Good Humans, Good Design: Meet Senior Designer Natalie Larriva
Good humans, good design. It's our motto. As humans who design, we tend to spend our time behind the curtain, thinking hard and working tirelessly to ask our clients the right questions—questions that help us understand their dreams and aspirations to create the perfect space for them. Never formulaic, always inspired by life's stories. So, what about the minds behind the design? What inspires us, and what are our stories? It's time we turn the camera around and let you in on what makes us tick. Today, we launch our latest series—one that shines the spotlight on our very own Unscripted Rockstars—good humans, good design.
To kick off our new Q+A adventures, we sat down with Natalie Larriva, Unscripted Rockstar since May 2018 and Senior Designer on the Model Design team at our California Studio. We asked her about her perspective on life, design, and of course, being a good human.
Q: Could you explain your role in the company?
A: As a Senior Designer, I develop and create model home designs with new and existing clients alongside my design director. We get to know our clients and what they want in a project, then research and draw inspiration from our favorite sources to create a beautiful project and a successful sales tool. The last and most fun step is traveling to the models and seeing everything come to life at install.
Q: What motivates you to be a good designer?
A: The opportunity to introduce good interior design to more people, to share how a beautiful design can change your outlook and way of living. To explore and grow as a designer and inspire those around me.
Photos: Natalia Robert Photography
Q: What motivates you to be a good human?
A: The thought that this life (and planet) is all we have, so we need to cherish it and do our best to be kind and spread kindness. The hope that we can leave things better than we found them.
Q: What do you do to be a good human?
A: Tough question… I recycle and always try to be “green” with my power usage—especially in a California summer when all I want is to blast the AC at 70. I try to treat people with respect and courtesy, I empathize and try to “pass it on.”
"Basically treat people how you’d want to be treated."
Q: What's your favorite thing about being an Unscripted Rockstar?
A: I love getting to design something new with every project. I love the possibilities and opportunities our clients grant us to get creative and explore new details, techniques, and styles. I love getting to see something I designed come to life and become something that inspires new ideas in others. And I love my co-workers!
Q: How have you evolved as a designer since working here?
A: I’ve gotten more creative and diverse with how I approach a new project. I like to use new or unexpected color palettes or furniture layouts and get inspired by my fellow designers at Unscripted. I also always keep in mind that at the end of the day our design is a sales tool for a family envisioning their new home, so I want the design to be aspirational and creative, while still attainable.
Q: What's your favorite project to date?
A: There are so many great moments from projects I’ve worked on, it’s hard to choose! But one room that stands out is a loft in Stark Farms, a project for Tripointe Texas. The client wanted this space to be a magnet for any kid that walked by so we made a space with so much charm and character that was so fun to create.
Q: Are there any current projects you are really excited about?
A: Highlands at Storyrock by Rosewood Homes in Scottsdale, Arizona is going to be STUNNING, and I’m so excited to be working on it. It’s supposed to install late December or early in the new year (when I’ll be on maternity leave) but it’s going to be so fantastic!
Q: What are some brands or areas in life that inspire you most?
A: Travel always inspires me, to nature or the city or to new countries and cultures.
"Expanding your point of view always leads to growth and the desire for more new experiences."
Interior Designers like Kelly Wearstler inspire aspirational design and with a maximalist approach. Designers like Nicole Hollis inspire me to design with a goal towards creating first and foremost, a home someone will love and a space that will create joy. Brands like Noir and Lawson Fenning, as well as landscape designers like Ed Hollander and of course the California coast are all inspiring.
Q: What are some of your passions or favorite hobbies?
A: I love reading (English Lit major at heart!), movies (old, new, musicals, animated…just nothing too scary), travel (wherever I can), trivia (brief stint as a trivia master, but a childhood watching Jeopardy honed those skills), cooking and baking, and of course design!
Q: Favorite recent trip?
A: My wedding in Cancun and honeymoon in New York were fabulous for a million reasons. The colors of Cancun are beautiful and were the inspiration for the color palette of the florals in the wedding. The hotels and restaurants of New York, the food, the galleries… all a constant source of inspiration.
Q: Have any of your life changes (getting married, impending motherhood) influenced your design?
A: Life changes haven’t so much influenced my design so much as just growing and evolving as a designer through what I encounter and create from year to year. Although, I have enjoyed designing the baby’s nursery!
Just for fun...
Q: What is the one furniture piece or accessory that can tie a whole room together?
A: I think little things like plants, coffee table books, and specially sourced décor from an antique market or new vendor can give a room life. And a cozy throw or vibrant pillow can draw the eye as well as create a feeling of comfort in a space.
Q: Favorite color?
A: Blue, because it’s versatile. I can think of midnight blue or the gray-blue of the ocean, or the bright blue of the Autumn sky.
A thousand thanks to Natalie for sharing her perspective and stories with us. Love it? Stay tuned for more good humans, good design. Follow our blog to see who ends up in the spotlight next!