The first time we saw a room designed by Isabel Ladd, we were stunned. Holy maximalism! She's the perfect mix of classic design foundations, modern touches, and lots of fun.
To see a room designed by Isabel is to be fully immersed in an experience of the senses. The more you look, the more you see. And it seems that's not only true of her work but of who she is.
Scroll down to read more about Isabel's story and what inspired her to create in this way...
We know you’re from Brazil and now you’re in Kentucky. Can you tell us a little bit of that story?
My dad breeds and races Thoroughbreds, and since Kentucky is the Horse Capital of the World, the move to a Kentucky horse farm was a natural fit.
On the left: Isabel's Living Room photographed by Katie Charlotte
What inspired you to fall in love with and eventually become a designer?
I went to school for Textile Design at a fashion school in Los Angeles, so I had always been drawn to color and pattern, though I had never considered being an interior designer until later in life. When my kids were babies, I’d have playdates at my house, which was always well decorated and tidy, despite having young children boppin’ about. I strongly believe you do not have to sacrifice style just because you have young kids. Playdate-Friends would ask me to help them pretty-fy their home, so that’s what led me to eventually become a designer: saying yes to one friend at a time!
Growing up, what was your favorite room in the house?
My childhood bedroom, because it was the only room in the house that I could go all out decorating the way I wanted to. I painted the walls sunshine-yellow and I painted all the furniture myself. I had a makeshift business out of my closet called “Crazy for Color” where I sold painted furniture and home accessories to family members.
What is your favorite room in your space now?
I truly love all the rooms in my home equally. I have created each room to have a special purpose: some are more public spaces to hang out with larger groups of people, and others are more sequestered and intimate for when a retreat is needed. Each room is decorated OTT, which brings me joy, regardless of which room I’m in. The only two exceptions are my kids' bedrooms, which are super tacky, per their request. Think The Simpson’s Bed-in-a-Bag + Basketballs with flames, again, Bed-in-a-Bag.
Left: Isabel's Kitchen photographed by Katie Charlotte, Right: Girl's Bedroom designed by Isabel and photographed by Katie Charlotte
Do you have any favorite spaces you’ve created? What made them special?
I love this girl’s bedroom so much because of the vivid layering: the wallpaper is the same pattern as the headboard + bedskirt. The antique rug layered + modern painting over the fireplace + details everywhere. And the pops of Chartreuse (a favorite color!) scattered about: the Stray Dogs Overhead Light + cheeky aloe plant on the mantle, the stools at the end of the bed + chartreuse accents in the throw pillows. And notice the customized lampshades with pretty trim details!
We love your use of color (of course). What’s your favorite color to work with right now?
Yellow! Like, Marigold, Ochre, and Mustard.
Left: Attic Bathroom designed by Isabel and photographed by Andrew Kung, Right: Foyer designed by Isabel and photographed by Andrew Kung
Where do you source a lot of the beautiful pieces that you use in the spaces you create?
I love customizing pieces that may already exist, or making an upgrade to make it spectacular: upholstering a piece of furniture in over-the-top fabric; a thrifted piece I have refinished or painted in a fresh way; or replacing a white lampshade with a custom patterned fabric shade. So in short: I customize anything I can; it’s the most creative and fun part of my work. This bathroom, in particular, is a custom paint job – not wallpaper! – because the walls and ceiling were so wonky and uneven (a quirk of a 100+ year old house!)
Do you have any design predictions for 2023? Give us the scoop!
Maximalist design is in! More color! More patterns! More prints! And we’re keeping the wallpaper game going strong!
Right: Powder Room designed by Isabel and photographed by David Tsay
What are you digging right now? (Podcasts, books, music, movies, shows…)
Podcast: Sounds like a Cult.
Music: I will never not be obsessed with old school Britney songs.
Shows: Stay tuned for my own interior design inspo show coming soon!
What is your favorite account to follow on social media right now?
@PleaseHateTheseThings . It’s the best of the worst!