Anyone who’s ever undergone an interior redesign will know that the coordination and ingenuity involved in making a space both livable and stylish is no small feat. The creative minds that bring a homeowner’s vision to life are integral to making living spaces the visual respites they are.
Today we’re highlighting two homes designed by female-led teams—one vision created by a designer with an established firm and another conceptualized by an inspired homeowner.
New York, New York | Cortnee B. Glasser, Sotheby’s International Realty – East Side Manhattan Brokerage
Established in 2008, Emma Donnersberg’s eponymous design firm has a focus on carefully curated pieces influenced by Donnersberg’s world travels. This penthouse, located in the heart of Tribeca, reflects the firm’s global sensibility. With massive floor-to-ceiling windows and an open concept, the main living space provides the perfect blank canvas for the room’s stand-out pieces, like the rounded sofa that curves itself around the room’s main column and the puzzle-piece coffee tables.
Donnersberg’s design philosophy is to approach spaces as if they were a blank canvas, considering how spatial organization, colors, and textures contribute to an overall feeling of luxury and balance. Her method is clearly at play: chandeliers with organic, branch-like shapes draw the eye upward and oversized ceramics hold pampas grass as a reminder of natural, textural elements. As much sculpture as furniture, the seating throughout the home ranges from molded lucite chairs perched on brass stems to carved walnut armchairs to plush, circular dining seating—design decisions that demonstrate Donnersberg’s affinity for the playful as well as the artful.
While textures and materials vary throughout the penthouse’s interior, its hues are, for the most part, neutral: slate grey, cream, and onyx mirror the shades of the city’s famous skyline. Vibrant shades are woven in through accent pieces like the turquoise shag lounger or the large-scale abstract painting above the hearth, a skillful touch that keeps the home from feeling too serious.
Donnersberg’s background working for a fine art auction house is evident in her interior design practice, particularly in the way she deals with the relationship between material and function. In the kitchen, gray marble countertops blend into the backsplash, while in the bathroom dark, veined marble walls are balanced by a carved wood sink and countertop. The result is sculptural and elemental, an interior that is both contemporary and conscious of itself as a space where living happens.
Designed by the original resident and completed in 2019, this property in Hunt, Texas, could only have come from the mind of someone with a singular vision. As the owner of an art gallery in Telluride, Colorado, the owner had a clear idea of where and how she wanted to live: she conceptualized the home before hiring a professional to draw up the design plan and complete the build.
Set along the merging point of the North Fork Guadalupe River and the Guadalupe River, the property has the feeling of a spa or resort, with shaded rock patios and grassy knolls set along multiple river access points. The design of the ranch-style home takes its cues from the river itself, with cypress finishings, bronze hardware, and clean architectural lines.
Comprising the main home and three guest cottages, the property follows the flow of the river and the sloping grounds, encouraging indoor-outdoor living. Clearly possessing a keen eye for moving artwork, the owner selected several pieces of custom hand-forged metal work by artist Bill Givens, including the flower pieces installed in one of the home’s bedrooms. The interiors bring in the natural surroundings through textural stone hearths, reclaimed wood doors, and worn leather furnishings.
The owner’s gallery background is echoed in the home’s construction: long, winding hallways mirror the shape of the river while also providing plenty of room for displaying artwork. Framed photographs, abstract paintings, sculptural furnishings, and collected textiles make the hallway more than just a space to transition from one room to another—it makes it a reflection of a life’s work and passion.
The interior of a home is a peek inside the minds of its creators. These smartly designed homes are a glimpse into the visions of two creative women who have made the visual and material experience of home part of their life’s work.
Looking for more home design inspiration from influential women? Read up on the eight women changing the field of architecture.