Designer Spotlight: The Artful Designs of Annie Mandelkern Interiors
This month, we sat down with Annie Mandelkern of Annie Mandelkern Interiors for an intriguing conversation to learn how her love for fine art and interest in math and repetitive patterns are the cornerstones for her beautiful interior designs. Get ready for an engaging story and discover how Annie’s approach to design—which is to see each project as a puzzle—has inspired some of her most beautiful and conceptualized projects.
One-on-One with Annie Mandelkern
Q: Your portfolio of interior designs is gorgeous! How did you get started in the interior design industry?
A: I’ve been an artist for my entire life. Growing up in Manhattan, my mom was always taking my sister and me to museums. I took an art class at the Met when I was very young. Of course, I loved the art, but I also loved the patterns and repetitive details in the architecture of the museum itself. I went to LaGuardia High School with a major in fine art, and then to Syracuse University, where I majored in Surface Pattern Design. That major combined my love of fine art and my interest in repetitive patterns and math. Of course, right around the time I graduated in 2004, all of the detailed hand drafting and painting was starting to transition to CAD, which I had zero interest in doing! I ended up taking a job in customer service at Donghia. From there, I worked in sales at the Robert Allen/Beacon Hill showroom in the D&D Building. That led to a position as a fabric shopper with Kenneth Alpert, and from there, I became the senior designer for Rod Winterrowd. I started my own business over 13 years ago when I was pregnant with my first daughter.
Q: What do you love most about being an interior designer?
A: There are so many things. I see each project like a puzzle that I have to put together, starting with getting a good read on my client. Once I have a good understanding of their style and practical needs, the wheels start turning and the creative part unfolds. The best part is seeing how all of the pieces come together in the end.
Q: When is it good to do an accent wall?
A: This is a hard one. An accent wall is something that can’t be forced. Sometimes you fall in love with a crazy tile that can really only be used as an accent wall, and the decision is made for you. Sometimes the layout of a space dictates it. It’s really a case-by-case basis.
Q: Do you have a signature touch that you use in every project?
A: Nothing obvious. I believe in repetition, as mentioned above. I like to subtly take a design element—be it a shape, a color, or a material—and repeat it in different areas throughout a room and/or an overall home. It’s kind of like I’m working on a canvas, and I need to balance the overall composition.
Q: Are there any tricks for blending old and new trends?
A: I encourage my clients to first be true to themselves and what they like. I find that everyone really does have a strong aesthetic, even when they don’t realize it themselves. I see it as my job to take my client’s true style (sometimes it takes some therapy to unearth it) and blend it with some current elements. I think that the more permanent design elements should be timeless—large furniture items, carpets, etc.—but that we can have fun and be a little trendy with accessories and smaller items that can be more transient.
Q: Bold colors and minimalist designs seem to be very popular this year. What are some colors and designs that you are loving for 2022?
A: I’m still feeling that neutrals (black being a neutral) will be grounding my designs, but I feel like jewel tones will resurface a bit. I’m currently working on a sexy bar room that is black and metallic, with a Bordeaux accent. Another dark, neutral bar room will be getting a forest green velvet sofa. Stay tuned!
We hope you enjoyed our conversation with Annie Mandelkern. Whether it inspired you to use repetitive design elements in your home or add the soothing aesthetic of neutrals to your décor, we are here to help you design the room of your dreams.
We invite you to visit our Country Carpet showroom to explore the many design options that are available. You can schedule an appointment. Or, walk-ins are always welcome. We look forward to seeing you!