With a client roster as stacked as an Oscars red carpet, AD100 designer Brigette Romanek has more experience than most at crafting elevated living spaces for people with exacting standards. Stars like Beyoncé, Demi Moore, and Gwyneth Paltrow trust the decorator to bring their opulent home-design dreams to life. But no matter the celebrity status of the homeowner, Brigette understands that nobody wants to live in a museum. Her interior design philosophy is geared toward an A-list-approved refinement, balanced with an I-have-kids practicality. Brigette’s debut book, Livable Luxe (out today via Chronicle Chroma), outlines how to achieve this balance while unpacking the processes of her most breathtaking projects.
The tome features priceless behind-the-scenes details about Brigette Romanek’s work and weaves them in with anecdotes about her life and the events that led to developing her signature eclectic style. “Mom and I moved around so much that oftentimes I didn’t even stay at a school for a full year,” she tells AD. Regularly being uprooted taught her the value of creating her own personal sanctuary, while financial constraints led her to hone in on the idea that would become her book’s thesis decades later.
“With changes happening all the time, I relied on making myself feel grounded and supported, and that was all about my room,” the AD PRO Directory designer says. “Sometimes we’d have money, sometimes we didn’t have money, and so sometimes I had fancy items to experiment with and other times I very much did not. But learning how to put all of it together fueled my whole design theory without me even knowing it was happening. It was just the school of life doing it for me.”
That school of life essentially scouted Brigette for admission into the interior decor world. After noting her keen design eye in the context of her own home, friends and friends of friends requested she bring her talents into their abodes. She drummed up plenty of work via word of mouth before launching Romanek Design Studio in 2018, and she believes her nontraditional path into the space has strengthened her confidence in her own voice rather than subscribing to any rigid by-the-book approach she might’ve learned as a student. “I’ve been told: ‘Well, you can’t do this and you can’t do that,’ because it’s ‘just the way things are,’ but understanding that I could [break any rules] and bringing that experimental style to my clients too is amazing,” she says. “This is your family home, so my goal is about making it you.”
The 200-page book delivers myriad decor tips and tricks, loads of interiors eye candy that begs prominent placement on the coffee table, and naturally, a foreword by the Goop founder herself. Brigette hopes that the inside scoop on her projects and the backstory into her journey helps readers understand that “luxury” isn’t necessarily a synonym for “pricey”—at least in her book. “There’s this idea that luxury means having all these expensive things, and that is not the case,” she says. “Luxury in design is about finding items that have value to you. For me, it’s being surrounded by things that speak to my history and items from family members, interspersed with other beautiful objects that I like.” Below, Brigette dishes on all things Livable Luxe and unpacks how to achieve a lavish look on a limited budget.