Interior designer Sam Allen is known for his “all-American sensibilities” and a “fresh take on classical aesthetics.” Growing up as the son of an interior decorator and home magazine editor (Leslie Allen), he grew up surrounded in an incredibly creative household surrounded by all things beautiful.
Given this early start in design, he did not waste any time. By the time he was a teenager, he had been the assistant to the owner of Dovecote (antiques) in Westport and had accompanied (owner) Sarah Kaplan on multiple buying trips to Paris and the South of France, interned at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and had begun study at FIT for interior design. In true Sam Allen style, he did not wait to graduate before getting his first client at the age of 17, a project which landed itself on the cover of Connecticut Cottages & Gardens. We spoke to Sam about his favorite styles, where he finds inspiration and which design rules were made to be broken.
Fans of Sam’s work will know that he has mastered looks from “Organic Elegance” to “Parisian Hollywood Glamour,” but his current passion has him designing from the ground up. “Currently, I’m absolutely loving doing new builds. There is nothing more rewarding and exciting than seeing a long term project from conception to completion after many months of blood, sweat, and tears. I am a firm believer that the way furnish you home should also reflect the bones of the home, which is why I love being a part of new construction projects where I am able to oversee selection of all materials and finishes on top of the interior design scope of the project.”
While this kind of work requires a great deal of skill and experience, Sam has had both from a young age. “As a young child, I remember getting off the school bus at the end of the day and walking into photo shoots that were going on constantly at home. I was exposed to the world of decorating and styling at a very young age and am very grateful for that.”
This early education paid off when at just 19 years old, he was selected to participate in the “Rooms With A View” show house. “At that point I was still self-taught but had a few small clients and projects under my belt. The whole experience was beyond exciting and a huge honor.”
Photo Credit Hulya Kolabas Photography
They say you need to know the rules before you can break them, and today that is just what Sam is able to do. “People often think of the dining and living rooms as the most formal living spaces, designed for entertaining, making them the largest rooms in the house. We prefer to make the kitchen the center of the home, as that is where we see our clients’ families spend the most time and make the most memories.”
Five Questions with Sam Allen
TLV: Favorite travel destination?
SA: I would have to say Saint Barths. I typically go once a year, and everything from the European island aesthetic to the architecture – it all inspires me! My favorite hotel on the island by far is Cheval Blanc.
TLV: What are you currently watching and/or reading?
SA: I’m not a big TV watcher, but I do love Schitt’s Creek. I currently cannot put down Pauline Brown’s Aesthetic Intelligence. Written by former LVMH chairwoman, Brown writes about harnessing the power of the senses to connect the consumer to a product or brand. This read is especially relevant for companies reevaluating their strategies in the wake of COVID, and right now for us at Sam Allen Interiors while we expand our brand. We are currently working on many exciting new endeavors and cannot wait to share them all with you shortly!
TLV: How would you describe your personal style and/or the style of your own home?
SA: My personal style is extremely tailored, clean and crisp, with European influences.
TLV: What do you do to unwind and / or for self care?
SA: Prior to COVID, I started my mornings at 5:30 with a trainer which I find keeps me mentally fit and sane. It’s all about balance! I’m a huge believer that physical and mental wellness have an undeniable connection.
TLV: Do you have a dream project or something that you would love to work on that you have not yet had the chance to?
SA: Yes – I’ve always wanted to do a restaurant chain. However, we are about to embark on a all new commercial project that we cannot yet disclose, but it is something I have dreamed of doing for a very long time.
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Text by Liana Hayles Newton