Designer Profile: Donna Maselli Designs
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Today’s Designer Proflie features Donna Maselli of Donna Maselli Designs. This sweet Southern designer creates elegant, polished yet comfortable designs that seamlessly incorporate and highlight the client’s most prized possessions. In her view, a home is an organic, living thing. For Maselli, a home should always reflect its inhabitants but should not be overly “decorated” [...]
Today’s Designer Proflie features Donna Maselli of Donna Maselli Designs. This sweet Southern designer creates elegant, polished yet comfortable designs that seamlessly incorporate and highlight the client’s most prized possessions. In her view, a home is an organic, living thing. For Maselli, a home should always reflect its inhabitants but should not be overly “decorated” or stuffed with too many sentimental objects.
We interviewed Maselli about her design for the Bellaire Drive home in New Orleans, Louisiana, which was tragically destroyed in Hurricane Katrina, as well as the designer’s overarching design aesthetic. Read on for details.
InsideSeen: How did you get into interior design?
Donna Maselli: All during law school, I helped decorate friends’ apartments and continued to their houses after I began practicing law. My first day at my firm in Dallas, my supervising lawyer asked me to go to her house to see her new chairs and tell her if they looked right. I should have quit practicing right then and gone into interior design. Instead, I stuck it out for another eighteen years.
IS: What is your philosophy as a designer?
DM: I like to call my style Southern minimalist. I love to use antiques, but I like to use them in a spare setting with modern pieces and modern art. I like drippy chandeliers, but only if the rest of the furniture is simple. In other words, it’s all about contrast and juxtaposition. That’s the only thing that keeps your eye happy.
IS: What is your most important tool as a designer?
DM: Good pieces. Truly, you can cut corners a lot of places, but if you don’t use good antiques to anchor things, it looks like a showroom floor to me. Oh, and very good Belgian linen.
IS: How would you define your design style? How does this space demonstrate that?
DM: Unsentimental. I always tell people to keep family pieces only if you like them. Your grandmother might not have liked that china cabinet either. Why keep it around? Keep the photos, the old letters, the silver. Dump the ugly brown furniture if that’s all it is.
IS: What was your concept for this design and why is it important to you?
DM: I collaborated with a partner for this house….the idea was to buy a house and furnish it all the way down to the sheets and towels, which we did. Unfortunately, Katrina had a different idea about things. Two weeks after we painstakingly completed the house, yes, down to the linens, it took on seven feet of water and was completely ruined. I’m just able to really talk about it. Oh, and no flood insurance.
IS: What is your favorite element or piece in this home?
DM: This was a fun house because it was a pretty simple suburban house but on a nice leafy street. We decided to make it more sophisticated and stucco it. It ended up having a very European flair. It was really transformative.
IS: Do you have any upcoming or recent projects you are really excited about?
DM: I’m about to start a project for some friends who live just off of St. Charles Avenue [in New Orleans]. It’s going to be a challenge because of the layout, but they are very excited, and that’s a great way to start.
For more information about Donna Maselli, go to her website.