Hard-working interior designer Ariana Smetana uses her international experience to bring eclectic, luxurious and free-flowing spaces to clients in the Houston area.
Tell us a little bit about how you got started in interior design. Who was the first designer you emulated?
I always had a great appreciation for design & architecture, and through living in Europe and being passionate about traveling around the Globe, I was immersed in and inspired by the beauty and cultures of the countries I visited. Also, I can recall that from a young age, I was collecting vintage home décor items from markets and odd places, and bringing them home to my mom’s dismay.
After a successful corporate career of over 15 year in Europe & the USA, I finally embarked on my new career as a lifestyle designer and tastemaker in 2008. At the same time, I decided that if I wanted to fully understand the experience of a major construction and custom design process, I needed to experience it firsthand, and I designed & built my own custom home. Concurrently, I returned to the classroom, attended the Interior Design program, and polished my design skills at an established design firm. As I built my client base, I established my own boutique design firm: artVIA l lifestyle design crossroads.
In my work, I strive to have my own design “point of view’ and do not emulate any specific designer. I do admire and appreciate the work of many American and International designers, such as: Bunny Williams, Vincent Wolf, Mary McDonald, and Kelly Wearstler to Stark, Karim Rashid, and Jean-Michel Frank.
My design style is very eclectic yet sophisticated and distinctive, but when working with my clients I’m driven by their lifestyle needs and style aspirations that they want to achieve for their home.
Texas is consumed with the idea of being the biggest. How do you try to incorporate the Texas lifestyle into your designs? How do you try and limit it?
Sure, one can say that Texas loves the idea of big homes, grand spaces, and large furniture but at the same time it is such an international city that variety of design styles and architecture can be found, and I love working with all of them.
Describe some of your most challenging spaces? Would a unique layout always benefit the designer by expanding their ability to be creative? Or could it limit your options?
In my mind, challenge is always good and it does expand my ability to come up with innovative ways to solve it. Almost any space will have some degree of challenge for a designer to make a space fit the lifestyle and functional needs of a specific family.
For example; the ultra-tall ceilings and walls of windows are very grand and impressive feature in a space but they can present a challenge in finding the right wall covering for privacy options customer may need.
Open floor plans are more popular than ever and many clients are consumed with the idea of flow. How are your designs patterned to help the occupant feel that the space is stress-free?
Open floor plans are definitely very popular in Houston, as people enjoy entertaining frequently in small or large groups, thus giving them the ability to easily move between spaces. Also inter-connectives of spaces give families ability to collaborate, and keep connected even when sitting or working in different areas, and each area now can be used in multifunctional ways, where kids do homework while mom or dad cooks.
Area rugs, our specialty, are versatile. Texas homes and businesses have open spaces with traditional hardwood floors. Explain how you tend to incorporate the rugs into your design.
I love using rugs, and strive to find unique rug choices for my clients that can be used in many ways such as: being an art piece for the floor, for defining and dividing the large open rooms into functional areas, or to soften the look against the hard surfaces.
Do you have a type of area rug that you lean on most? Or is it a case-by-case basis?
I work with a variety of rugs vendors, and recommend different types of rugs on a case-by-case basis. artVIA even represents in Texas a very unique line of custom rugs that uses materials like alpaca fur, and llama along with wool and silk to create amazing choices of affordable luxury rugs.
Are there price limits when it comes to rugs?
It really depends on the customer’s budget, and their love and understanding of what a rug brings to the overall design. I work with verity of rug styles and price ranges from traditional Persian rugs, modern and contemporary rugs, sisals to outdoor machine-made rugs. I guide my clients to incorporate each of them based on their specific application, functionality and design style for the space.
Do you have any final words of design advice?
My advice to clients is to find a designer who they can trust to build a great relationship with, and who will turn the house into a home that expresses their soul.
My belief is that your home should reflect your unique taste, needs, and tell your life story. My goal is to create that unique design vision with you and give you a roadmap which will enrich your life and amplify your style.
Where can readers see your work, or make an appointment for consultation?
The readers can see my design work/portfolio and make an appointment at www.art-via.com. You can also read about my recent project for a client who was featured in the December issue of Houston Magazine; http://digital.modernluxury.com/publication/?i=135962&p=90