For almost 20 years, Shannon Willey has been providing for the East End her expert eye, and bringing a love of coastal-inspired design to her work. While one might imagine décor touches, she takes it much further with a cohesive plan that encompasses everything from long-lasting sustainability, eco-friendly materials, organic and low VOC finishes, and items that are fair-trade whenever possible. She believes that the home is the key to health, happiness, and success. Her work style emphasizes the natural beauty of the East End’s coastal landscape. Sea Green Designs’ goal is to “change the world, one home at a time.”
Shannon, how did you get involved in interior design? Is this something you studied?
I originally got my degree in fashion design, then in environmental studies. It was after working for a summer in a local furniture store that I found a passion for interior design. Both of my degrees have helped me immensely in the field of interior design.
Your specialty is coastal interior design. What are some of the tenets of this style?
This is a great question, because coastal interiors can be anything from modern to cottage style. What is inherent in coastal interior design is the use of colors and textures that evoke the feeling of living on the coast.
You are one of the few interior designers on the East End with a brick-and-mortar retail establishment. Why did you decide to offer products as well as your interior design services?
I actually started out 20 years ago with a 500-square-foot space in Sag Harbor as a decorative painter. I had almost 10 years of retail experience prior to opening my business. So I created a retail space that was also my studio. That continued to evolve over the last 20 years from pieces of furniture I finished myself to my current shop on Jobs Lane, where we offer many lines available in custom finishes, fabrics, and sizes. It also allows me to source and offer products made in a sustainable way, which is very important to me.
What are you currently working on?
We’re currently working on the renovation of a waterfront home in East Quogue, as well as two in East Hampton. We have new client in Water Mill, and we’re finishing off a few in Remsenburg. I am also finishing one up in Virginia, which has been a great experience.
What is your design philosophy that we can see interpreted in your designs? How would you describe your interior design style?
My philosophy is that a house should feel like a home. It is important to know what that means for each client. I really strive to make a space feel the way a client wants it to when they walk in to it. There is no question my style is inspired by the coast. I bring colors and textures of our coastal environment into all of my projects. I also design spaces to function with a coastal lifestyle for our clients who live by the coast.
Is there a project that was your favorite?
I can’t pick a favorite, but the project that will probably be closest to my heart is one I did a few years ago in Remsenburg. I was involved from the time the architect drew up the plans for this client. It was our fourth project together. I love doing new construction projects. It allows us to design all of the details. In this case, I personally faux-finished most of the rooms in the house. I was able to be very creative.
What is it about the East End that you love?
I love our coastal environment including our farmland, our beaches, and the community.
Do you ever have to bid on projects or does an architect or homeowner just call you direct?
I typically don’t have to bid on projects. We get a lot of referrals, and homeowners will call direct. We explain how we work and set up a consultation to determine if we’re a good fit.
Are there any trends that our readers should be aware of? What are you excited about?
The overall trend I see is an eclectic style emerging, where there is a mixture of some antique or vintage piece with new pieces. A beautiful mixture of modern and traditional in a way that is unique to the client is what I’m seeing. I’m excited about the increased use of natural materials that I see, and excited to see that people are more interested in how their home furnishings and accessories are made.
If money were no object, what would you like to design?
I would love to design for a brand-new, oceanfront home where we could work with a builder who builds LEED-certified homes, and we could choose sustainable building materials and furnish and accessorize with hand-crafted pieces, organic linens, no VOC finishes, and create a home where a client walks in and feels like it’s been their home their whole life, where they feel very connected to the space.
What are some of your favorite go-to magazines and/or books for design inspiration?
I love Luxe, Veranda, & HC&G magazines for design inspiration. I also love “Coastal Modern” by Tim Clarke and all of Phoebe Howard’s books.
How are you using social media and has it helped your marketing efforts?
Instagram is my main social media platform, but Facebook is important for us, too. Both are great ways to share our point of view and let people know what’s happening, both in our store and on our projects.
When you’re not designing gorgeous interiors, what do you do for fun?
Walks on the beach with my dog is my daily fun. Rain or shine, it has become a daily habit that brings me a lot of joy. I also love to bake, which I do much more of this time of year. I also still love to draw and paint.
To reach Shannon Willey or inquire about her services, visit www.seagreendesignsllc.com or call 631-259-3612.