One-on-one with owner of Artful Conceptions, Sara Chiarilli
Talk a bit about your company, Artful Conceptions.
SC: Artful Conceptions is a full-service interior design firm. It was started in 2009 and has become one of the leading firms in the Tampa Bay area. We specialize in residential design and work directly with our clients and their style to create designs so that they can “love the space they're in.”
How did you first develop an interest in design?
SC: My interest in design started from a young age. My grandmother taught me to do prospective drawings at age four and I was always found moving furniture around in my room as a child. I began working in the field after graduating from the University of South Florida. I started working for a large custom furniture company and worked for them in three different locations, two in Florida one in Colorado. The more I worked in the field the more I continued my education in architecture.
What were some of your first design experiences as a professional or as a student?
SC: My first experiences in design started with space planning and working solely with furnishings and window treatments. I soon realized that I wanted to be doing more and wanted to focus more on full design plans, including remodels and new construction.
How often does your company use stone in its designs?
SC: Stone has become an essential part of our designs in remodels and new construction. I love stone counters, accent walls and backsplashes. There is nothing better than having a great stone and letting it shine through the design. The movement that is created by highlighting the natural qualities of stone add a richness and depth to a design.
How would you describe your company’s design philosophy?
SC: Our design philosophy is to center a design around our client and their lifestyles. We want our clients to come home and feel as though they are receiving a hug from their space. The design should evolve from the client and balance design, function and flow into a living work of art.
What’s a project that you have done with stone and/or tile that you’re proud of, talk about it a bit.
SC: Since I use a lot of stone, there are many great designs, but probably one of my favorites was the master bath that the blue marble had to be craned into the house. Because the stone was so beautiful and because I hate to cut up the stone and make it feel choppy, we try to keep the slabs as whole as possible. In this bathroom, we had almost an entire slab craned into the second story of the home from the front of the house over it onto the upstairs balcony to be carried into the house whole. The tub hole was cut onsite so that the entire tub surround was one solid piece. It made the space perfect, although harder for everyone to do it was the right answer for the job.
How do you go about choosing stone for a project?
SC: I choose stone based on the feeling and quality of the stone. I look for unique movement and usually shy away from the traditional and uniform. Stone has such beauty that I look to highlight that with each selection.
What advice would you offer to a young architect?
SC: Get to know your clients. The design needs to be about them; leave your ego at the door.
Anything else you would like to mention?
SC: Stay true to the materials that you use, balance design with function and always give a nod to the natural environment.