Named one of the top ten Instagram interior design accounts to follow by Elle Decor and an Instagram favorite of British Vogue, among multiple other shelter publications, NYC-based Alyssa Kapito has a polished, tailored aesthetic with a posh, Hollywood-esque flair that makes her the modern maven to The Traditional New Southern.
Praised as a “tastemaker for millennials,” Alyssa caught our eye for her affinity for clean lines complemented with hints of glam, as well her interplay between moments of masculinity and femininity. Unexpected masculine details, like dark finishes, sleek leather armchairs, and rich mahogany desks, pair elegantly in light and airy spaces that include more feminine furnishings, such as lucite coffee tables, brass hardware, and elegant wallpaper prints. This balance brings an air of sophistication and class that design enthusiasts strive to attain, however Alyssa does so in a way that is approachable and warm, connecting to a young generation with her inspirational eye and delightful enthusiasm for the design business.
On her Instagram page, you’ll discover a mix of behind-the-scenes moments, finished work, and urban exteriors that shed light into her brand - one that is traditional and time-honoring, rooted in a neutral palette, yet is met with a modern edge, displayed by her inclusion of contemporary shapes, abstract art, and carefully-styled, often perfectly minimal, tablescapes.
We sat down with Alyssa to pull back the curtain on how she got started in interiors and her design advice for creative entrepreneurs seeking to break into the industry.
Alyssa Rosenheck: Tell me about yourself.
Alyssa Kapito: One of six, I grew up on Long Island. I studied renaissance art at Columbia University, then making a career switch to interior design after an internship at Bunny Williams. After working a few years in the industry, I started my own firm in 2012. Recently, we moved into a beautiful new office space - right in downtown NYC.
AR: How are you modernizing / updating southern style when you design?
AK: We love the base of our rooms to have classic shapes and a mostly traditional outlook, yet we keep things fresh with clean lines and lots of contemporary layers. We also shy away from chintz and brocade in favor of neutrals in more contemporary-friendly fabrics, such as linen mohair and leather.
AR: What innovative trends are you seeing with Southern style across the country?
AK: Very contemporary art. I think it creates a wonderful opposition when placed in traditional spaces, and contemporary art is a great start when initially incorporating more modern accents.
AR: What are your favorite hometown design boutiques?
AR: Favorite shade of white and black paint color?
AK: “Wimborne White" by Farrow and Ball. We have actually not yet used black!
AR: What’s your life motto?
AK: Never take no for an answer!
AR: The one shade that changes everything? Tell us what mood it evokes and when/how you’ve used it.
AK: I’m all about ivory. We use it all the time and find it much richer than white. We only use ivory sheets, we paint our walls ivory, and we use ivory notecards.
AR: The place you go to get inspired?
AR: The key to making a house a home? What does a home need more of and less of?
AK: The key to making a house a home is honestly the family you are designing it for. We are inspired by our clients, how they live, and how they entertain.
AR: Design advice that you’ve received that made all the difference?
AK: Only buy what you absolutely love.
AR: What’s the best piece of design advice you could provide for creative entrepreneurs starting out?
AK: The creative part is easy. What makes the difference is whether you can manage the business end. As a rule, don't spend more money than you have. Figure out how you can make it work within your budget.
AR: What’s your advice for mixing old with new?
AR: What’s your favorite house-warming gift?
AK: My go-to gifts are coffee table books. I like to gift one that relates to the host’s interests.
AR: Design book that you will always have on your shelf?
AK: Anything about Agnes Martin and Cy Twombly, two artists I adore.
AR: What’s currently on your nightstand?
AK: A glass of water and my phone.
AR: The greatest color combination that ever existed?
AK: Grey and ivory.