Renewal by Andersen relies on professional interior designers to bring its award-winning, energy-efficient window and door products to life in clients’ homes. Now Renewal by Andersen wants to individually recognize talented designers with its Toast the Expert special feature on Triangle Today.
Q. Tell us about yourself.
A: My name is Rima Nasser, and I am the owner and lead designer of TEW Design Studio. We are a boutique full service interior design firm in Durham. We serve the Triangle and beyond.
Q. Tell us about your education, experience or biggest influences.
A: I have a master’s degree in interior design from Florence Design Academy in Italy and my undergraduate degree is from George Mason University in arts and culture. Living in Italy and traveling around Europe was an amazing opportunity to experience the rich history and culture. Throughout my decade-long career, I’ve striven to continue learning and studying great architects and designers like Zaha Hadid and Frank Lloyd Wright. They were both revolutionaries and their work and innovative thinking has always been relevant and always will be.
Q. What do you enjoy most about interior design?
A: The best moments are when a client tells me “I can’t believe that this is where I live,” and seeing the sparkle in their eye looking around their home. The design process is fun and exciting, but you have to have the patience for it. An artfully crafted, well thought out design could take months, sometimes years, but once it comes to fruition it is very gratifying seeing your hard work and the client’s reaction. In that process, I’ve been able to build amazing long-term relationships with my clients.
Q. How would you describe your style?
A: My style is modern and clean, with a twist of funky and some bohemian influences. I love natural materials, bright colors and earthy elements. Mixing vintage with new, modern with traditional, is really fun and exciting. My heritage is Palestinian and my aesthetic is largely influenced by middle eastern civilization.
Q. Which design trends are you most excited about this year?
A: I’m excited to see white on white phasing out. Whites and neutrals can be beautiful but they’ve been overdone recently. Rich saturated colors are hot right now, like sage greens or intense teals. I am also obsessed with the softness of blush pinks. It’s very exciting to see natural woods coming back into trend — natural materials are always great to work with.
Q. What are your favorite types of clients to work with?
A: My ideal client is someone who is willing to go outside of the box. Often times, throughout the project, I coach my clients to trust the process and to let go of the fear of getting out of their comfort zone. Let’s get uncomfortable together, let’s explore the unexplored! Let’s create something new and fall in love with it. Someone who is open to ideas and can trust that we will make it amazing is every designer’s favorite client.
Q. What/who inspires you right now?
A: Traveling is a huge inspiration for me. I love to draw inspiration from nature, culture and global architecture. I was recently in Iceland where nature is a braggart architect; beautiful waterfalls flowing over geometric basalt columns. Barcelona is an amazing city filled with rich timeless architecture. Growing up in the Middle East, my culture is known for generosity and the importance of welcoming guests. That’s a general rule in our home, added to my design thinking when working on a home and how to make people feel welcome and comfortable when in a room.
Q. How do you consider natural light when designing a space?
A: Natural light is a huge asset to a space. I love bringing the outside in through the use of plants, wood and other natural materials, but most of all, by using natural light as much as possible. If a room is lacking natural light, we try to help with layering lighting options.
Q. What new trends in windows & doors are you using?
A: Larger windows and doors are very popular. Black window grids give a chic look. Tall and wide doors with big industrial handles create a welcoming entry. Architectural skylights are always a plus when done right.
Q. If someone could look through a window into your dream room, what would they see?
A: It would be a terrarium filled with greenery in beautiful pottery, colorful furniture, probably a hammock and my two dogs.