Shawn Henderson’s Sophisticated Home Interior Designs

From rustic beginnings come sophisticated results – at least that’s the case with New York interior designer Shawn Henderson. Growing up in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York imbued Henderson with a respect for spaces that he takes very seriously when designing home interiors for his clients.

Rather than compete with the view, the room showcases the city beyond the stunning floor-to-ceiling windows.View in gallery
Rather than compete with the view, the room showcases the city beyond the stunning floor-to-ceiling windows.

Modern urban apartments, country retreats and historic plantations — Henderson’s home interior design artistry spans an impressive range of styles. His high-end design firm creates sophisticated yet serene interiors for clients around the world. Indeed, Henderson’s roster of clients is impressive, including celebrities such as NASCAR drivers and Hollywood A-listers like comedian Will Ferrell. His work has been featured in interior design magazines across the globe.

This project in a building on Central Park in New York City is an example of how Henderson uses combines a serene palette with interesting textures, letting the view speak for itself.View in gallery
This project in a building on Central Park in New York City is an example of how Henderson uses combines a serene palette with interesting textures, letting the view speak for itself.

Peruse his design projects and you’ll immediately get a sense of calm that Henderson works to create. Introspective Magazine called him a “modern classicist with a bit of a zen streak.” And, while his design palette is serene, it’s certainly not boring. Look closely and you’ll see the splashes of color that he favors to accent his interiors. Look even more closely and you’ll see that each space also “tells a story with textures,” Henderson says.

Homedit asked Henderson about his work, client relations, and his home interior design advice:

Many interior designers have a “look” and as soon as you see a space, you know who designed that interior. How do you keep your designs fresh, so that what you create is distinctive for every client? 

I have to think about that all the time. I look at some of these designers and the work is recognizable – you see it and you know. I struggle because I get bored easily and I constantly want to challenge myself to come up with something different. The main thing is that each space has to be a reflection of that space and the client’s needs.

The sitting room is also designed with a neutral palette, but is punctuated by the artwork, the upholstered wall area above the bed, and textured rug.View in gallery
The sitting room is also designed with a neutral palette, but is punctuated by the artwork, the upholstered wall area above the bed, and textured rug.

How do you choose which clients you will work with, and what is that relationship like?

I take on a project if the chemistry is right…Clients chose a designer because they have natural attraction to the work that they do. All designers work in different ways.

When you hire a designer, you’re hiring a professional to do something that you don’t know how to do. Our job is to make a space for you where you feel comfortable.

The stunning master bathroom of the Central Park home is relaxing as well as supremely functional, again taking advantage of the spectacular view.View in gallery
The stunning master bathroom of the Central Park home is relaxing as well as supremely functional, again taking advantage of the spectacular view.

Is it more like a collaboration?

Yes, it’s a collaboration, but ultimately there has to be a level of trust in the designers so they can execute their vision and do what you hired them to do.

The fascinating grain of the wood cabinetry is the focal point of the home's office. Again the textures of the wood, walls and sofa keep the neutral palette visually engaging.View in gallery
The fascinating grain of the wood cabinetry is the focal point of the home’s office. Again the textures of the wood, walls and sofa keep the neutral palette visually engaging.

What’s your favorite type of client?

The more successful projects are those that entrust me to do my thing. You can sort of tell in the beginning because they don’t try to force the relationship.

The fully equipped and modern kitchen has every amenity the family needs. The clean lines of the design allow the cabinetry and countertops to shine.View in gallery
The fully equipped and modern kitchen has every amenity the family needs. The clean lines of the design allow the cabinetry and countertops to shine.

What are your favorite types of projects?

As much as I love the city, it’s great working outside of New York City. For the first time, most of my work is happening in other areas.

I love working in homes that have incredible bones and architecture. It’s incredibly inspiring to a designer. I just worked on a project that is completely different and really fun. It’s an old Mississippi plantation house…The house is on the National Register, so the builder and architect led the charge with structural changes and I designed the interior.  We did have some limitations, like we couldn’t engage the ceiling with any moldings because it would have been historically inaccurate.

What little girl wouldn't love the calm colors and fun hanging chair in this bedroom?View in gallery
What little girl wouldn’t love the calm colors and fun hanging chair in this bedroom?

What projects are most challenging?

The ones where clients are less willing to give you trust and control.

Do you get clients who think they can do it themselves or that pieces are too expensive –it’s cheaper online?

That’s interesting, because you know, I was among the last of a generation that actually had to walk the streets of New York and shop for items for projects. This is the TV and internet generation. There’s so much information available. Sometime people get the sense that things can happen cheaply and overnight. They don’t see all the hard work behind the scenes.

Many high-end interior designers seem to stick to a neutral palette and don’t use much color. Looking through your projects, I see that you’re not afraid to use color.

I love color! I tend to use it in monochromatic ways in my designs – I don’t love crazy color combinations. I love ambiguous colors, colors that are in-between. In the plantation project I used a lot of color, but it was more subdued, often with a touch of gray. There was a dusty pink room, a bluish green room.

