This article was originally featured in the Autumn 2022 “Design Masters” issue of New Orleans Homes Magazine. Article by Lee Cutrone; photo by Sara Essex Bradley.
NANO’s very own Senior Interior Designer + Design Studio Manager, Samantha Johnson, has been featured as a 2022 Design Master in New Orleans Homes Magazine! Samantha was named Master of Interior Design, one of the nine Design Masters in this year’s 2022 autumn issue.
As the Senior Interior Designer and Design Studio Manager at NANO, Samantha’s career has focused on commercial projects, including historic renovations, tenant fit-outs, retail and hospitality, and large-scale multi-use facilities. “I take pride in my communication skills and attention to detail, which catapulted my career into project management of multimillion-dollar interior and architectural projects.”
Why/how did you become an interior designer?
My teacher in a middle school woodshop class noticed my technical ability and encouraged me to explore architecture and interior design. In high school, I became studied the effects that light and shadow have on three-dimensional space. I later pursued a degree at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York where I further developed my passion for the artistry and awareness of scale when designing interiors.
Who are your mentors, what are your influences, inspirations?
I am heavily influenced by research on the human condition, especially how physical space affects us more than we realize. My mentors include my middle school drafting teacher, Mr. Stephenson, my first boss after college, Chandler Pierce, and Terri Dreyer, owner of NANO, who always reminds me that nothing is out of reach.
Tell us about one of your favorite or most important projects.
I always seek out challenge and The Dead Rabbit, an Irish restaurant set to open in the French Quarter, has been one of the most challenging projects I have managed, but, because of this, also one of the most rewarding. Every aspect has required intensive research and attention to detail. I have worked to navigate the historic restoration, life safety codes, and the massive feat of squeezing a full-size kitchen and two bars into less than 5,000 square feet.
What has your work taught you?
Working as an Interior Designer in an architectural, male-dominated industry, has taught me that with even a little bit of persistence and determination, you can achieve anything you set out to, regardless of what your degree or job title happens to be.
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