Make Life Beautiful With Stephanie Sabbe
A conversation with Stephanie Sabbe of Sabbe Interior Design
Stephanie Sabbe designs create a world of her own, and we want to live in it.
After an impressive career in commercial interiors, Stephanie Sabbe started Sabbe Interior Design, honing her acute attention to detail to bring a level of historic charm and originality into each of her projects.
From Tennessee to New England and back, Stephanie tells stories within each of her timeless vignettes, inspiring us to look deeper into the process of creating beautiful spaces.
You may have seen her work featured in design publications across the country, but today we’re excited to share Stephanie’s story and introduce her as our latest guest in our Make Life Beautiful Series!
Tell us about your journey into the creative industry, when did you realize that you could turn your passion into a career?
I have told this story so many times that people are probably sick of it, BUT it’s the truth so I’ll keep on telling it. When I was in the second grade I went to a school carnival. My teacher was running the fortune teller booth so I paid my ticket and took a place at her table. I asked her what I was going to be when I grew up and she looking into her crystal ball (the glass globe from a 1980’s light fixture) and said “interior designer!” I asked her what that was and she explained something about picking drapery and pillows and I was sold, been my story ever since. I majored in interior design in college and got my first job a big commercial firm in Nashville.
One of our favorite moments from Stephanie’s Woodmount project from her portfolio.
"If everyone loves it, you’re not trying hard enough."
If you could go back in time and give your young creator self one piece of advice what would it be?
Design what YOU love. Stick with your gut. Fight for what you are passionate about. And if everyone loves it, you’re not trying hard enough.
A shot we love from Stephanie’s Instagram.
"I feel very passionate leaving the built environment better than we found it."
Where do you find the most inspiration for your work?
I am so inspired by historic architecture and architectural interiors. I crave the craft. I want to build them like they used to. I feel very passionate leaving the built environment better than we found it.
A beautiful moment from Stephanie’s portfolio.
What does your creative process look like?
I love books. I have tons of historic architecture books with photos and details of homes from the early 1900s. I am also a huge fan of English design. There is something so effortless about it. Each project is different so we start with a lot of research, we try to pull inspiration from all over in an effort to create something original for each project.
What was the most significant business or creative challenge that you have encountered and grown from?
My first boss did not think I was very talented, ha! And I am not exaggerating. He told me in my first review “you’re not as talented as we thought you would be” It really killed me. I worked at that firm for two years and then moved on to a firm in Memphis, TN with a really low self esteem. Lucky for me my boss at the new firm was really encouraging and gave me back the confidence I lost those first two years out of school. Four years after working at the second firm I started my own practice.
A charming shot from Stephanie’s portfolio.
What has been your biggest achievement? When was the last time you thought “wow, I can’t believe I just accomplished that!”
Hmm. That’s a hard one. Professionally I would probably say the first time I was published, which was in the real estate section of the Boston Globe, I had that “wow” feeling, like my whole professional future was ahead of me. But it wears off quickly. There’s always the next week or the next month, the next person. So I do not put too much stock in work accomplishments. My big wow moments are more “wow! I got all of my kids to school today with clothes on” or “wow, I can’t believe my husband is still married to me!”
Which upcoming project or endeavor are you most excited for?
I have two pet projects in full swing right now, and a few others on the boards. Both are on the commercial side. It’s basically carte blanche in the creativity department and I have enjoyed designing these space so much. One of the clients I met at the second firm I worked for. We were both the young kids in our companies and now we’re the bosses, ha! But there is that level of trust that allows me to do my best work. And the second client is a creative as well.