Lizzie, Sallie and India, relaxing in the summertime
Three sisters, in three cities, designing in three distinctive styles. Leta Austin Foster raised her girls with an eye towards classic design and with an appreciation for the world around them. She started her full service design firm in Palm beach and New York City, and stays busy with her well- stocked shop of monogrammed goodies and beautiful china in Palm Beach at 64 Via Mizner. Raised in Palm Beach and New York, these designing women spend their time between those places as well as in Maine and LA. Phew! Lizzie is based in LA, Sallie here in NY, and India is in Florida. Their styles converge and diverge based on the style they grew up with, yet each follow their own path.
Starting off with Florida- based India Foster, we chat about her design favorites and growing up with style. As her mother taught her, it is all in the details when it comes to creating a beautiful a room.
A light-filled living room in blue and cream has plenty of comfy upholstered chairs and a Florida feel.
Blue and white tiles complement the Spanish architecture.
For a home on the water, the view is the star. A Living Room with tray ceiling brings additional height to the room with an easy to live in neutral palette.
A sitting room mixing light and dark woods.
A calm sanctuary with Swedish furniture from Chelsea Textiles with blue, gray and white for a color palette.
An Alan Campbell Zig Zag paper in chocolate works well in a crisp all white bathroom.
A chocolate chinoiserie toile grounds the space in a rich color.
Photos Courtesy of India Foster
India Foster's house
Who did you work for/study to learn the trade?
I began my design studies at UC Berkeley and simultaneously started my design career working with Michael Tedrick at the firm, Tedrick & Bennett. After a few years working in California, I returned to Palm Beach to take a design position with my mother’s renowned interior design business, Leta Austin Foster & Associates, at its Palm Beach headquarters.
What is your signature look and how would you define it?
My personal style includes using organic, green resources to create a space in which the client feels comfortable and at home. I love traditional interiors and classic shapes but I like to keep the space uncluttered and add modern touches with vibrant fabrics and new materials.
What is it like working as a mother/daughter team and how do your
tastes influence one another? Who gets the veto power on joint projects?
Strangely enough, I have never worked with any of my sisters; we do go antiquing together and give each other advice on sources, styles etc. Nonetheless, as the youngest, I have certainly been extremely influenced by my sisters and my mother. Leta always gets the veto on my projects, but I don’t back down easily.
When did you know this was your calling in life?
I can’t remember any singular moment. I was always immersed in the history, techniques and designs of the decorative arts, but it took me a very long time to actually realize it was calling for me.
What other designer and or architect do you most admire (living or not) and why ?
John Stefanidis is one of my favorite designers. His projects are so balanced and serene. I most admire his ability to highlight so many forms of beautiful architecture – Japanese, French, American, Carribean, Greek and English, avant-garde and traditional – with a well- balanced interior scheme that fits perfectly to the building and the landscape.
What is your favorite go to fabric house/collection or singular fabric?
Raoul Textiles for fabrics and Niba for rugs: They have an array of hand made fabrics and rugs that are incredibly versatile for both modern and old-fashioned design schemes.
What material do you love?
Hemp and bamboo!
What is your favorite antique you own and reproduction collection you constantly use as a resource?
A beautiful T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings cocktail table I just bought at Objects in the Loft. I love Therien Studio in San Francisco for gorgeous reproductions.
What is your favorite project and why?
Well, I just bought my first house: built in the Spanish style, circa 1924. I just finished designing it on a small budget and it looks so beautiful! I couldn’t be happier.
What trade or retail store inspires you most?
Moss, John Derian, and Merci in Paris.
What is your favorite new and old interior book?
New: Mlinaric on Decorating
Old: Jean-Michel Frank: The Strange and Subtle Luxury of the Parisian Haute-Monde in the Art Deco Period
What country house in England and America do you most love?
Knole House in Kent, England is, to me, by far the most inspirational English country house, and, of course, I love its illustrious inhabitant Vita Sackville West.
Are there charities you all support and work with that are design related?
Of course…Actually, at my most recent design related charity, Designers for Dogs, which sponsored the Miami-Dade Humane Society, I was quite surprised to find they were actually volunteers touting puppies for adoption around. A little brindle mutt caught my eye and now my little Bansky is sleeping by me in my office.
If you were not doing this what would you do?
I have always kept the Peace Corps on a back burner, as it’s a dream of mine to participate in such a great American institution.
What city besides NYC/LA/PB do you visit to inspire you?
I really did leave my heart in San Francisco, so that’s my number one destination in the States.