How would you describe your interior decorating style?
Traditional, with a twist.
Spill it! Introductions, please!
I am an interior designer, writer, wife, and mom of a 15 month old baby girl!
We know that you didn’t have the most traditional path to becoming such a sought-after interior designer. Can you tell us how you got to where you are today?
I was working in public affairs when I started designing on the side for fun; friends would come over to my apartment and ask for help with their own. I started by shooting my apartment with a professional interiors photographer, and creating a website on Squarespace with those images as my ‘portfolio’. Once I had the website up and running, I sent out a BCC email to all my friends saying that this was something I was looking to pursue on the side from work, and if anyone was looking for help with their space or if someone was moving, etc., to reach out. I slowly built my portfolio that way, and in the beginning, I wasn’t even charging for my time. It grew and grew, and eventually I joined Homepolish (RIP), which, at the time was a matchmaking service for designers and clients. Over the course of two and a half years, I worked nights and weekends while keeping my day job and went from being a junior designer to one of Homepolish’s premier agency designers. About a year before Homepolish went under, I left my day job and Homepolish, and struck out on my own – and that’s how Ariel Okin Interiors was born!
Has this always been a dream job for you? If not, did you see yourself going into any other profession?
As a kid, I always wanted to be a fashion designer – so I guess I’m not so far off from my childhood “dream job”!
What excites you the most about your job?
The ability to create something new and fresh with every client – and to create the “movie set” that our clients live their lives in. I have such fond memories of the house I grew up in and can remember every last design detail to this day, so to be able to do that for other people feels really special.
We see that Domino Magazine named one of the top 20 Interior Design Instagram accounts to follow, congratulations! How do you cultivate your aesthetic on Instagram?
I always try to post things that are true to my aesthetic – and true to me. I don’t think so much about the grid, or about keeping a schedule (I don’t plan what I’m going to post) but I do try to keep things cohesive in the sense that they are all aligned with my personal tastes. I also post every single day – I think that consistency is very important; people come to know you and who you are from consistent posting in an authentic voice. I share a lot of behind the scenes stuff about the design world in my stories, too, from how we do design presentations to what installs and photoshoots look like. I don’t post too much personal stuff, but I do like to share a lot of what I cook and the recipes I make up, which is fun (I really love to cook!) A lot of the content that I post on Instagram has fed us story ideas for Fenimore Lane, the editorial website and shop that I launched over the summer (named after the street I grew up on back home on the Main Line!)
Do you have any fun future projects you’re working on for 2021?!
Yes! I have a second round of a popular collaboration that launched in 2020 coming for 2021, as well as another brand partnership that I can’t talk about *quite yet* but it’s a new category for me and it will be direct to consumer like the rest of my collections. I also have something really fun in the works with Neely & Chloe (shhh!)
Can we look inside your bag right now?
My bag is extremely boring lately since I haven’t left the house much…you’ll find: my wallet, keys, hand sanitizer, mask, and sunglasses!