Design Direction: Start with Art - Add a Splash to Your Entryway with Bessie Seeley

byTeam GM

4 years ago

Ready to be inspired? This week’s Start with Art feature is a special one. If you haven’t already seen on our website, we’re currently offering 30% off all Aerial Beach prints to celebrate Summer! We teamed up with Bessie Seeley of Kardinia Interior Designto show you how you can style your own beach print in your home and give some tips for decorating with art. Keep reading to see how Bessie added a splash of color with Bondi Beach Diagonal.

Hi! I’m Bessie, Creative Director and Owner of Kardinia Interior Design, a firm I launched just under two years ago to fulfill my passion for all things interiors. What I love most is designing spaces that make my clients feel perfectly at home in a space they’re proud of, that truly reflects their personality and their style but that has an element of surprise, maybe that one thing that they just didn’t think of themselves. I was born in Dakar, Senegal, and lived overseas during my early childhood before my parents settled in Merritt Island, FL where I grew up. I’ve lived in the Orlando/Winter Park area since college with my husband Jason and our 6-year-old son, Harrison. I have always loved interior design, decorating, and all things home. The very first home I fell in love with was my grandparents’ home in Melbourne, Australia – and in fact, my business is named after the street they lived on, Kardinia Road. After graduating from Rollins College in Winter Park, FL and then going on to get my MBA, I started working in corporate America and worked my way up in my firm all while holding onto this passion of mine and designing and decorating and helping friends style their homes on the side. The full remodel of our very own home in 2009 really ignited my passion for interior design and I knew that I wanted to help others with their homes as well. In 2018, six months after the birth of my second son Matthew, I decided to just go for it and said that if I helped one person turn their home into something they loved even more than before, then it would be all worth it. I launched a website, offered to design a friend’s master bathroom and bedroom, and had some photos taken. That project turned into another project, which turned into another project, and here we are, now a full-service interior design firm and team of two specializing in residential interiors (although I wouldn’t turn down the opportunity to design commercially – a restaurant, coffee shop or salon would be a dream!). My life has taken a different turn since launching my business just under two years ago. Our beautiful son Matthew passed away in March of 2019 at the age of 1 after several weeks under hospice care. Since that time, I have poured my heart and my soul into this business as this work brings me so much joy at a time that I need it most.

How would you define your interior design style?

I believe that any room or space filled with things that inspire you can be beautiful. I love clean lines and modern spaces with hints of traditional and contemporary elements. I love mixing patterns and textures. I love bold prints mixed with neutral palettes. I love timeless and elegant design. Our signature style can be characterized as modern, fresh, classic, and timeless. The ultimate goal is for our clients to feel as though every single detail in their home that we touch was well thought out and cohesive with the design of the rest of the home. We pull our inspiration from many different places, but we start with really listening to each and every one of our clients and hearing their story and really getting to know them. We take great pride in creating exquisitely customized and thoughtful designs tailored to our clients’ specific wants and needs. I am extremely hands-on (a self-proclaimed perfectionist) and work tirelessly from conception to construction to the last finishing detail.

What drew you to Bondi Beach Diagonal from Gray's À la Plage series?

I have the fondest memories of trips to Australia to visit my extended family growing up. My mother was born and raised there and all of my relatives still live there. My cousin and his family at one point had a little beach bungalow within walking distance from Bondi Beach and I have the best memories of time spent there. In late 2012, before we started our family, my husband and I took a trip to Australia and have some wonderful memories from our time in Sydney and Bondi Beach especially. It is the most picturesque and beautiful white sandy beach in the heart of Sydney surrounded by shops and restaurants and beachside cafes. It’s a place that will always hold a special place in my heart and I’m looking forward to taking my son there one day soon!

What did you pick out as the most important elements of the print to incorporate into the space?

The most important elements to me for designing this space around the art was texture and color. I wanted the space to feel light, bright and airy and wanted to bring in a coastal vibe. I brought in texture with the woven rattan console table and table lamp and then added color and pattern with the coffee table books, runner, greenery and aqua vases. I love how all of the design elements work cohesively together to create a space that feels just like the beach – relaxing, calming and serene.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone who wants to design a space and start with art?

Choose a piece of art that means something to you. My favorite pieces of art to incorporate into clients’ homes are ones that evoke a feeling, a memory, something sentimental they may have picked up during travels overseas, a vintage piece, or even a framed piece of their child’s artwork. Art that fills your walls should make you feel good and be something you’re immediately drawn to. I think art is a perfect way to really make a space your own. And, art can be the jumping off point that you can use as your foundation for how you want the rest of the space to feel. Overall, follow your heart – whether it’s a black and white photograph or it’s one of Gray Malin’s beautiful prints – choose something that makes you smile and brings you joy.

If you’re ready to add a splash of beach to your home, you can shop all Aerial Beach prints at 30% off here. Make sure to stay up to date with Bessie on her Instagram and website.


Team GM

Interior Photography: Amalie Orrange Photography