West Texas native Peter Sandel’s portfolio highlights a range of approaches unified in thoughtful floor plans, unique finishes, and exceptional furnishings. Whether it’s full-scale renovations or living room makeovers, he works with clients on cultivating relationships with their homes — spaces that become refined and authentic extensions of their individual personalities.
What inspired this career path for you?
My talented mother, Lauren Sandel, was my first and most influential creative inspiration. When I was growing up, she was the consummate military housewife as we accompanied my father, a Navy pilot and aide to the admiral, around the Middle East, Europe, and throughout the United States. Before retirement to Texas, she managed to relocate our family every few years, while creating homes for us that felt settled and well designed. My mother was a savvy shopper and had a keen sense for antiques. A pair of vintage saddle seats from Bahrain are a treasured reminder of her eye for the extraordinary.
Design has been a natural and lifelong passion, however it wasn’t the obvious career choice. After a decade working as a Capitol Hill lobbyist in both Washington and New York, coupled with the painful loss of my mom to breast cancer, I was inspired to seek change and made a timely move to NYC.
What is your go-to source for inspiration?
My clients are movers and shakers in business, politics, fashion, and television. They provide me with a constant source of inspiration as we collaborate on creating spaces that stylistically feel like them, but also help them function better in their day-to-day life.
Tell us about your creative process.
The creative process begins once I have a firm grasp on my client’s needs. The value in working with a designer is taking advantage of the many resources available to them, and shopping the trade showrooms is one of the most valuable. While online sourcing is efficient, there’s nothing like the experience of having a client touch the fabrics, get the feel of a drawer pull, and understand the polish and grain of a wood finish. It also allows for additional conversation around design goals for the space, and will serve as a great reference point when shopping online later. From there, a collaborative process is born and we move forward with schematics, presentations, procurement, and project management.
Describe your style in 6 words or less.
Refined yet relatable; personalized through layers
What’s a staple in your tool kit?
Established relationships with my vendors and workrooms who are familiar with my approach and who are able to execute in a timely and effective manner are critical to my success. “Stitchroom” is a great example of this type of relationship. Owner Ella Hall and I have worked together for several years; among many things, she knows exactly the feather-down to poly ratio for my pillow inserts. These relationships go a long way in getting it done right the first time.
Who do you look up to in the design world?
Jed Johnson, Jeffrey Bilhuber, Bobby McAlpine, and Joseph Dirand
If you could design a space for anyone, what kind of space and for whom would it be?
The private residence of the White House would be the ultimate project. Many designers have succeeded at making the First Family feel at home through the years, but Michael Smith took it to the next level for the Obamas by curating art and collaborating with designers who would never have appeared in the White House beforehand. That’s inspiring to me.
Tell us your favorite design related word, phrase, or quote.
“Nothing worth doing is easy, but it’s always worth it.”
Your home is an investment in a better way of living, and I’m always pushing my clients to go the extra mile with me. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive rug on the rack, but take the time to get the right size for your space; have it installed correctly with a pad, and lastly, take care of it once it’s in your home. If it takes a designer to help you do all of these things, even better!
Which design blog, website, TV show, or magazine would you be lost without?
Dering Hall, Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, Galerie
What do you love about Viyet?
I recently designed a row house in Washington D.C., but the client’s primary residence is in California, so we did a lot of the sourcing over email and on Facetime. My clients wanted the master bedroom furnished in a month, so immediately they started sending me retail furniture. Knowing that even retail furniture has extended lead times, I would respond by sending her better options I found on Viyet. With Viyet’s vast inventory of showroom samples, styles, and price options, paired with reliable lead times on shipping, we managed to have the master bedroom installed on schedule. I love that we didn’t have to sacrifice quality and high-end furnishings to meet a tight deadline.