Margarita Bravo is more than just an interior designer. She is a mother, wife, investor and entrepreneur, among other things. With clients and offices in a variety of locations including Denver, Miami and Montecito, California. Design has always been her passion. “As a child, I remember walking the streets of Venezuela with my grandfather, who was a builder, feeling wonderstruck at all the structures that he built in our small town. Watching something magnificent get built from scratch has always got my juices flowing.”
After getting a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering while in Venezuela, she began to transition into interior design after remodeling her own home as well as those of friends and family members. She tells me, “I started to connect the dots and finally decided to formalize my passion for interior design and make it a way of living. I find interior design to be the best way to connect my engineering background and technical approach with my creativity.”
I recently spoke with Bravo about her passion and approach to design as well as the challenges of working in the field today.
How did you get your start?
In addition to my bachelor’s degree, I studied interior design in New York and have a second interior design degree from the European Institute of Design in Barcelona, Spain.
My first job was as an engineer in training. I switched to finance and then started my studio design firm in 2015. My first project was a master bath renovation for a family friend.
How would you describe your style?
When it comes to the question of interior design style, our real job is to translate our client’s vision and personality and bring it to life. I guess it is an unselfish way to say that it is about their style, not ours. At the end of the day, it is their home and their space.
Our job is to truly get to know our clients, understand their vision and build a reality based on that so they live in a space that we design and build to their liking and desires. In the end, it is all about the client and nothing else.
Margarita Bravo designs are location-specific with a minimalistic and eclectic approach to them. Our designs are centered on our client’s vision while we combine different natural elements, fixtures, artwork, colors, fabrics and other aspects of design that make a lasting impact on the space we are designing.
What’s your secret design sauce?
As a designer, I believe my background in both architecture and interior design―as well as my world travels―set me apart. I embrace the use of mixing different textiles to create a beautiful, sophisticated environment for my clients, which may include metals, woods, patterns, colors, etc. One of my favorite parts of being an interior designer is helping source original artwork for my clients as it is a reflection of their personalities and truly brings their space to life.
What’s the first thing you do when you start working with a new client?
We approach with open minds and an open design book. Every client is different and, therefore, their design wants and needs are different. An initial meeting should be to discuss and share thoughts on rooms, color palettes, textures, patterns, moods and vibes the client is wanting to achieve. That is what is so beautiful about the design world―it is a new project and work of art each time.
What trends or looks are your least favorite?
Messy anything [such as] unorganized closets, cabinets and pantries create unorganized and messy minds and lives. Once you start the organization process, everything else will fall into place.
I dislike unmade beds. Not only do beautiful linens transform your bedroom into a stylish, trendy comfort zone, which reflects your taste and character, but they also provide better sleep, which improves the quality of your life. The quality of your sheets can make all the difference in creating comfortable sleep. Choose bedding that doesn’t trap heat, so you don’t sweat at night and eventually wake up.
What have been your biggest design challenges?
From supply chain issues, such as the lumber shortage, foam shortage and shipping container shortage, to various state mandates regarding manufacturing and construction regulations, we are struggling to get everything we need in a timely manner. Whether you’re doing a large remodel or just purchasing new furnishings, these delays are going to affect you.
Here’s how we’re handling it: When we make selections for our clients, we are now including additional options so that we can quickly pivot in case of lengthy delays or stock issues. We’re also working closely with our trade partners to stay as up-to-date as possible on their current lead times, though this information changes constantly.
What’s a project you’ve worked on that you’re incredibly proud of?
The master bath design for one of our high-profile clients in Denver involved an innovative way to maximize the limited space available and incorporate European components featuring an Italian backsplash mosaic tile made from recycled TV screens.
Other features for this bath included a built-in warming towel drawer, a radiant heated system for the floor, a smart toilet, temperature control via app for all functions of the bathroom, antifog shower doors and mirrors, and a grout-less tile installation for the shower using metal inlay trim instead to make it more aesthetically appealing from a design standpoint.
What’s a room that the average person overlooks in terms of design?
Storage and pantry rooms are often neglected. One of my favorite design integrations is full-height cabinets. Luxurious custom cabinets won’t look luxe if they end at an arbitrary height with dead space above, which is then often cluttered up with unnecessary decor in an attempt to fill the void. Stacking a small cabinet on top or closing in the space with a solid filler piece or molding creates a much more polished look.