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Boston Magazine’s 2012 Design Home: Interview with Vani Sayeed

Posted by Cecilia Walker on

photo by Monty Abbott Photography

Last month, I went to tour Boston Magazine’s 2012 Design Home in Norwell.  The day of my visit was the ribbon cutting ceremony, so I was excited to meet the lead interior designer, Vani Sayeed.  Unfortunately, I missed seeing her, however, recently got the chance to ask Vani a few questions.

photo by Peggy Stander

CECILIA:  You are a multi-talented artist and designer — a painter, jewelry designer and interior designer.  What came first, the artist or the designer?
VANI:  It all starts with an idea, a thought, an expression……I am a visual person in sync with my natural surroundings!

C:  I, like you, have a creative mother.  Mine, an interior designer and artist, who sewed and made our clothing as children.  How did your mother inspire you?
V:  My mother studied art and has a gorgeous sense of aesthetic but what strikes me most about her is that she approaches life with this sense of inner beauty that is very fresh and inspiring.

by Hubcam Photography

C:  You were the lead designer of the 6th Annual Boston Design Home project which took over a year to complete.  What is the role of the lead designer?  Were other designers involved?
V:  As design coordinator and lead designer for the Boston Magazine Design Home 2012 my job was to create a cohesive style and vision for the home. I had to ensure the sponsors/vendors on board the project understood the over all style and color scheme, I worked closely with the builder Eugene Mattie, architect Gene Raymond and each vendor & their design team to pick product and furnishings that worked with my “Design Philosophy” for the house.

C:  Having recently worked on my first Show House, I had only one space to decorate out of 36 rooms, which we completed in under 8 weeks. How would you describe the process of conceptualizing an entire house plan?  I believe that I was the only designer that had to work with another designer’s space to develop a cohesive scheme, otherwise 35 designers worked independently of each other, not seeing the other design schemes, until the final stages of completion.  Some would think a clean slate would be a designer’s dream, yet, you and I both know there are always other obstacles that change the course of design throughout the duration of the project, budget included.  Were there any major challenging architectural or design issues?
V:  For Design Home 2012, my vision was to fuse a New England vernacular of understated, stylish beauty with a touch of exotic glamour. By incorporating the latest technology, elements of sustainable design, artisanal fabrics, textures, finishes and an interesting color palette into the home. I aspire to impress both traditionalist and modernist alike; celebrate simplicity and space with some spice. The exterior of the home is a classic New England greek revival architecture and as you saw all the other homes in the sub-division are classic New England architecture as well, and painted in 2 -tone colors, but for DH2012 to stand out from the others I spec’ed the exterior color to be all white with a “Red Door” a universal symbol of Peace, Prosperity & Good Luck! fitting perfectly with charity partner The Ronald McDonald House of Charities.  There are always issues in any project and this project was no different, but the glue that kept this project surging forward was dedication and commitment by every one on board the project.

photo by Hubcam Photography


photo by Monty Abbott Photography

C: Was this your first show house, and would you be likely to take on another show house project in the future?
V: Yes this was my first show house and of course I would love to work on another show house project!


photo by Hubcam Photography

photo by Hubcam Photography

C: Do you have favorite paint colors, materials, or pieces of furniture that you continuously use in your designs? and why?
V: No it all depends on the each individual project….no formula 44 solutions here!!!

C: What is the best advice you can give a 25-year-old who has just moved into their first apartment?  a first-time homeowner? and an empty nester?
V:  I am answering this question only in part because it will take me while to answer all three and my advice would be similar to each.
Best Advice for a first time owner – it’s the perfect opportunity to start fresh. Ebay, garage sale, donate to charity any questionable furniture and accessories that you have, you will be surprised by what you will NOT miss! Live in your new home for at least 2/3 months before you decide to buy any big-ticket items. Dont get every thing matchy from one store you will get bored very soon, think about purchasing investment pieces that you will enjoy for a while and suit your personality. Finally unite your space by using color smartly in art and accessories.

C: Is there a specific style or aesthetic that you tend to shy away from?
V: I try not to do typical period

C: If you weren’t an artist and designer, what do you think you’d be doing as a profession?
V: A venture capitalist, invest in new and innovative ideas!

C: Name one thing on your bucket list.
V: Swim with my daughters with the dolphins

C: Favorite place to vacation?
V: By the sea…

C: What is the last thing you purchased for your own home?
V: Custom tailored roman shades for my kitchen!

Thanks Vani!  The screened-in porch is one of my favorite rooms, and I pointed out other details that I loved, here.

The 6th Annual Boston Magazine 2012 Design Home is open for 10 more days, through November 18th.  100% of the ticket sales benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Eastern New England.  For more info, go here.  If you don’t live in the greater Boston area, check out more photos of the home, here.

photos by Monty Abbott Photography and Hubcam Photographyand otherwise courtesy of Vani Sayeed Studios

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