December 2018. Valerie Sartini is hosting her traditional holiday party for family and friends. To say this is no ordinary Christmas party undersells it. For the event, Valerie secures space at a friend’s cool old warehouse-y art studio in Venice, has 15 Christmas trees delivered and hangs them upside-down from iron chandeliers in the ceiling. She twinkles and zhuzhes them until the whole place reads “Alice in Wonderland enters magical holiday forest gone rogue.”
When asked how she comes up with these kinds of original ideas that are part of her personal and professional DNA, Valerie laughs long and loud. “I can’t really say,” she says. “I thought it would be really fun to do, and I’d never seen anything like it. It really just comes out of my head.” (Still laughing.)
Present day. Sitting in her chic office full of bright light, Valerie describes her approach to design. “I do follow trends,” she says, “in color, design, architecture—and sometimes I am inspired by them. My goal, though, is never to imitate but rather to create for my clients.”
This creative mindset shows up regularly in the work of her company, Treasures Interior Design. “Sometimes it’s not the big statements that make spaces unique,” Valerie says. “It can be the small, thoughtful adjustments that make something different and fresh.”
Recently, Valerie worked on a boy’s room and mixed a Moroccan area rug and African stools as bedside tables with a contemporary upholstered platform bed. The room was tied together with soothing, monochromatic creams and greys. The twist: All the pieces in the room were slightly off-center—bed straddling carpet, headboard placed far-right between symmetrical windows, artwork uncentered above headboard. “The result is so much more interesting than lined-up squares and rectangles,” she says.
Since restrictions have eased following the long lockdown, Valerie is busier than ever—her creativity in full swing. “We just finished designing a child’s bed with small sliding pockets in the headboard so he can have secret spaces of his own. I love working with kids, listening to their asks and bringing them ideas they’ve never seen or thought possible. That is really fun,” Valerie says.
Christmas trees aren’t the only thing she uses to embellish ceiling spaces. She’s been known to—among other things—beam, lacquer and wallpaper, which is her current obsession. “We try to get everyone to wallpaper their ceilings,” Valerie smiles. “There are so many beautiful colors and textures now. It can really complete a room, and I love it!”
Recently Valerie completed a mudroom where she drew on industrial elements, suspending a dozen brass-topped Edison bulbs from individual orange conduit cables to create a bold lighting fixture front and center. Clean white shelving, a concrete floor and a chalkboard for incoming and outgoing notes to the fam (“Good luck in your match today!”) finish this small but mighty room.
Valerie is fielding calls, surveying her samples and checking her computer for orders behind her oversized desk—a vase of white hydrangeas perched in a corner. She juggles it all with grace and humor, while developing and creating originality and beauty for her clients. It’s what she does. It’s who she is. It’s part of her DNA.