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Brigette Romanek, one of Los Angeles’s buzziest new design talents, is entirely self-taught. Yes, you read that correctly. Her first interior project began as a favor to a friend, and, after realizing her true passion lay in telling homes’ stories through carefully curated design, Romanek Design Studio was born. “I often think about when I leave a client’s home and I shut the door, I want them to turn around and be happy in their space,” she explains to Domino’s editor-in-chief, Jessica Romm Perez, on this week’s Design Time. “Your home should come from how you feel and the soul of a place. It should feel yours. You should feel happy there. And if I can help you do that, then I’ve done my job correctly.”

Tune in to this week’s episode on Spotify and Apple Podcasts to hear more about the designer’s favorite antiques shop (JF Chen), her go-to color combinations, and why your home should feel as personal as possible. Romanek shares advice every budding designer should keep in mind. Read on for a peek at her pro tips.

On Mixing Color Tones

“I think color can really dictate the mood of a room; it can create a really great statement. It just depends on what you’re trying to convey. Right now I’m feeling a lot of blues. A royal blue, a light blue, a powder blue, a navy, and then putting them all together. I think that’s really elegant.”

Courtesy of Brigette Romanek

Courtesy of Brigette Romanek

On Designing With Feeling

“Your personal space is a love letter to yourself. You can do what you want to do. So I ask myself, How do I want this to feel to me? How do I want to feel when I come in from my day? And so for me, that was all about feeling cozy. Livable luxe is what I call it. Whether that’s an item that’s $5 or $500, it just needs to translate into a feeling of being cozy, relaxed, and peaceful.”

On Recognizing a Home’s Potential

“We wanted to elevate our house in many ways, but it had so much soul as it was, and stripping that away would have been just terrible. People were coming in and saying, ‘Okay, well, you know, the plaster is a mess here and half of the molding is gone there. We can get someone to make it in plastic and you won’t know the difference.’ But I kept thinking, I will. I’ll know the difference. What I love about the house is how funky and crazy it is. It’s this magical beast. And what I want to do is make the beast feel better. I don’t want to kill the beast. It’s a beauty and the beast situation. So that’s what we did. We highlighted things that were insane and crazy, and we minimized things that could possibly be dangerous. We let it grow into its potential.” 

Courtesy of Brigette Romanek

Courtesy of Brigette Romanek

On How She Begins

“Starting with one piece is usually how it all comes together. So often what you see in my interiors are really strong pieces, and I’m just attracted to them for whatever the reason. My design brief is always putting all these different ingredients in a pot and then hopefully coming out with the best meal you’ve ever had.”

On Designing Kids’ Rooms

“I want to create a space for kids that’s interactive. Something that’s really fun and stimulating. I try to incorporate an element that allows them to engage. I want them to love their space and think of it as their own and be happy to share it with their friends.”

Courtesy of Brigette Romanek

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