Nov 11, 2021

5 Questions with Designer Ariel Okin

Ariel Okin sat down with us to talk about the process of designing her new family home - a layered space where her signature style is on full display. Eclectic furniture, custom elements, and a dreamy color palette come together in harmony with traditional details, like trimmed draperies from our selection of Samuel & Sons trims available through The Shade Store. The result? An inspiring home bursting with life. 

Photography By Donna Dotan


Samuel & Sons: Your new home is stunningly beautiful and expertly layered with color and texture. How did you approach designing a family home for yourself differently than you would for a client?

Ariel Okin: Thank you! Designing for myself was different in the sense that I let the details of the rooms evolve a bit more over time, versus designing a set plan for each room at once. For example, in the formal living room, I found the faux tortoise painted bar at auction even though I wasn't looking for a specific piece there, but I loved it so much I rearranged the room around it. Designing your own home is really liberating in the sense that there's no client to reject any ideas; it's also terrifying because it's entirely your choices!

S&S: You created a beautiful flow from room to room in your home. Do you have a favorite room? If so, what details take it over the edge for you? 

AO: Including passementerie in our designs is essential. Beautiful and classic trims as well as unique and unusual designs add a layer to the palette that shows attention to detail and adds a necessary level of luxury. They can transform a run of the mill hospitality project into a curated residential feeling experience. Samuel & Sons has thousands of options that are rich and traditional to clean and modern and everything in between.

Lancaster Lattice Braid in Sky Blue on Tailored Pleat Drapery by The Shade Store


S&S:  We love how you utilized our collection with The Shade Store throughout your home’s window treatments. What is your go-to way of using trim in your projects?

AO: We use trim in every single project, from windows (as a leading edge or trim on both sides) to pillows to trimming out furniture. Trim is the ultimate accent and can tie a color story together so perfectly. No room is complete without it, in my opinion!

S&S: Your signature style is traditional with a twist. What is your advice on blending modern design with more traditional elements like classic passementerie?

AO: I like to keep silhouettes clean lined to avoid spaces feeling too fussy or overly done; if you are starting with a well edited, clean palette, adding in smaller traditional details like passementerie shines as a quirky and unexpected addition…

Sakiori Border in Blush on Tailored Pleat Drapery by The Shade Store


S&S: And lastly, if you could only use one of our trims for the rest of your career, which one would it be? 

AO: That is the hardest question ever!!! That's like asking me to pick a favorite child. Probably the Rhodes Épinglé Velvet Border in's so classic yet crisp, and I love the pale blue (our signature!)

Sakiori Border in Porcelain on a Flat Roman Shade by The Shade Store


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