Alyssa Kapito is based in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan. Style: A fresh take on the classics with a great appreciation of antiques and art. Recent projects: a full restoration of a historic Hamptons estate; a family home in Beverly Hills; a beach house in Bellport Long Island and a landmarked townhouse on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
Trained at Sotheby’s in London, NYC-based Richard McGeehan specializes in 19th and 20th century decorative arts and calls his style “intelligent eclecticism.” In addition to many museum clients, he’s designed homes for Robert Duffy of Marc Jacobs and the official residences of a UN ambassador and the governor’s mansions for the states of New Jersey and Missouri.
Juan Montoya was born in Colombia and moved to New York to attend Parsons School of Design after studying architecture in Bogotá. He has enough design world accolades to fill a very chic room and is known for paying special attention to his mix of textures, volumes, shadows and scale.
New York City–based interior designer Sara Gilbane describes her style as cheerful and comfortable design infused with color, pattern, and whimsy. Her signature is to combine antiques with a client’s prized possessions and an bright, welcoming hues.
New York–based designer Bennett Leifer describes his style in four words: Timeless, livable, elegant and artful. He has primarily worked with private families in New York, Los Angeles, Aspen, and the Hamptons. Notable projects include model residences for 18 Gramercy Park South, Norman Foster’s 50 United Nations Plaza, and 100 Barclay.
New York City-based Jeff Fields is the partner of fellow A-List designer Joe Nahem. Their past clients include Robert Downey Jr.
Trading his time between New York and San Francisco, Ken Fulk’s designs are bold, evocative, and inventive — and attract the clients to match, such as Pharrell. In the public sphere, you might have encountered his work at one of the many trendy Major Food Group bars and restaurants he’s decorated.
Los Angeles-based Peter Dunham calls his style “sophisticated casual.” He started his design company in L.A. in 1998 after a childhood in France and college in England, and design lovers flock to his Hollywood at Home to buy his fabric and wallpaper collection. His fans and past clients include Jennifer Garner, Steve Tisch, and Drew Barrymore, with projects restoring landmark homes, like an 1963 Horace Gifford house on Fire Island.
These are the designers we look to again and again. Each is distinctive—what unites them is their excellence. Here are the 2018 ELLE Decor A-List designers.
A leading member of the Los Angeles design community, Madeline Stuart’s wide-ranging clientele comes from the entertainment industry and the world of business and finance. Her projects reflect a collaborative relationship between architecture and furniture, function and form, client and designer. The firm recently completed a four-year project that involved a comprehensive restoration and redesign of a historic property in La Jolla, California.
More than anyone, Nate Berkus is the public face of contemporary design. A TV personality who designs products for Target, he’s also an accomplished and sophisticated interior designer. His own predilections tend toward neutral palettes; natural materials like leather, linen, and wicker; and objects made by hand. He is currently working on a television project with his husband Jeremiah Brent.
India Mahdavi has a lot in common with Henri Matisse. Like a fauvist, the Paris-based designer and architect uses rich, complementary colors in both her commercial and residential projects to immediately elicit a layered—mostly giddy—response from visitors. She creates worlds that are uncanny: they feel familiar, but are at the same time completely alien. Recently, she created collections for Pierre Frey and Bisazza and opened the much-feted Ladurée salon de thé in Tokyo.
A world-renowned interior designer, Vicente Wolf has been a leader in the Manhattan design industry for over 35 years. From the spacious light-filled loft in New York City where his company is headquartered, Wolf and his team build on his passion for design that’s guided by integrity and simplicity. Wolf has published four design books, including this year’s “The Four Elements of Design: Interiors Inspired By Earth, Water, Air and Fire.” His portfolio includes the MGM hotel in Las Vegas and the Wynn Hotel in Macau, China.
Sibling duo Pamela Shamshiri and Ramin Shamshiri struck out on their own from Commune to great success in 2016. Their star-studded client list includes Seth Rogan and Lauren Rogan, Anne Hathaway & Adam Shulman, and Sophia Amoroso of Girlboss. “Our look is narrative and experience driven so it’s always changing based on the place, architecture, client, and historical context.”
Former set designer Ariel Ashe and architect Reinaldo Leandro’s NYC firm Ashe + Leandro mixes contemporary luxury and natural materials to create spaces that feel open and timeless. Past projects include work for Liev Schreiber and Seth Meyers, who is the husband of Ashe’s sister.
