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Claire Staszak: Centered By Design

Claire Staszak believes that a person’s home should be their sanctuary. Informed by a decade spent teaching yoga, her unique approach marries wellness principles with full-service interior design. “People think the only place they can feel centered is in the yoga studio or on a mountain top,” says the Chicago-based designer. “I want them to know that they can have that feeling of sanctuary at home. The message I want to deliver is that it’s achievable.”  

Design: Claire Staszak, Centered by Design. Photo: Dustin Halleck.

Despite frequent use of bold, saturated color, there is a signature airiness to Staszak’s work that makes one want to stop and stay awhile. Though she often begins with a blank slate, in the case of the bright, cheerful room below (and top), the clients needed help tying colorful pieces they already owned together. Staszak brought in natural elements, like wooden stools and antique Willow Baskets, to help balance and ground the space. She also assembled an ultra-personal gallery wall, incorporating their children’s artwork, and tracked down the perfect pop of yellow in the form of a Citron Salt Jar—her gift to the clients.

Design: Claire Staszak, Centered by Design. Photo: Dustin Halleck.

A Centered By Design room manages to feel both contemporary and timeless, thanks in part  to the layering of pieces from far-flung regions and eras. “I don’t like when things look overdone,” explains Staszak. “I will almost never design a room where every single thing is new.” 

Design: Claire Staszak, Centered by Design. Photo: Dustin Halleck.

Though vintage and antique furnishings are more popular than ever, not everyone is able to spot a diamond in the rough. “That’s what a designer is for,” says Staszak, who frequently unearths investment pieces on behalf of clients and has them refinished or reupholstered. “I often think I could have been born in a different time period,” she says. “ I love vintage. It’s such a great way to bring soul to a space.”

Design: Claire Staszak, Centered by Design. Photo: Dustin Halleck.

According to Staszak, another key to creating time-tested interiors is knowing when to embrace and when to resist trends. The latter being no small feat, thanks to around-the-clock temptation from Instagram and Pinterest. “In such a saturated market a client might see the same images over and over again,” she explains. “But it’s important to honor the architecture and history of a space—to make sure a design idea actually relates to the home.” Staszak recommends incorporating trends in ways that require less commitment—for example, pillows that can be easily swapped out.

Design: Claire Staszak, Centered by Design. Photo: Dustin Halleck.

Besides helming Centered By Design, Staszak is an award winning blogger, sharing behind-the-scenes insights on running a successful interior design business with her loyal readers. “I’m into collaboration not competition,” she says. “I built this business in a short time on my own, and I love sharing that with people. I want it to be an inspiration, but also a resource. I think the industry is more supportive than ever which is great.”

Claire Staszak, Centered by Design. Photo: Aimee Mazenga.

Look for more of Claire Staszak’s beautiful work in the spring issue of Modern Luxury Interiors Chicago

Hero image: Design by Claire Staszak, Centered by Design. Photo by Dustin Halleck.

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