Some happy news from Team Chairish! We’re proud to announce the recipient of our Spring 2020 Chairish scholarship, Natasha Rivera. Natasha was one of thousands of incredibly qualified applicants, and we’re thrilled to announce her as this season’s deserving winner. She’s currently pursuing her MFA in Interior Design at the New York School of Interior Design, and we’re proud to be able to support her in her efforts.
Can you tell us a bit about how design factored into your life growing up and what made you want to enter into this field?
I grew up in Harlem, where my community was underprivileged, but my peers and I were fueled by passion and ambition. Through my childhood, I was always connected to the arts. In elementary school, I was selected to contribute to a mural that showcased the heart of Harlem right in the lobby of our school, which still stands today. I was inspired by how this artwork added life upon entry, and it was this moment that made me realize how design impacts space.
I went on to study communications because of the passion I have for connecting with people, though the call to use my skill set in a more impactful way was still there. The desire to transform a space — even that feeling when I was 9 years old — was something that kept me driven to finally apply for my Masters in Fine Arts at the New York School of Interior Design. I want to have the ability to go back into underprivileged spaces like my own community and allow them to experience beauty and life through design.
What excites you about a career in interior design?
The field of interior design is so exciting because you get to see a vision come to fruition from beginning to end. I love hearing the vision and interests of clients and providing them the tools to make them come to life. My favorite part about the design process is selecting samples — actually getting to touch fabrics and materials. It is quite electric when you come across a material you want to incorporate in your space.
I was always connected to the arts… I want to have the ability to go back into underprivileged spaces like my own community and allow them to experience beauty and life through design.Natasha Rivera
How did you hear about the Chairish scholarship program?
The Chairish scholarship was posted on NYSID’s scholarship portal. I was eager to apply because it targeted students of underrepresented backgrounds. Diversity and equality are important, and as a Latina, this opportunity is vital to my success in my last year of the MFA-1 program.
What does this scholarship mean to you?
This scholarship is extremely important to me. I am going into my last year of the MFA-1 program for my Master’s, and there was really a question if I could even afford to finish. Due to COVID-19 and the uncertainty of the economy, I am unemployed. I also did not get to have an internship experience to prepare for my entrance into the interior design world professionally. However, this scholarship not only assists me financially, but it also gives me hope and encouragement to stay determined. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity from Chairish.
When not in class or studying or spending time with your daughter, what hobbies or activities can we find you taking part in?
When I am not studying or with my daughter Emerie, I make candles! I started mixing fragrance oils about a year ago, and this year I finally got a scent that I am obsessed with. The candles I make are 100% coconut wax, and I sell them online. I also love to read and design graphics for fun.
What types of design are your favorites? Are there any designers and artists you particularly admire?
I am particularly drawn to hospitality design. One designer in particular that I admire is AvroKO’s co-founder Kristina O’Neal… her firm’s designs are incredibly modern, cohesive, and cutting edge. Firstly, she went to Cornell, which is across the hill from my alma mater, Ithaca College. Secondly, the creative process drives all her projects — this is very telling in the end result of all of her designs.
If you could select some items on the site to furnish your current living quarters, what would those be?
I am completely obsessed with Chairish and lots of the vintage pieces. Some items that I would use to furnish my current space are:
Hunt Slonem “Pillow Jungle” Serigraph: This artwork is gorgeous — the vibrancy and deepness would make a statement in any room!
Vintage Boho Chic Pencil Reed-Wrapped Leaves Mirror: This accent piece is elegant and gives the room a boho jungle vibe in a minimalist way. The touch of leaves on the mirror adds character and makes it unique.
Classic Gustavian Louis XV Style Chest: This jewel-toned chest is the perfect pop of color needed for any space. And I love the tassel accent on the knob — tres chic!
Covet Paris Maya Armchair: This is one of my favorite styles of accent chairs. The color is absolutely plush and gorgeous and ties together a space beautifully.
Kate Modern Rose Gold Stainless Steel Coffee Table: I love this rose gold coffee table. The shape is unique and modern and it allows the use of different styles of other furniture with it.
Palermo Boucle White Sofa: My dream is to own a white or cream-colored sofa, although that’s not likely with an energetic toddler! This sofa is a mix of styles and the legs tie in nicely with the touches of gold in the space. I love how elegant it is.
Midnight Blue Glass Urn Vases, a Pair: These vases are a gorgeous touch to the space — they look super rich and can stand alone or with added greenery inside.
22″ Sapphire Mohair Panel & Linen Velvet Pillows – a Pair: These pillows are minimal but incredibly luxurious looking, and the deepness of the blue with the contrasting white/cream is amazing. I am a fan!