Mario Buatta is the “Prince of Chintz” and one of America’s most iconic designers — two titles he accepts happily.
A fourth-generation Californian by way of the Bay Area, Nathan Turner wrote the book on the state’s aesthetic, called I Love California, as well as a book on classic American Style. The Los Angeles-based designer counts A-list stars, including Mindy Kaling and Armie and Elizabeth Hammer, among his clients.
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A Pittsburgh-born designer who moved to NYC and trained under designer Philippe Starck, Kelly Behun is known for highly bespoke creative process and her line of artistic, thoughtful furniture pieces and home accessories.
The former Million Dollar Decorators star Kathryn M. Ireland describes her style as “California coastal meets European chic,” and the result is an elevated boho look that’s attracted clients, such as Julia Louis Dreyfus and Drew Barrymore. The Santa Monica-based designer’s charm and signature flair also shines through in her popular textiles line.
Bunny Williams is all about classic comfort, an informed eye, and a bit of fun. In her rooms, fine European antiques meet mirrored walls and gutsy artwork. She uses intense colors and delicate patterns with equal panache.
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Brooklyn-raised Ellie Cullman (her family owns the famous Peter Luger steakhouse) holds an Albert Hadley Lifetime Achievement Award from the New York School of Interior Design and founded the storied design firm known for its fashion-forward, modern look — catalogued in the design book, From Classic to Contemporary.
New York and Los Angles-based Eric Hughes clients include Sarah Jessica Parker & Matthew Broderick, Andy Cohen, Katie Couric, Hank Azaria, Lauren Graham. Cohen’s Manhattan home by Hughes — who likes to create “relaxed, eclectic, elegant residences” — is pictured here.
For someone in his early 30s, Ryan Korban has made quite a name for himself. His strong point of view and a signature aesthetic—sleek, marbly interiors, geometric forms and muted color palette—is exemplified in a handful of stunning retail projects for the likes of Aquazzura, Balenciaga, and Alexander Wang. (Would calling him the successor to Peter Marino be hyperbolic? We don’t think so.) Korban is currently working on his first major residential development at 40 Bleecker, in New York City.
Kelly Wearstler’s global luxury lifestyle brand is marked by its distinctive designs and sophisticated soulful character. Wearstler’s signature style juxtaposes raw with refined, melds sophistication and spirited spontaneity, and brings together diverse periods of furniture. Her portfolio includes luxury hotels and grand residences from Beverly Hills to the Caribbean, and throughout the rest of the world.
New York and Palm Beach designer Ashley Whittaker describes her clients as “bi-coastal bachelors to Upper East Side Families and everyone in between.” Famous for her bright use of color and pattern, Whittaker describes her style as youthful, eclectic and traditional all at once.
“We balance modern, machined elements with warm, textured, historical ones often weaving a story or dialogue of periods,” says Hayes of his New York-based design firm. Born in Louisiana, Hayes has curated homes for Marc Jacobs and Leonard Lauder and Evelyn Lauder and previously practiced as a landscape architect.
Brookyln-based Billy Cotton has designed for artist Cindy Sherman and Carol Bove.
The Milan-based duo of Roberto Peregalli and Laura Sartori Rimini, otherwise known as Studio Peregalli, specializes in baronial rooms that are steeped in history without being tied to any particular period. They fashion dramatic spaces that interpret the past without living in it, working with salvaged fragments and highly skilled artisans. The firm’s American projects include a Manhattan apartment for style arbiter Hamish Bowles, and a Gramercy Park townhouse for artists Rachel Feinstein and John Currin.
New York City-based Peter Marino is known for his commercial and retail designs as much as he is residential, and he has worked to redefine modern luxury worldwide with clients including Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Bulgari.
New York City-basd Shawn Henderson is known for his interiors that are serene as they are sophisticated. His past projects have included homes for Will Ferrell and director Tate Taylor.
Los Angeles and Paris-based Timothy Corrigan knows a thing or two about European elegance given that he’s owned has owned three historic castles and penned, An Invitation to Château du Grand-Lucé about one’s renovation. The jet-setting decorator tends to a clientele that includes Madonna and an array of Middle Eastern royals.