We’re back with a new guest tastemaker for some quick-fire questions and a mini-curation of some fab Chairish finds!
This week, we are joined by New York-based designer Ariel Okin. Her knack for putting a contemporary twist on traditional elements is well-reflected in her Chairish picks, as well as her body of work – which includes the home of Girls creator Lena Dunham and Goop’s New York headquarters. While Ariel’s fresh and eye-catching take on design has remained consistent throughout her work, each project is a true reflection of the owner of the space. Her goal is not for people to exclaim to her clients “This is so Ariel Okin!” but rather “This is so you!”
Join us as we delve into her journey from design hobbyist to maven at the craft, and find out which iconic Memphis design she considers to be a standout in her past works.
What sparked your passion for design?
I’ve always loved design from a young age; When I was in middle school, my mom would take me to Barnes & Noble, and I would sit on the floor reading coffee table books on art and design for hours. Back in 2013, when I moved to the city for graduate school (for a different field), I started spending all of my free time reading shelter magazines and indulging in my interest in design. When friends started coming over to my apartment and asking me for help with theirs, I realized this was something that I was passionate about. I took clients on nights and weekends for two and a half years until I built up a book of business that was big enough where I could leave my day job in an unrelated field and go out on my own. I opened my firm in 2016, and I am so glad that I did! I feel so grateful that I get to do what I love every single day. We are a team of six now, and I could not feel luckier to do what I do.
What is the most memorable career moment you’ve had so far?
When the West Village apartment we designed for Lena Dunham landed on the cover of Domino back in 2019, that was a very cool and surreal experience. Our own home was also just recently featured in House Beautiful, and that felt really special and sentimental.
What is the most outstanding design element you’ve ever incorporated into a space?
In Lena’s apartment, we added a gigantic neon pink Sottsass mirror into the living room, which made the cover, and a statement!
What is the coolest vintage piece in your house? What makes it the coolest?
I found a faux tortoise painted armoire at auction for $137; It has monkeys smoking cigars and drinking martinis painted on the inside doors. I love it so much. We use it as a bar!
Do you collect anything? What sparked your interest in collecting that item?
I collect design books, blue and white china, and woven Nantucket baskets. Being that I grew up in a house filled with books, baskets, and blue and white china, I’m guessing it stuck!
Headshot Image Courtesy of Laurel Creative