Sayre Ziskin, SVZ Interior Design

If I didn't personally know (and adore) Sayre, I might hate her—she's beautiful, warm, funny, whip-smart, and has an excellent eye for design and interiors. (I wouldn't really because I'm not that kind of gal, but you get what I mean, right?) Just one peak at her portfolio and you'll see that she has a bold and eclectic eye that's thoughtfully informed and grounded with clean lines and modern shapes. As a fellow literature major, it's clear that her aptitude for stories comes across as nuance and detail in each of her designs. A scroll through her residential and commercial work feels like reading a novel, and I couldn't think of a higher compliment. I admire Sayre's commitment to her client's vision and her desire to produce tangible work. She's a friend, an excellent Instagram follow, and a top choice to share a bookish conversation with.

Name: Sayre Victoria Ziskin

Company: SVZ Interior Design

Give your one minute elevator pitch in less than 20 words. Go: Ease into telling the person what I do for a living, make it sound cool, but make myself casual. Then end with handing them my card and telling them to find me on Instagram.

Why interior design? It involves both my creative side and my pragmatic side. When I was at a crossroads in 2009 and deciding what to do with my life, I quickly nixed a bunch of ideas, i.e. Fashion was too flighty, advertising had no soul, PR seemed pointless, and came to the conclusion that interior design was tangible. It was true. I can pitch myself, get the gig, create a space and build it for my client’s enjoyment and my self-satisfaction. It’s work that you can touch.

What gets you up in the morning? My dog, my phone. In that order! I do really like my job though, and aside from some rough and obnoxious clients in the past, I generally love it.

What are two truths about your career that you want neophytes and followers to know? 1) You have to be good with people, counseling and relationships and if you’re not, this job is not for you. 2) Be a project manager first and a creative second if you want a successful interior design company.

What’s one thing about what you’re doing now that you hope changes the status quo, or something you’ve made or done that you hope will outlast you? Honestly I’m not out there trying to change the status quo. I’m trying to do my best work, be creative, be good at my job, be monetarily successful and just live my life. I want to enjoy the spaces in-between creating and not make my days about big changes or goals. One little thing at a time.

Today or Tomorrow? Today is always the goal and tomorrow is the anxiety. I’m trying for today with a little less tomorrow.

What’s your greatest extravagance? Travel is one, and alone time is another.

I would love a day in the life of... Cristiano Ronaldo - I’m a (European) football fan so I would love to live in the body of one of the greatest athletes and football stars of all time.

Name a living or imagined hero. My imaginary hero is someone who helps all starving children and someone who simultaneously kills off all of the illegal animal poachers. A hero and vigilante.

What virtue do you value most?

In yourself: My ferocity of feeling.

In a friend: Loyalty and devotion.

Imagine it’s 1907. What are you doing with your life? I would probably own a dress shop in some industrial city. That would be cool. I wish I could time travel...

In the future I’ll be... A well-traveled mother and wife with a career that I pick and choose. Close friends, loving family, beautiful home.

Let’s imagine I’m going to take your portrait and I ask that we use a book as a prop—an armrest, a stool, a weapon. What’s the book? The book is definitely a prop to make me appear smarter. Arm chair, cross the legs, hold it open in my hand and look pensively into the favorite and most literary book I can think of is James Joyce, Ulysses. That would be the one.

Do you identify with hipsters, yes or no? If yes yes, answer A and C, if no, answer B and D.

b. What’s the last great concert you went to that wasn’t a music festival? Little Dragon tiny desk concert. She is DOPE.

d. Do you believe in ghosts? Definitive, NO.

Try to imagine ten days away from a computer—where are you headed and what are doing? I actually did this and went off to Alaska in the middle of Denali National Park. 10 days no phone, no internet, no computer. It was like a flood of silliness, creativity and passion without the distraction of technology. It was the best 10 days I’ve ever spent. I wouldn’t love this lack of technology when traveling to a city, but in nature, I’m all about losing connection with the outside world.

What are you afraid of? Losing one or any of the people closest to me. I have to push that fear away. There’s nothing else that really scares me besides evil people that may want to harm me or my circle.

What part of the future do you see coming and look right in the eyes with comfort and assurance? The only thing calming or assuring about the future is knowing that no matter what happens, I’ll get through it. That’s all I know.

You’re in the woods and you come across the alien from Stranger Things. He wants to chat (that’s an unexpected twist). What’s the one thing you want to tell him about your time on earth? I would tell him about my life and my family, the simple things that make me who I am. I would tell it about love. I would spare it from hearing my thoughts about existence.

Sayre Ziskin, SVZ Interior Design

Sayre Ziskin, SVZ Interior Design