The Art of Design: Scott Sanders and His Big Reveal
The reveal is always the best part.
After months of work and consultation, Scott Sanders pulls the curtain back on what he has done as an interior designer. The work is transformative and inspiring for both Sanders and his clients, and the many days and nights working toward making their collective vision a reality comes to an end with the reveal.
“I’ve had many clients be reduced to tears,” Sanders says.
One client said it best after he and his wife first saw the work that Sanders had done to their home. Walking into the bedroom, he turned to Sanders and said, “It will be very hard not to be happy in a room this beautiful.”
Scott Sanders is the owner and principal designer of Scott Sanders LLC, a full-service design firm specializing in bespoke interiors with offices in Palm Beach and New York City.
Sanders has completed memorable and elegant projects in New York City, the Hamptons, Boston, Nantucket, Palm Beach, Aspen, California, Paris and beyond. In addition to his residential work, Sanders has designed three iconic hotels and participated in the prestigious Kips Bay Decorator Show House New York.
For the Kips Bay Decorator Show House Palm Beach 2023, he has been selected to design the family room.
His interest in design began when he was a young boy in his hometown of Piqua, Ohio. His father and grandfather were real estate investors and home builders.
Young Sanders’ eye was captured by the finer details of the homes; the lines in the bricks or the shades of grey in the stone. He also saw the layout and design of rooms from a bird’s eye view, envisioning where furniture could be placed, or the color palette of the room.
“My grandfather noticed my affinity for design and began to let me decorate the spec homes he was building,” Sanders says. “At 10 or 12 years old he was asking me what I thought of floor plans and he would actually take my advice.”
Sanders’ mother and grandmother also nurtured his interest. “My grandmother used to let me rearrange the furniture in her house,” he says. “My family truly embraced my interests.”
Sanders earned his undergraduate at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. After graduation, he moved to New York City.
“I’ve never looked back,” says Sanders who, with his husband Peter Wilson, owns homes in East Hampton and Palm Beach.
Sanders began his professional career at Ralph Lauren, working in the company’s interior design department as a lead interior designer. When he decided to leave the company to attend Parsons School of Design, Ralph Lauren offered to work with his education schedule and he began working in the Madison Avenue office.
When Sanders returned to New York City and decorated his apartment, he began to get compliments on his design ability. His first paying client was his eye doctor — who he is still in touch with — in 1995.
“I knew this was where I had been heading, and I began to build my own business,” Sanders says.
He founded his firm Scott Sanders Interior Designs in 2000 and has since had his work featured in a myriad of impressive publications, including Architectural Digest, House Beautiful, Galerie, The Washington Post and many more.
Sanders is the author of two books: The Insider Guide to the Lord Baltimore Hotel and Baltimore, Too and Picture Perfect: Designing the New American Family Home.
His business increased dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic, when people were forced to spend more time in their homes or sought homes in other cities. Having moved to Palm Beach to ride out COVID, Sanders began to work with New York clients who had purchased homes in Florida. In short order, he opened a Palm Beach office, which continues to grow.
Despite the company’s growth, Sanders is still intimately involved in every project. “We limit what we take on so I can take part in all of our jobs,” Sanders says. “I love to be hands-on.”
His designs fuse vintage and modern styles, seeking out classic pieces that dovetail with a new feel to establish an eclectic and classic feel. “Design elements need to be cohesive and to flow throughout a home,” Sanders notes. “You want a warm and inviting room, somewhere you want to spend more time alone, or entertaining.”
Colors can be inspired by geography. In locales like Palm Beach, blues and pastels may dominate, while in New York City, grays and other shades tell the story of a home.
Sanders and Wilson have had a property on the East End for 15 years, and they recently built a new home in East Hampton. “It is so important to plan every aspect of a home before ground is broken,” Sanders says. “Everybody needs to have the same goals and vision from the start.”
He has a long list of loyal clients. “I am very fortunate,” he says. “I love my clients.”
But what Sanders does — what any good designer does — is help create a better environment for people to live better. A welcoming room can change the way a person thinks or feels.
“It’s more than just design,” Sanders says. “I want people to know what a beautifully-designed room can do for how you live, and how you feel. I love doing this work.”
Todd Shapiro is an award-winning publicist and associate publisher of Dan’s Papers.