Sallie and her girls soaking in culture in London
Sallie Giordano lives in New York City, and as a busy mom and decorator, she shuttles between the D and D Building and school pick ups. She collaborates with her mother Leta Austin Foster on projects in Palm Beach and the city. After studying at the New York School of Interior Design, she continued working at LAF. There is something really special about mothers and daughters that work together, from the shorthand communicating to knowing what the other one will like without even having to show them.
A Swedish- inflected Dining Room with a pair of birds on gilded brackets and a Chinoiserie chest on an elaborate base.
A neutral Living Room with comfortable upholstery and clean window treatments to better appreciate the view and let the light in.
Living Room built-in's house a large book collection and pretty objects.
A sharp Library with walls upholstered in Michael Devine fabric, matching upholstered slipper chairs and red millwork detailing.
A Library with a recessed display area for a Chinese Horse Lamp adds a creative focal point.
A Master Bedroom with beautiful panelling in a pale blue and cream palette.
Photos Courtesy of Sallie Giordano
A charming Bedroom with twin canopy beds and pale pink and white prints. An ever present comfortable reading chair is the finishing touch she adds to her bedrooms.
Who did you work for/study to learn the trade?
New York School of Interior Design as well as my mother of course!
What is your signature look? How would you define it?
What is it like working as a mother/daughters team and how do your
tastes influence one another?
It is almost like working with a mirror image of each other. We bounce ideas off of each other endlessly, and we rein each other when our ideas go over the top. My mother adds the perspective of several decades longer in the business and an impeccable sense of what works and what is appropriate and I add the perspective of what is fashionable now. For example, my mother hates anything that has to do with the sixties and seventies because, as she puts it, who would want to live through that ugliness again. But I counter that the elements that have come back into vogue add a dose of retro glamour; just one can jazz up a room instantly.
Who gets the veto power on joint projects?
We both do; it depends who is more passionate about the particular issue we disagree on.
When did you know this was your calling in life?
I did design my own bedroom with a Clarence House documentary fabric when I was 10. I remember my mother said it was the most expensive fabric in the house at the time, and it is the only one that hasn't been changed. It still looks amazing! And I still adore documentaries.
After I had been decorating for about 5 years, I realized it was my calling. At first, it just seemed the logical thing to do. I had been working as a free-lance writer, which can be a pretty lonely job, and my mother and sister seemed to have so much fun together. At first, I wasn't sure if I could creatively produce in a visual manner since all my experience had been aural, so to speak. But the longer you do something, the more it comes naturally, and now I feel like I was meant to be a designer. Of course, my writing skills have suffered miserably.
What other designer and or architect do you most admire (living or not)and why ?
Jed Johnson. Because he constantly evolved and was constantly trying new ideas, even if those ideas were taken straight out of the history books.
What is your favorite go to fabric house/collection or singular fabric?
Lee Jofa and John Rosselli because they have the most wide-ranging collections of fabrics.
What material do you love?
What is your favorite antique you own and reproduction collection you constantly use as a resource?
The pair of antique mirrors in my living room. Even though they are from the early 19th century, the mosaic mirrored frame has a wonderful kind of 1940s glamour, although even more interesting for being authentic.
What is your favorite project and why?
A pre-war duplex apartment that had only had one owner so all the old detailing was pristine and untouched, though buried under about 20 layers of crusty paint. We were able to update the space for contemporary living while keeping all the classic, almost unreproducible details, like the original plasterwork and the old windows, which cost just as much to completely dismantle and renovate but which were gorgeous with their tiny mullions and warped glass, elegantly dressed up in new paint.
What trade or retail store inspires you most?
Mecox Gardens which does an amazing job expanding its franchise while still keeping its sense of the inspired and unusual finds.
What is your favorite new and old interior book?
Still love the classic Colefax and Fowler book profiling John Fowler who was such a visionary and I adore the new book on David Hicks, by his son, Ashley.
What country house in England and America do you most love?
The Hunting Lodge, John Fowler's country house in Odiham, England
Are there charities you all support and work with that are design related?
I am an active supporter of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the International Refugee Committee. Though they are not design-related, they are amazing organizations that constantly remind me how lucky I am.
If you were not doing this what would you do?
Teaching and writing.
What city besides NYC/LA/PB do you visit to inspire you?
Paris, of course!