and everything was set to the client’s specification. All he had to do was move in and unpack his suitcase. I particularly loved the soothing backyard that helped finish a wonderful indoor / outdoor feel. It’s a great home and was recently purchased, fully furnished, by the celebrity singer
songwriter Camila Cabello.
On Why This Was The Most Challenging Project For The Designer
J: Claudia, your clients range from families to celebrities and high-end property developers. What was the most complex project you remember?
C: We transformed an entire 12,000 sqft project in 4 months whilst the client was away on a movie set. We completely renovated the residence in surprise of his big return.
On Why She Chose To Focus on Sustainable Design
J: Sustainability is one of the featured themes on your website. Do you believe design can be a tool to solve the world’s issues?
C: Absolutely! Especially here in the US we come across so much waste. My team and I are passionate addressing this issue and partner with local non-profit organizations, making sure less waste from our sites is minimised and properly handled. Whether its tiles, boxes, cabinetry, appliances, old furniture or drapery, we aim to give as much as we can a second life, in the hope of not sending it to landfill.
We are continually expanding the number of organizations we support. If you are reading this and you work for such organisations, please feel free to reach out to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
On Why She Decided To Create A Rug Collection
J: Furniture and Lighting are two of the most important steps in the design process. Do you believe that these two can actually make a space?
C: Yes absolutely! It all goes hand in hand. Having a home beautifully furnished is only half the magic. The right lighting is extremely important. It sets the mood, enhances the spaces, enriches the accents and cabinetry, shows off the beautiful art and realises the vision, bringing everything together.
J: Do you think about creating a furniture line in the next few years?
C: Actually we are currently working on collaborations of this nature, some of which I can’t mention at the moment. We recently created a 10 rug collection with Mehraban Rugs. It’s been over a year in the making and I’m excited that it’s now coming to life. The rugs have a lot of me in them and are full of textures, different pile heights and complimentary tones. On each project we do, we end up designing multiple bespoke pieces to perfectly fit the space.
I would love to collaborate with a large retail brand and create a beautiful yet affordable lighting collection and kids line of furniture and bedding, providing families more options than what’s out there currently.
On What is Next For Claudia
J: 2020 was a challenging year. Do you feel that design has changed in order to fulfil the new needs?
C: Among our clients, it’s made them appreciate their homes even more, and want to enjoy them and get the most out of them. I’ve personally always felt this way, so it’s nice to see people invest more in their homes and revel in quality space with their loved ones.
J: You have accomplished so much in your career, what are your next steps?
C: Currently we are working on some lovely projects, both locally in California and nationwide. We have a beautiful contemporary new build overlooking stunning lake views up in Idaho, gorgeous renovations in La Canyada and Beverly Hills and a stunning contemporary new build in Holmby Hills, to name a few. We are also collaborating with various companies in showroom design, retail and commercial design as well as
product development. The art of my design work is to interpret client’s requirements and make something that they truly love living in. This excites me and continually inspires both me and my team to develop new concepts and to transform the spaces we are given into unique and luxurious environments.