Coffee With: Tamara Archer of T. Archer Design

Q&A With Tamara Archer

Casaza: How did you get your start?
Tamara Archer:
I completed my design degree at the beginning of the recession, so design firms were not doing much hiring. I was living downtown Miami at the time, and I listed my interior design services on my building’s intranet site. Someone responded and hired me to design her condo. Soon after, more residents hired me to design their spaces. My first client even hired me again when she relocated to a different city. That gave me the confidence to keep going and to start my business. It’s been 10 years and I’ve been on my own ever since.

Blue dining room designed by Tamara Archer of T. Archer Design
Design by T. Archer Design

C: How would you describe your style?
My style is contemporary eclectic with a touch of exotic flare. I like incorporating modern coastal and tropical Caribbean influences in my designs.

C: Where do you get new ideas and inspiration?
My favorite place to draw inspiration from is the beach. The scenery and the sounds get my creativity flowing whenever I’m feeling blocked. Also, traveling, meeting new people, and exposing myself to different cultures always spur new ideas.

C: Favorite room in the house?
I call it my Femme Den. I love hanging out in there because it’s cozy, sunny and bright. There’s a large picture window that provides a great view of my zen garden in the backyard. It’s a multi-functional space where I can work, relax, binge watch my shows, and entertain family and friends.

C: Design rule you don't subscribe to?
I don’t pay much attention to design rules. There are design principles that I practice to ensure functional and well-designed spaces, but I don’t let rules limit me.

C: Recent project that inspired you?
I worked on the design for a new coffee shop in Brooklyn, in the same neighborhood where I grew up. Although the neighborhood has changed a lot over the years, visiting is still a very nostalgic experience for me. The opportunity to go back home and be a part of the changing landscape and new-age entrepreneurship was very inspiring.

C: Favorite texture/pattern/color?
Blue has always been my favorite color. I tend to gravitate a lot towards blue and gray hues in my designs, and my clients love it. My designs are conducive to serene spaces, and those colors help induce relaxation and tranquility.

C: What is “good design” to you?
When I walk into a space, I want to feel inspired, moved or transported to another place. Good design is design that evokes positive emotions and memories.

C: Pack your bag! You're moving into a famous home. Whose is it?
It would have to be Marc Anthony’s home in the Dominican Republic. I love its modern tropical style. There are so many beautiful exotic wood finishes and lush plants. The home is open and airy—the indoors seamlessly blend with the outdoors. The breathtaking views make it the quintessential tropical oasis. I would probably never leave home.

C: What’s your rule when entertaining?
I just want my guests to feel relaxed and at ease. Sometimes my friends and family will come over and don’t want to lean on a throw pillow or kick their feet up because they say that everything looks so put together. I have to tell them that nothing in my home is off limits. Every pillow, throw, and chair should be used!

C: Best advice for DIYers?
Before you begin, assess the complexity of the project and make sure that you have the skill and the time to commit to seeing it all the way through. Lack of preparation can result in mistakes that can be costly in the long run.

Marc Anthony's home in the Dominican Republic
Marc Anthony's Home in the Dominican Republic | Courtesy of Architectural Digest

C: Best advice for those hiring a pro?
The relationship between you and your designer is very important as you’ll be working closely together, possibly for the next several months. Look at the designer’s work and make sure that their design aesthetic is a good fit for your style. Ask a lot of questions so that you have a thorough understanding of their process and know what to expect. Once you’ve determined that a designer is the right fit for you, be candid with them about your interests, things that inspire you, your hobbies, and really show them your personality. Your space should be a reflection of your individuality and self-expression. So, the more your designer understands who you are, the better they can create a space tailored for you.

C: What is one design trend are you most excited about this season?
I really don’t follow trends because I believe that good design should be timeless. However, I do like that I’ve been seeing more gold metal accents being incorporated. Used on furniture legs, lighting, and décor. It’s a refreshing change from chrome and silver.

C: How do you take your coffee?
My signature coffee is white chocolate cappuccino with coconut milk and an extra shot of espresso.

Open concept kitchen and living room design by Tamara Archer of T. Archer Design
Design by T. Archer Design