‘American Dream Builders’ Profile: Christina Salway

christina500x191_ADBLogo_a_01Renowned designer Nate Berkus hosts NBC’s bold new reality competition series American Dream Builders that showcases the talents of accomplished designers and home builders in the country. The show pits 12 talented contestants against one another in a high-stakes competition. Read about all the contestants.

Meet “American Dream Builders” interior designer Christina Salway.

Zillow: How did you get into design?
Salway: I got into design in an innocent way: I fell in love with dollhouses as a kid. I would decorate and redecorate them, and I remember my mom saying, “You know, that’s a job.” When I went off to college, I studied architecture and I worked for a firm in Manhattan for a couple years. Then, the principal of the firm asked me if I’d like to do the design on his lake house. It was so much fun and I saw more opportunity for creativity. I started doing interior design more and more and ended up going out on my own in 2006.

Zillow: What’s the best design advice you’ve ever received?
Salway: Trust your gut. That’s true for designers and regular people. It’s tempting to second guess yourself, but you really have to trust your instinct.

Zillow: What’s your signature design trick?
Salway: I don’t subscribe to the ideology of putting my stamp on a space; it really needs to be the embodiment of the client, not me. What I try to do is create spaces that show the client at their best. I help them cull their stuff and put it into a slightly more curated collection.

Zillow: Describe your design style in three words.
Salway: Curated. Authentic. Accessible.

Zillow: What are the design trends that excite you most right now?
Salway: I feel as though eclectic is interesting now, which is exciting. As you look through shelter magazines, there used to be the notion that a home had to be very Victorian and proper or modern and stark – authentic in one direction. Now, it’s OK – even encouraged – to juxtapose a collection of aesthetics. Homeowners are being told it’s perfectly acceptable to blend a console from IKEA with their grandmother’s arm chair. I think that lends a more authentic air to a home.

To see more of Christina’s work, visit her website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.