Drawing inspiration from her extensive travels to South America, Northern Africa, Europe and Asia, as well as stints in several countries throughout the world, designer Sandra Espinet brings together rare, unique pieces to infuse every space with a unique flavor. An accomplished interior designer and allied member of the American Society of Interior Designers, Espinet received her Associate of Arts Degree in Interior Design from the New England School of Design in Boston. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interior Design from the American College of Art in Atlanta and a Masters Degree in Production Design from the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. Espinet can also add "TV star" and "author" to her impressive resume, having appeared in many HGTV television design shows and penning 2013's The Well Traveled Home. Learn more about the multitalented designer in our Q&A below.
1. Who is your biggest role model?
My biggest professional role models have all been clients. I adore listening to and learning from people who have become hugely successful and gone from zero to the moon. The American dream is everyones fantasy. I feel lucky to have the clients that have such influence in the world and to be able to able to learn from them.
As far as fashion role model? JLo. That girl sure knows how to dress sexy.
2. Which movie or play do you wish you could have designed the set for?
Funny enough I studied film at AFI in Los Angeles and I worked as a production designer for many years. I gravitate to the big production period pieces like Titanic or the traditional fantasy shows like Game of Thrones. I like the perfection and the detail involved in re creating and inventing the dramatic. I was bored when I was given modern day film jobs.
3. What is the best way to gauge a client’s personality before starting a project?
To simply listen. People pretty much tell you everything if you ask the right. If a man says he likes football, listen to him. You cant change that. He will never like ballet, He likes football. If a client says they like red…listen up. They like red and you will never make them love yellow.
4. What new design elements are you excited to integrate into your work?
There isn’t one specific item I can say I am adding into my work because each job is unique and calls for different colors, materials and artwork. I find I am constantly changing and constantly adding new elements or colors based on what clients ask for.
5. How do you completely unwind?
I recently started flying helicopters and I'm in the process of getting my solo license. Its my new “all about me” time. Love it. The world is so calm from above.
6. If you hadn't become a designer, which career would you have pursued?
I started my career and studies in college as an artist. I love art and I would be happy painting and creating all day.
7. What’s the worst pre-designer job you’ve ever had and why?
When I was in college I did an internship at a now defunct fabric house called “Decorators Walk." I worked in the memo sample room. It was soooo boring and I just hated having to fold and put all of the memo fabrics back. However now looking back, those 6 months taught me so much about fabric quality and weaves that I highly recommend and student designers to do an internship at a showroom.
8. What’s your favorite recipe?
I make fabulous reservations…
9. Create your perfect playlist for us.
10. Who is your designer crush?
I saw architect Bjarke Ingels’ TED talk and hes on my radar. Such a creative mind--I'm obsessed.
11. Would you rather shop new or vintage?
I'm good with both. My prerequisite is that what I'm shopping for be fabulous.
12. First celebrity crush?
First and only…I'm true to Brad Pitt.
13. What’s your hidden talent?
There’s nothng I can’t do… but I will not base jump.
14. Best restaurant in your area? Where is it?
Acres in Cabo and Sushi Park in LA
15. SF or LA?
LA all sunny day long.