After a decade at the helm of her own interior design firm…
Tamara Sayago-Dunner, ASID, IIDA, has circled the globe again and again seeking out distinctive interior design ideas for her clients.
“The history, culture, foods, colors, and traditions around the world all inspire me. I travel internationally because it gives me a different perspective,” she said, noting that perspective brings an unusual depth and vigor to her work. “It’s fun to learn and see new things. Many times we limit our view to that which is familiar and close to us. Traveling is like spreading your wings.”
Tamara finds sources of inspiration in each exotic locale she visits. “Every time I travel, I search in the local stores and absorb the local art. Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris has some of the most beautiful art painted on its walls. Australian aborigine art is great, with lively primal design and bright colors. The pottery in rural Spanish towns – the geometric designs and the colors – is wonderful. Gaudi’s designs in Barcelona are so unique. All these influence the way I design spaces.”
Tamara is an expert at combining international sophistication with the comforts of home. “I always try to make my designs comfortable for the homeowner. They are the ones living in the home. The interiors should reflect their interests and loves.”
According to Tamara, clients can gain insights into their design preferences by scanning the media. People “can get ideas by looking at magazines for things that might appeal to them, such as colors, furniture, or styles.”
Tamara refines those basic ideas to produce one-of-a-kind interiors. “Clients tell me the mood or style they want. I take things I’ve seen abroad and adapt them into the client’s wishes. At the end, I want the client to have a unique design that no one else has, and that people will talk about.”
Having created her own worldwide web of design services, Tamara is adept at handling the challenges of transnational design.
She describes an assignment for one client, a dignitary from Nicaragua, who needed two rooms finished on a tight deadline. “Everything needed reupholstering and new window treatments. I had only three weeks to do the job.”
Tamara embraced the challenge. “I flew to Managua and spent two days taking pictures, measuring, and evaluating the style and the client’s taste. Then, back home, I drew floor plan layouts and window treatment designs.” Over the course of many long-distance calls, “we chose fabrics for the window treatments and for the antique pieces that needed reupholstering.”
In the spirit of international cooperation, the project came together beautifully. “The fabrics were chosen in the United States and the upholstery was done locally in Managua,” says Tamara. “The window treatments were designed and made in the United States and shipped to Managua for hanging. Speaking Spanish helped. We finished the rooms the client needed before the holidays.”
Tamara’s work as as an interior designer has an immutable style.
“I can bring a unique aspect to a design. Too many times you get the cookie cutter look that everyone has seen. I like to add personality to my work. I treat my projects like objects of art.”