Betsy Berry Discusses Her Interior Design Process, Project Challenges, and Her Source of Inspiration

After studying fashion design in Italy, Betsy Berry moved to New York City to pursue her career in design. She attended The New York School of Interior Design and spent eight years working alongside world-renowned designers like David Easton and AD100’s Sills Huniford.

While in New York, Betsy completed luxury commercial projects like The Connaught Hotel in London and The St. Regis Washington DC, as well as large-scale residential projects throughout the United States. During this time, she learned the importance of detail-driven design in a world of mass production; focusing on hand-selected pieces, partnering with artisans for custom finishes, and finding newfound beauty in antique materials.

“It’s my goal to create interiors that inspire. Whether it’s a commercial project or a home, I love collaborating with my clients to create a clean, beautiful space that feels sophisticated yet relaxed – innovative yet inviting. Interiors that create harmony through variation, curation and comfort.”

A native of Hilton Head Island, S.C., Betsy returned to her Lowcountry roots in 2013 and launched B. Berry Interiors in Charleston, SC. With a diverse portfolio spanning both commercial, residential and hospitality projects, Betsy’s work has been featured in Architectural Digest, Domino, Traditional Home, Vogue, ELLE Decor, Garden & Gun, Southern Living and more. In 2018, she was awarded the HD Award for Best Cocktail Bar in America (Vintage Lounge), named a finalist in the 2018 ADAC Southeast Designer of the Year, and honored by Architectural Digest for designing “The Most Beautiful Bar in South Carolina.”

Today, Betsy lives in downtown Charleston with her husband, Robert, and their two daughters, Barker and Fitzy.

Betsy Berry Tell us a bit about your day-to-day – and what you love most about what you do.

Each new project is a blank slate, and I love that no two days are ever the same. In a world full of ever-changing trends, I lean toward classic roots and then layer on playful and modern details. I love the use of traditional patterns on modern upholstered forms as well any form of gingham held against a sleek lacquered interior. The juxtaposition is the innovation that the most respected designers deliver best.

You transitioned from the fashion world to the interior design world – what was it that made you make that switch? 

I was a fashion intern in Florence, Italy, and realized although I loved the creative aspect of fashion design, the culture was not for me. It was too cut-throat. When I started to consider interior design, I realized it was really where I belonged. It’s more personal and one-on-one with clientele, and it gives me the opportunity to create something more concrete and lasting. I wanted to get to know people and how they live, and then create something that they love coming home to.

Betsy Berry

Where do you find inspiration?

I just returned from Paris where I found beautiful details around every corner, from the Tuileries Garden to the Musée Rodin. I loved the textured, monochromatic palettes and juxtaposition of classic architecture with modern art installations. In Charleston, I love strolling around the historic neighborhoods below Broad Street. Tradd and Legare Streets are my favorites for historic homes and lush landscaping.

Betsy Berry Do you have a specific person that’s inspired you or mentored you, that one specific person that’s influenced you?

Some of my mentors include Stephen Sills, whom I worked for in NYC. He is a true talent who I was so fortunate to observe and learn from. There’s also the masterful Stephen Gambrel; I am drawn to his taste on almost every level.

Here in Charleston, I love working with Suzanne Allen from Suzanne Allen Studio. She specializes in custom finishings for all surfaces – everything from custom embossed stencil work to custom mica plaster and custom painted floors. She’s a true artist.

What has been your most challenging project? How did you tackle it?
My husband is a chef, and we’ve worked together on two of his restaurant projects. It’s tough for the same reason, it’s difficult to design your own home; every detail was so personal for both of us. When people come into the restaurant, we want them to experience the authentic Mexican ambiance. Like with all my other projects, I worked with local artisans to install custom pieces throughout, from the graphic wall pattern to the custom metal table bases. In the end, I’m so proud that the spaces reflected both of us. It’s a true collaboration.

Betsy Berry What’s your process with a client when designing their space?
Projects begin with me really getting to know the clients and not only explore what they want their homes to look like but go thru their day to day lives to make sure it all works. We carry a lot in our lives with work and family so creating that sense of respite for the client is what I hope to do while making it all function. We then move into concept presentations and which are the fun part – fabrics, finishes, etc. for approval. Once that is approved, we purchase on the client’s behalf and then track and store all items until the final reveal at the installation. We strive to leave our client’s home “life ready” with the closets full and beds made – picture perfect!

What’s been your favorite project you’ve worked on and why?
86 Cannon is a boutique hotel in the heart of downtown Charleston. It’s the epitome of updated Southern luxury. My team and I worked meticulously to preserve the history of the property while incorporating modern elements throughout. Furnishings evoke classic, clean Southern-style paired with monochromatic touches, hand-painted floors, custom stencil art by local artisans and grass cloth wall coverings, as well as unexpected hues of deep blues, soft reds, and large-scale patterns. Plus, the location can’t be beat! It’s just a bike ride away from the best restaurants and bars in town.

What apps or software can you not live without?
I couldn’t get through the workday without Dropbox, Ivy, AutoCAD, and Photoshop.

Betsy Berry What three pieces of advice would you offer to someone looking to update a space?

A house needs personality and soul to become a home. I’ve encountered so many houses that were absolute perfection, yet had no soul. To truly feel that sense of home, there needs to be a sense of history, both of the home itself, and the family living inside. Personal photographs should always be included, along with punches of unexpected elements and quirkiness. The warmth of the home is felt through the layers created by love and time.

On September 25 at 4 PM, Betsey Berry will be at DISCOVER ADAC for the Southern Women Talk Signature Style session presented by Architectural Digest (reception to follow at Baker). DISCOVER ADAC runs September 25-27 in Atlanta. You can register here as well as see all the sessions they’ll be hosting for the event!

Published in Dwell, Featured Articles