LUX Autumn 2018

50 1808LU04 Known as a ‘design influencer’, Ruthie Staalsen is an interior designer with an established history in the industry. Her firm, Ruthie Staalsen Interiors has become a stalwart on the Texan design landscape, utilising Ruthie’s expertise to mentor the next generation of designers in the region. In early July, Ruthie Staalsen Interiors were named among the winners of LUXlife ’s 2018 Leading Designers Awards programme, as the Leading Expert in Full-Service Design in the state of Texas. Following this achievement, we spoke with Ruthie to see how she approaches her inspiring, trend-setting work. Ruthie Staalsen is known for her eclectic, yet relaxed, style, embracing the idea that the final design space needs to be practical and functional. It’s an approach that has slowly been adopted by other designers, though few are able to succeed in quite the same way as Ruthie. Her years of experience have offered her the opportunity to hone her talents to a razor’s edge, differentiating her from an industry that is only getting ever-more competitive. Thinking outside of the box, innovating and inspiring others in turn, is the key to ensure enduring success. Ruthie agrees that her success is a result of this experience and practice – especially when working predominantly with couples, “It has taken me years of practice, but I feel like I’ve become very good at working alongside couples that struggle to find agreement when it comes to their home. Listening to their every request and being a mediator is one of my gifts and is why a lot of clients hire me.” Equally, when it comes to new clients, Ruthie insists that everyone is on the same page, “I insist that we do a design plan. Even if the client says “oh, I totally trust you” that is not enough for me. I need to know that we are all on the same page before we start purchasing items. I sit with the client and review their individual idea books to make sure I understand both the husband and wife design styles before we move forward.” Working with couples presents particular difficulty, as they might have very different ideas on the final product. Ruthie has excelled at finding compromises and, more importantly, finding a solution that all parties can be passionate about. Ruthie’s novel approach to design is a reflection of her life experiences, as much as on her occupational experiences, “I was born and raised in Africa and have lived all over the world. This has given me a different perspective with different cultures as well as unique design. I think outside the box and can create on the spot. I have a contagious personality and am known for having fun while I work. I’m approachable and I’m not afraid to give my opinion when asked. I’m often told that the confidence I have in my selections makes my clients trust me completely.” “I feel very empowered. Being an Interior Designer sounds very glamorous, but it is such hard work. We wear many hats; marriage counselor, business coach, accountant, motivator, social media expert. Winning an award makes it all feel worth it.” Ruthie delights in a style that feels organic; every piece in the room has a story for why it is there. She creates a natural narrative, that belies the often-meticulous approach behind it. Ruthie’s designs are living collections, evoking a homely vibe that permeates the entire house. Comfort is held in high regard. Moreover, Ruthie’s style is distinctly neveau-classical, taking the sophistication of the traditional, and revitalising it. In Ruthie’s words, she practices in ‘casual elegance’; It’s a style that appears timeless, transcending current trends and fashions. Nonetheless, Ruthie is keen to keep up-to- date with the industry, continuously adapting to maintain her success, “I am in front of the best designers in the industry every month. I’m a part of the local Interior Design Society chapter and travel to local conferences. I make sure that I always have others that can mentor me. I believe that mentorship An Influencer for the Modern Age of Design