Stephanie Goldfarb is an interior designer and the talent behind The Divine Living Space in Duluth, Minnesota. She likes to shop, for herself and her clients, at Schneiderman’s and shares her finds and room designs with her social media followers.
We’ve been enjoying following her on Instagram , and recently caught up with her to discuss her take on interior design, how she got started, favorite paint colors, and more…
Have you always had a passion and talent for design?
I grew up in a very simple home. My mom was a single mom, and most months we could hardly make ends meet, so I didn’t know what interior design even was until after college.
From a very early age though, I always had a knack for putting colors together. I entered every coloring contest that I could find. When I was 6 years old, I won a full set of new dishes for my mom and this amazing jolly green giant telephone the following year just by putting colors together on a page and staying in the lines!
SHOP THIS LOOK: Kateri Console
Design wasn’t your first career (I think you started in the medical field?), so why and how did you make the switch to design?
Yes! I actually was on a pre-med track with a major in Biology, and even worked in the ER at a trauma center. When I got pregnant with our second child I had major complications. I took some time off and re-evaluated what was important for our family.
Through the encouragement of many friends who hired me to help them with their space after seeing my home’s decor, my vision of a design business was born. It has evolved over the past twelve years, and I have never once regretted my decision!
What has been one of the biggest influences on the evolution of your personal design style?
I have always followed Nate Berkus. I love how he adds a little vintage with a modern flare to every room.
Current favorite paint colors – one “go-to” white and one color?
Decorators White by Benjamin Moore is a great neutral color for ceilings, trim, or walls that is true white. (Some whites have different undertones, but this is a warm and modern white without blue or yellow undertones.)
When people want to inject a bold color into their space, I love Benjamin Moore’s Hale Navy. It looks great on a painted piece of furniture, a kitchen island, an entire room, or an accent wall. Balance it out with some light grays, a touch of gold, and you have a beautiful, bold space!
If you could hang out with another designer that you admire for a day, who would it be?
Hands down Sarah Richardson. She is a woman after my own heart. I love how she injects pattern and texture into a space, her overall style, and how she creatively reuses pieces from local antique markets for her client’s rooms!
Which room in the home do you most enjoy designing/decorating?
With so many open floor plans these days that connect the living room to the kitchen, I would say these spaces combined. I know from experience that this area is the hub of our home, and where our friends and family gather to just do life together. Why not make it beautiful and inviting?
SHOP THIS LOOK: table
Current favorite of the popular design trends?
I love a good contrast. Either dark walls on light furniture, or light walls with bold pops of color. Sorry, did I have to pick just one?
What is your favorite source for design inspiration?
I currently love Instagram. There are so many talented designers out there that share their beautiful spaces. I have also found a lot of great ideas and sources for unique items on there!
Your design philosophy?
Keep it simple and do what you love. I hear too many people worry about “design trends” or what their friends and neighbors are doing.
Love the home you live in, and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks.
You haven’t always lived in Duluth and, from what I’ve read, weren’t sure you wanted to move there. Now that you’re settled in, what do you think? Favorite spots?
I am a city girl at heart, and I left my business in a big city that I worked so hard to establish, but it has been one of the biggest blessings for our family. The friends and community we have connected with feel like our extended family.
Our family loves all of the beautiful outdoor spots we’ve explored. Lester Park, Hartley Nature Center, and Hawk Ridge are right in our backyard. We often go there after school to explore, go for a quick hike, or see a sunset. A couple times a year we travel up the North Shore to Lutsen and Grand Marais for a mini family getaway.
In your opinion, what is one of the biggest decorating mistakes that people are likely to make?
Not having a starting piece. Find something you LOVE and take inspiration from these pieces (whether it be a pillow, or a rug) and build from there.
Favorite way to spend your free time (assuming you ever have any)?
If and when I have extra time, I love scouring flea markets, junk markets, or thrifting with a friend and a cup of coffee in hand. I think I need an extra shed to store some of my favorite pieces I’d love to repurpose someday. My husband would agree, I am sure!
You recently DIY’d a plank wall in your living room (and did a great job, by the way!). What was your favorite part of the project, and one tip that you could give to someone who wanted to try it?
I loved using power tools for this job. Who knew a nail gun and chop saw could be so fun? Ha! Before we moved to Duluth I had never used one in my life, but some really good friends of ours are insanely talented DIY’ers and inspired me to try it too!
If I can do this, you can to. Trust me, it isn’t that hard.
My best advice? Have a well thought out plan before you start a project like this. I read a LOT of different ways to do it and chose the one I felt was doable for me. So many bloggers have paved the path in documenting step by step instructions, so that is extremely helpful!
What is your favorite Schneiderman’s piece that you’ve purchased either for yourself or a client?
Hands down our distressed media console that we have in our main living room. It is actually a dining room piece, but we converted it to use for our media center. It adds the perfect amount of rustic and warmth to our modern planked room.
What’s the best design advice someone ever gave you?
Just because a design style is trending, doesn’t mean you have to inject it into your home.
If you aren’t staying true to your style, you will never love your space!
Images provided by The Divine Living Space