Meet NY Interior Designer

Interior Designer Sandra Nunnerley


I had the pleasure of meeting Sandra Nunnerley, at a lunch in Bali, hosted by our mutual friend Stuart Membery (

Sandra & I have a shared passion for travel and interiors and I have followed her work closely ever since.

Sandra was born in New Zealand and currently resides in NY, where she founded her internationally recognised design firm Sandra Nunnerley Inc. ( Sandra has been featured on the Architectural Digest AD 100 List and has published her own book.

Sandra is well known for being highly attentive to her clients & their needs - then delivering spaces they never dreamed of.

Has your style changed in your career as an interior designer?

My style hasn't changed but adapted to become more freestyle - for example placing art in kitchens and bathrooms, not just living rooms.

I also like to juxtapose different styles and periods - contemporary sculptor pieces with a Louis XVI chair. I have even incorporated a maori canoe in a client's lakeside home!

How do you define style?

Comfortable, functional, tranquil, authentic and chic.

I define style when a room not only works on an aesthetic level, but functions effortlessly for the owners as well, reflective of their own particular lifestyle.

What are key tips for small spaces?

"Never be frightened of putting large scale objects in to a small space"

I also think tiers of lighting gives scale to a small space, as well as a soft glow in the evening. I recommend using a mixture of ceiling, wall sconces, table lamps and standing lamps.

Use of colour?

Colour is sensual, subtle and bold. Colour makes a room come alive and is an essential part of my vocabulary as a designer.

Following a trip to Burma, I wanted to paint everything lacquered red!


I particularly love using paper-bag brown, bitter chocolate, cinnamon, pistachio, cypress & grape.

The trend today is for sleek, modern apartments. How would you give them atmosphere?

I feel that any room becomes warm and intimate with lighting (4 tiers to create mood lighting) as well as the use of different shapes and forms to create composition.

One thing you recommend NOT to do when decorating?

Do not decorate for your friend's approval. Your home needs to be highly functional allowing areas for family to relax together as well as reflecting the family's own needs, passions and lifestyle. Interiors should function on many levels.

One piece of advice?

In terms of interior design, you must get the bones right first. If you don't you're going nowhere, no matter how hard you try.

It begins with the architecture of the space and often involves reconfiguring layouts, altering dimensions and adding or even subtracting details to make more spaces functional and responsive to the client's lifestyles.

What do you collect?

My latest passion is collecting Chinese contemporary ink paintings by Beijing artist, Lui Dan. I was introduced to his work when Dan was living and working in NYC. I fell in love with his works of art in brush, ink and water colour.

As a collector of contemporary and primitive art, I knew that Liu Dan's Cloud root III belonged in my own home and complimented other treasures I have collected which include a 20th century carved Senufo bird from the Ivory Coast and a pair of Maori clubs.

Where do you source products for your projects?

I search for unique products from around the globe.

New York : Maison Gerard, Holland & Sherry, Bernd Goeckler Antiques, Cristina Grajales Gallery, Friedman Benda Gallery

Paris: Alexandra Biaggi , Galerie Dutko (opened in London in October, 2015)

London: David Gill Gallery, Gordon Watson Gallery

Los Angeles: Gallery Seomi


Seoul: Gallery Yeh

Brussels: Bernard de Grunne - Tribal Fine Arts Gallery

Favourite restaurants?

Pharmacy 2 - Damien Hirst's new restaurant in collaboration with Mark Hix - is open to visitors to the exhibitions during the day, and evening diners when the gallery is closed.

Favourite hotel?

Amanjiwo - Indonesia

A spiritual resort in Java, with views of Buddhist sanctuary Borobudur.

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