Designer Ana Claudia Schultz on how her Brazilian roots inform her style, the hidden gems where she sources decor, and why interior design is anything but frivolous.
Where are you from?
I am originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil. I moved to the United States at the age of seven to Westchester County but grew up and went to college in Miami, FL. I resided in Brooklyn for nine years before moving to Hudson Valley.
Where do you live now? Who do you live with?
Hyde Park, NY with my husband and two weirdo cats. We created a beautiful home that needed a lot of renovations and work. It helped me be a better designer by going through the same experiences my clients go through.
Describe your personal style?
Quirky, modern, and bold. My brutalist inclinations plus bold patterns and love of wood all come from my Brazilian upbringing.
What inspired you to become a designer?
I was inspired in my childhood by the idea of changing spaces and showcasing your personality; however, what made me continue with interior design is the fact that I am helping people, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to do what I do.
Where was the last place you vacationed?
The Amazon on my parent’s 50th anniversary. It was wonderful to be surrounded by nature, warm wood design elements, and colorful birds. (I love birds and can watch them all day and night.)
Tell us about your most memorable project?
I have so many. The most memorable time is after a project is complete, and I get to see my client again, either because they returned as a client or because a friendship was built. Then I get to see how they’ve grown in their current space, or children were born, love was blossomed, and sometimes they outgrow their current space and have me back for their new home. It feels wonderful to know that you are part of their lives.
What piece of advice would you give someone working with an interior designer for the first time?
This is a process. I will guide you to not only make good aesthetic decisions but also bring your personality to the surface, all while making sure the proportions and space planning works. With this in mind, it can’t be done on the first swoop and we have to work together to accomplish this.
Where’s your favorite hidden gem to source furnishings or decor?
I do love the opportunity to source vintage pieces whenever possible. I live in the Hudson Valley and there are so many vintage stores around me. I also have a connection to a great retail store in Greenpoint called Copper and Plaid and use websites such as Chairish and Etsy as well.
For custom furniture, I love Cladhome and Interior Define for sofas. I go to Stitchroom for custom upholstery, and recently I’ve been working with a local carpenter for custom cabinetry and tables. Tailoring your home so it reflects you and is not a copy of a showroom is a great benefit for using an interior designer.
What’s your favorite design-on-film moment?
The Graduate is one of my favorites. I have an affinity for movies and 60s interior design. Also, growing up, I used to watch Nick at Nite and looked beyond the characters to see their spaces.
Where do you go to get inspired?
Walking through New York City, travelling to Brazil for the architecture and patterns—but also for the nature—going to vintage stores upstate, and scouring bookstores until I find a book or magazine I want to buy (wherever they are).
What is the most rewarding part about being a designer?
Helping people. It sounds cliché, but it’s true. I almost didn’t work in interior design because I was brought up to believe it was frivolous, but when I realized in my first project that I was helping a couple create a home instead of just a place you called home, it made me want to continue. In trying times, or even good times, having things you love and a home you look forward to coming home to is important to your psychological well-being and—here I am being cliché again—it makes you happy.
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