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A New Take on Classic Interior Design | Pepe Calderin Design

A New Take on Classic Interior Design | Pepe Calderin Design

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An award-winning perspective from celebrated interior designer, Pepe Calderin of Pepe Calderin Design.


Great design stands the test of time. No one knows classic interiors like Pepe Calderin, principal designer of his eponymous design firm, Pepe Calderin Design. We sat down with the renowned designer as he let us in on what makes a classic a classic, why he doesn’t pay attention to trends, and what he considers the most important aspect of a project.

Pepe Calderin, founder and principal designer of Pepe Calderin Design, has more than 25 years of experience in high-end and commercial interior design.  His award-winning New York– and Miami-based interior design firm is dedicated to designing high-end residential and commercial spaces strongly infused with energy and warmth throughout the Americas, Europe, and Saudi Arabia.

Formerly a principal of Levine, Calderin & Associates, Calderin opened Pepe Calderin Design during the American recession, only to witness firsthand the importance of finding beauty in the everyday. His thirst for life and remarkable client service allowed his business to prosper; the firm has earned national and international design accolades for a variety of spaces and styles—and boasts a portfolio that spans over four continents with a fiercely local client roster. Licensed in the state of Florida, Calderin pays special attention to ensuring each client has an individualistic space representative of his or her specific needs.



Where are you from?
I was born in Havana, Cuba.

What is your background?
I am a self-taught designer. At the age of 21, I was lost in my path and career. At some point, I found myself working in an architectural and interior design firm as an errand boy, where I started learning how to read plans and help designers with their different tasks. I started to develop a passion for designing. Years later, after working as a designer for the firm, I partnered with the architect leading the company to form Levine, Calderin & Associates, which later became Pepe Calderin Design once my ex-partner retired.

How does your background help form your design aesthetic?
Learning from scratch and being self-taught allowed me to develop my unique style and design aesthetic, as I wasn’t really following something I was told to do in a certain way by a teacher or mentor.


What type of projects do you work with?
High-end residential, as well as commercial projects

What is your mission?
The philosophy is, “A space has no boundaries and has limitless possibilities.” Creating an open, dynamic environment where one can thrive and grow serves as the core initiative. Through the fostering of an intimate connection with the client, each project becomes a distinctive reflection of their unique personality, lifestyle and spirit.


What inspired you to enter the world of interior design?
I wasn’t inspired to enter the world of interior design. When I started working in this industry it was because of opportunity. Later, I found a passion for it and found out I was good at it.

What is your favorite quote or words to live by?
“A space has no boundaries and has limitless possibilities.”

Who was the first designer that inspired you?
Robert Bleemer and Richard Levine

What legendary person or professional are you inspired by?
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe for his clean design, and Santiago Calatrava—his unique and out-of-the-box creations make me feel as if his buildings are from another world.

Name a building’s architecture that you are inspired by.
The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao by Frank Gehry because of the way he defined gravity in its architecture.

Name one building or buildings’ interior design that you are inspired by. Why?
Museum, cultural center in Shenzhen Shi, China because of the movement inside the building and the blend of materials.

What type of art inspires you?
Recycling art. The idea of taking something that is discarded and creating something unique and valuable is amazing.

Which artist inspires you the most?
There are many artists that inspire me. Just to name a few: Robert Indiana, Soto, Manolo Valdes, Bedias (Jose Bedia Valdes), Kaws, Dali, Warhol and DaVinci.

Name one book or author you are inspired by. Why?
Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch. It was my first spiritual book and my inspiration to start reading.

What are your favorite furniture and décor stores?
I don’t have one. I like to mix and match various styles and different brands. I am always trying my best to keep it to two or three products maximum from the same vendor on each project.


Are you a designer who is inspired by trends? And if yes, in what capacity? Do you incorporate a mix or go all in with trends?
Yes and no. It depends on the trends and if I find a way to incorporate them into a timeless design. I always like to mix and match.

What are the trends for 2022?
I have no idea. I never research trends or read about them. When I do incorporate them, it’s more because of my client’s preferences, which are very important to me in the design process. So far this year, I have used none, therefore I have no idea what to expect for trends for 2022.

How do you keep up with industry changes?
A classic is a classic. I keep trends to a minimum and create timeless and classic interiors.

What do you know about sustainable design, and do you work with it?
I have worked on a few projects incorporating LEED design, but, unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of experience or knowledge. I would love to learn and use it more.


– Flooring
o Marble
o Wood
o Porcelain

– Paint Colors

White for all walls and ceilings unless a material like wood, marble or wallpaper is applied. But as far as paint, I only use white.

– Wall Panels & Coverings

I love to use natural materials and architectural elements like wood and marble in walls and ceilings. Wallpapers that bring textures and complement the other materials are also used often in my projects. For me, the most important aspect of interiors are the backgrounds.


What advice can you provide to people who are considering hiring a designer?
Make sure they are licensed, reputable and that you can visit some projects or get some recommendations. Nowadays, there are too many decorators that, besides the fact of having good taste or not, are not capable of handling the complexities of a real interior design job and not just a decorating project.

What are the benefits of hiring a designer—and you specifically?
An experienced interior designer like me will save you time, which translates to money. We are trained to help clients make prompt and accurate decisions to improve the performance of the building process.

How do you learn your clients’ style and taste before getting to work?
Talking to them a lot and doing initial mood boards that help us understand their style and taste visually.

How does this factor into your design decisions?
It is the guide to succeed in the design process.

What drives your design decisions? What are some of your biggest inspirations?
My clients’ tastes and needs. They are the most important aspect of the project. More than anything else, I look forward to finding inspiration in them to bring that into their homes.

Do you consider aesthetics or functionality to be important?
Both are key factors in any decision. When one of them becomes more important, it affects the results negatively. Balance is the key.


If you could meet anyone you want, who would it be?
Jesus, Gandhi, Buddha, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, John Lennon, and Andy Warhol

If you could design anyone’s home, who would it be?
Madonna’s home

If you could transport to another city for its design architecture or access their products from anywhere in the world, which would it be?


What would your clients say about you?
I am humble and I take good care of their opinions.

What are most people surprised to learn about you?
I am shy and quiet.


What exciting projects are you currently working on? What makes it exciting?
Some out-of-state projects: A residence in Hawaii, another one in Boston, and a third one in New York. I love working in different cities as each has many different factors that bring personality to each project.


What is next for you?



12430 W. Dixie Highway, North Miami, FL 33161
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