Introducing Home’s Digital Design Director, Priscilla Cummins. Priscilla is one third of the super creative Sandia Home team.
Q. Sandia Home was founded by your Mom, Debby, and her friend Ellen. What is it like to work with your Mom?
A: I love working with my Mom. We have always talked on the phone every day, so this seems so natural. Plus I feel like I am a great translator for her. She is immensely creative, and I love taking her ideas and distilling them into what works for our business. This frees her up to do what she loves: ideating, creating, and pulling fabrics and trims. These are things I am too impatient to do. I like a finished, marketable product.
Q: Your company offers such unique, eye-catching pieces like the Pagoda headboard and The Poppy Ottoman. How do you come up with these designs?
A. The design is all my Mom and Ellen. We like to say everyone gets a vote. I try to stay out the design process as much as possible because I really trust them, but when I see a trend cropping up, I’ll check in. Usually it is old news to them, and they have a piece that captures it, and is already in production.
Q. What design trends are you seeing for 2021?
A. Color, Color, Color! As much as I love blue and white (my whole house is blue and white,) I think we are moving away from ginger jars and blue and white as a trend. It is a classic, so it will always look good in your home--don’t throw it away! But it’s time for new motifs. I think the wallpaper trend will grow, especially with larger scale patterns. Brightly colored contemporary art is a trend. Art in general. It is a wonderful way to support small businesses, and I especially love to buy from local artists or from artists in places I’ve traveled. The artists I’m loving now really complement our bright ottomans and headboards. I think we will see a slow down on fast, disposable furniture. The poor quality, lack of individuality, and environmental impact is a turn off. Artisan or custom made products mixed with antiques brings a more modern, fresh approach to your home. The antique “brown furniture” trend is on the rise. Collecting antiques is about to be really hot again. People are seeing the value, longevity, and craftsmanship in a 200-year old piece, and it is far better for the environment than a new one.
Q. Priscilla, you run the day-to-day operations, and are the social media face of Sandia Home. What's your background?
A. I have a dual degree in Fashion Design and History of Art from The University of Cincinnati, Design Art Architecture Planning. I am really lucky. We have a world class design school right here in town. I worked for lululemon for eight years, and it was truly the best experience. It taught me so much about running a business, developing people, and customer experience. Anytime you walk into a lululemon you have fun. I want to make sure Sandia Home is known for an amazing experience and fantastic products. If our social and website makes you smile, and takes you on a mini vacation, then I feel like I am doing my job.
Q. We have to ask...If you could only have one Sandia Home product in your home, which one would you choose and why?
A. I love the Poppy Ottoman. The shape has so much personality and the lucite legs are a traditional shape in an unexpected material. The size is so versatile. It works as a coffee table alternative, and it will be perfect in the center of my dream closet!
Q. What is something your customers can look forward to in the future from Sandia Home?
A. We are working on more shapes to swap out your coffee table. We heard loud and clear that comfort, without sacrificing style, is what our customers are looking for.
Q. Part of your job is to manage Sandia Home’s Instagram. What are some of your favorite accounts to follow?
A. For home and design I’ve been following several accounts for ages and my favorites are @theglampad, @thepinkpagoda, @trellishomedesign, and @meredithlewis05. I also like following women who are down to earth and share their everyday lives. I love @graceatwood. She is so honest and funny. Plus she has great book recommendations. I started following @danarebecca during lockdown. Her jewelry is gorgeous, but her commentary about her kids and her candy addiction is what keeps me coming back. Other favorites are @mackenziehoran, @carly, @simplyelsa, @houseofharper, and @lizadams. And I’m obsessed with @thehomeedit. I would never be able to keep my closets that organized, but I love their color styling.
Q. What's your go-to dish to make when entertaining?
A. Well as we haven’t done any entertaining in a while, I’ve been making mini celebrations for my family. I love creating a beautiful table setting and a theme menu. Over the Pandemic Summer we couldn’t get enough of this New York Times corn salad with tomatoes, feta and mint. I probably made it once a week. It is super simple, fresh and light. It is great with tacos, as a side with fish, or tossed onto a green salad. It is part of my permanent rotation and will definitely be served to guests.
Q. Who are your style icons, and how did you develop your own style?
A. Growing up with my mother, an interior designer and writer, I was lucky enough to be surrounded by a variety of designs, and to experience her evolution of style. This early introduction and appreciation for art, fabric and colors had a huge impact on my view of the world. We had a Pedro Friedeberg chair in our front hall, and as a young child I was so embarrassed when friends would come over and point it out. But the polished wood was really fun to sit on and swish back and forth. It wasn't until college that I actually understood the chair and its construction. When tasked with creating a sculpture out of thin slices of wood, then sanding it down to make a fluid organic shape, mine looked less like Friedberg and more like a potato.
My style has continued to evolve and so has my furniture. I tend to buy very judiciously, as I know I will keep the piece for ever. My mom and I have a sort of lending library with our furniture. My husband was baffled by this until he was the benefactor of a great Scalamandre tufted wingback. It works as we start with well built pieces and swap them between rooms or houses based on our decorating. This saves room in the budget for the real showstoppers and special pieces.
My all time favorite loan was the John Dickinson metal console. It spent a year or two in my post college condo. I had an epic party and served spinach dip from it.
When decorating my own home I lean towards the classics: Mario Buatta, Dorthy Draper and a bit of Billy Baldwin. If my real estate history is anything to go on, then I 100% agree with Elsie De Wolf, "I believe in optimism and plenty of white paint."
Q. What coffee table books you would recommend to someone building their collection?
A: Two favorites are How They Decorated by P. Gaye Tapp and The Decorated Home by Meg Braff. Not only are they fun to read, the covers are beautiful, and the two together make a perfect stack on an ottoman.
Q: What are your five must have, stranded on a desert island, things?
A: This is an easy one for me! Sunglasses, a sweatshirt, coffee, a Yeti filled with ice water, and my phone. I pretty much have them with me at all times everyday. I never leave the house without sunglasses. I'm a classic Ray-Bans girl and have worn aviators for as long as I can remember. Yes, I would take a sweatshirt with me to a desert island. It's a running joke with my family that I have a different thermostat than the rest of the world. I drink a lot of water! I love it cold, with a straw, and with lots of ice. The Yeti tumbler has been a game changer for me. The good thing is, if you are ever thirsty in the car, I've got you covered. My phone is a tough one. I love how I can do everything for work from it, but at the same time, it is hard to be constantly attached and compelled to check on everything. I am good about powering down on Sundays and not checking our feed or scrolling for hours. I work hard to have clear boundaries between work and home.
Thanks for joining us for a Q & A with Sandia Home’s Digital Design Director Priscilla. We can’t wait to watch as Sandia Home grows!
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