Florencia Turco DeRoussel, principal of Within Studio, on etiquette, old-fashioned phones, and why she might say no to Oprah.
Are you an early bird or night owl? “Neither. I like to think of myself as a midday hummingbird. I’m at my most productive between 9am and 3pm. I’m flapping my wings, getting things done. I never get to bed before 10pm; I’m involved with a lot of non-profits so I always have events I have to attend. And I have to be up by 7am. But mornings are really bad for me. The earlier I get up, the worse I feel. It’s like I’ve been pregnant my entire life.”
Favorite accessory? “My red phone. It’s an old classic telephone piece that hooks up to your iPhone. I got it from nativeunion.com. I love it because modern phones heat up really fast and with this I can coil the red cord around my fingers like I did as a kid with my grandmother’s phone.”
Favorite faux pas? “I had an intern and she was Muslim and one day my colleague and I said we were going out for lunch and to have some wine. She looked at us and she said ‘I can’t’ and she went quiet. Etiquette says you should not offer a women liquor, and also it was Ramadan so she was fasting anyway. I felt I should know better.”
Dream client? “Who wouldn’t like to have Trump or Oprah because there’s nothing they couldn’t do. But anyone could put $1m into a home and it would look fabulous. For me it’s more creative to take something from Target and make it look trendy. My dream client would be a woman leaving a women’s shelter for the first time. How wonderful would it be for me to work with people who couldn’t afford me? If I could dedicate time to helping women create a home for themselves for the first time, that would be awesome. I would love to look at adding a non-profit entity to my company for something like that.”
If I wasn’t an interior designer I would be… “A food and wine critic. I know nothing about food but I love to eat. I know nothing about wine but I love to drink. I would eat and drink my way around the world and have them all be scared when I went into their restaurant.”
If I could change one thing I would... “Make HGTV come with a disclaimer that said ‘All designers are not like this!’ It’s a false reality. The shows are fun but it’s not real. Coming in and spray painting a laminate countertop and expecting things to last, it’s giving our clients a false sense of what’s really doable.”
Florencia is the owner of interior design firm Within Studio, part of 88 Cushing, a collection of multiple design disciplines in downtown Tucson.