Designer Spotlight - Claire Cavalieri
As the daughter of a Modernist architect, Claire grew up in Detroit immersed in modernist design both in her family’s mid-century modern home as well as in the center of the blossoming Modernist culture of Detroit in the 1960s-1970s. You can say Mid-Century Modernism and Clair grew up together. Following in her father’s footsteps, Claire didn’t have to search her soul far to discover her true purpose and passion. With so much passion behind what she does, it’s no wonder she has so much recognition in both web and in the press.
You mentioned that your love for design began when you were just 11 years young. What was it about design that you still love today that you loved at age 11?
When I was introduced to Modernism (although I didn’t know it was called Modernism at that time) at
age 11, I loved several things about the aesthetic. (I’m referring here to the way my bedroom was
- The warm feeling that radiated from the textural fabrics, walnut wood, and warm color palette (brown, orange, fuschia).
- The clean lines of the furniture (I had a Herman Miller CSS wall unit that was customized for my room and my needs) that enabled me to organize and display my art and books on the large shelves in my own stylized, minimalist way.
- One-of-a-Kind Art/Design – I had these gorgeous handloomed wool bedspreads custom-made for my twin beds. These bedspreads were handmade from scratch by a wool artisan who first spun the wool, then dyed the yarns in 3 different colors to match the color palette the designer chose (to match the area rug in my room), then handloomed 2 twin bed-sized bedspreads and 6 throw pillows. Our interior designer took me to the artisan’s studio to watch the bedspreads being made! It was an awesome experience! They were a work of art! I learned that one-of-a-kind art/design elevates the space and brings great enjoyment to owners.
- The sense of sophistication the overall modern design exuded. Even though I was only 11, I understood that a cohesive design, a well-thought-out design with complete detail will provide elegance if done right. I got the feeling at age 11 that an understated look is sophisticated, so I started developing my style from that point on.
When starting a project, what focal point do you use to kickstart your process?
Often I’ll use an area rug as my inspiration piece, if there isn’t already a focal point in the room. An area rug offers a style and a color palette from which to begin.
What is your design philosophy or mantra?
I have two of them
“Less is more” – Mies van der Rohe
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” – Leonardo da Vinci
You mentioned you have a deep love for flowers! Tell us if there was your favorite style, what flower would complement this style?
Since my style is modern, I like a simple, symmetrical flower. The Gerbera daisy complements modern style well. I love that is comes in so many bold colors as well as white. It stands tall and has a strong presence.
Would you change anything about the industry? If so, what?
I wish there were an organized Mentor-Mentee program established for new designers and decorators to gain on-the-job experience when they are first starting out after graduating or when they are just starting a new business. Perhaps a program set up through IDS…
Tell us about what your favorite space is to design and why? What makes this so special to you?
I enjoy designing a living room. Perhaps because it usually has a fireplace and I love fireplaces as a design element. There is so much that can be done creatively! Then there are often picture windows that offer window covering options. I love to create seating areas and figure out the space plan and flow. There are so many furniture options – it’s endless! Often, there is a wall that can act as a space for a built-in bookcase which is such a great design element. Yes, the living room is the best space for my creativity!
You’re stuck on an island… What 3 things (aside from water, food, and shelter) would you bring or absolutely need with you?
- Some clothes
What advice would you give someone who wants to hire a designer like you?
Let’s set up a complimentary 30-minute phone or Zoom conversation to chat about your project and how I can help you. I’ll email you a link so you can choose a convenient time to schedule our meeting. I’ll also email you some online questions to fill out before our chat so I’ll be prepared.
Aside from designing, what is your favorite thing to do?
I love architectural photography, particularly photographing missions, monasteries, and churches/cathedrals.
What’s next for you?
2021 will be a year of building my new interior design business. It will be all about marketing, marketing, marketing, day in and day out.