The design of the dining area is elegant and comfortable, without being stuffy. The unique table base is a wonderful addition of wood to the sleek area.View in gallery
The design of the dining area is elegant and comfortable, without being stuffy. The unique table base is a wonderful addition of wood to the sleek area.

Do you ever do dark colors on walls?

Oh yes. I did a burgundy bedroom, where the wall was red-wine colored. It had neutral accents like a creamy white leather headboard. I’ve upholstered walls in army green…

Whimsical and functional without being childish, the boy's bedroom is equipped with spaces for play as well as relaxation.View in gallery
Whimsical and functional without being childish, the boy’s bedroom is equipped with spaces for play as well as relaxation.

What four things would you say to a homeowner who wants to work with an interior designer for the first time?

Know your budget.

Make sure that you connect with the designer aesthetically.

Like the designer as a person because it’s a very intimate process.

Don’t be afraid to be honest.

With a rapidly expanding portfolio of global clients, Henderson’s range will only grow. We can’t wait to see what he creates next.

Considering working with a home interior designer and have questions about how to approach the process or what to expect?  Ask Homedit!

Connecticut Farmhouse

Featured in numerous magazines, this Connecticut farmhouse was a recent project for Henderson.View in gallery
Featured in numerous magazines, this Connecticut farmhouse was a recent project for Henderson.
The home's dining room features an enormous table, paired with unusual chairs, reminiscent of church pews.View in gallery
The home’s dining room features an enormous table, paired with unusual chairs, reminiscent of church pews.
Juxtaposing the client's modern art with the rustic elegance of this living room design creates a homey yet sophisticated space. Texture plays a large role in the design.View in gallery
Juxtaposing the client’s modern art with the rustic elegance of this living room design creates a homey yet sophisticated space. Texture plays a large role in the design.
The soaring beamed ceiling of the home provides for a breathtaking living room design.View in gallery
The soaring beamed ceiling of the home provides for a breathtaking living room design.
Modern and clean, yet with a farmhouse feel, the kitchen is the perfect family gathering spot.View in gallery
Modern and clean, yet with a farmhouse feel, the kitchen is the perfect family gathering spot.
Serene and inviting, the master bedroom plays up the gentle green accent and textures through the room.View in gallery
Serene and inviting, the master bedroom plays up the gentle green accent and textures through the room.
A second bedroom exudes comfort and simplicity.View in gallery
A second bedroom exudes comfort and simplicity.
Henderson again makes a child's space appealing with sophisticated whimsy and fun features.View in gallery
Henderson again makes a child’s space appealing with sophisticated whimsy and fun features.
The farmhouse's office uses unique furnishings, such as the eye-catching one-legged conjoined tables.View in gallery
The farmhouse’s office uses unique furnishings, such as the eye-catching one-legged conjoined tables.

Village Townhouse

Modern art is a colorful pop in this sophisticated entryway.View in gallery
Modern art is a colorful pop in this sophisticated entryway.
The large kitchen features stunning wood for the cabinetry.View in gallery
The large kitchen features stunning wood for the cabinetry.
Another pop of color in the townhouse is in the living room where blue pillows and a chair, as well as the artwork planned with the view out the window.View in gallery
Another pop of color in the townhouse is in the living room where blue pillows and a chair, as well as the artwork planned with the view out the window.
The wood walls make a serene backdrop for the homeowner's colorful artwork and the modern desk.View in gallery
The wood walls make a serene backdrop for the homeowner’s colorful artwork and the modern desk.
Floor to ceiling paned windows that offer a prized view of the nature outside are the focal point of this tranquil sitting room.View in gallery
Floor to ceiling paned windows that offer a prized view of the nature outside are the focal point of this tranquil sitting room.
The green accent chairs in the family room seem to mimic the view outside on the patio.View in gallery
The green accent chairs in the family room seem to mimic the view outside on the patio.
Cool wine cellarView in gallery
Cool wine cellar
The home's indescribably gorgeous wine cellar and tasting room are inviting, while making the wine collection as special as a piece of art.View in gallery
The home’s indescribably gorgeous wine cellar and tasting room are inviting, while making the wine collection as special as a piece of art.
Henderson's design for the master bedroom created a serene room for an equally calming view.View in gallery
Henderson’s design for the master bedroom created a serene room for an equally calming view.
This playroom has more than enough space for imaginative play. The amusing rug is yet another example of how Henderson designs child-centered spaces that are fun but not juvenile.View in gallery
This playroom has more than enough space for imaginative play. The amusing rug is yet another example of how Henderson designs child-centered spaces that are fun but not juvenile.
This child's bedroom includes elements with varying visual textures that come together in a very interesting and functional design.View in gallery
This child’s bedroom includes elements with varying visual textures that come together in a very interesting and functional design.

Image Credits: STEVE FREIHON/TUNGSTEN LLC.