Rising Star: Sydney Maag

Organic and modern, with an appreciation for the classics

WHO: Like a lot of designers, Texas native Sydney Maag has been fussing with furnishings since she was a young kid. “I was always moving the furniture around and changing the rooms in our house,” she says. “Even at nine years old, I was constantly thinking about space, materials, finishes, and how to make a room look better.”

WHAT: At the heart of Maag’s design philosophy is the belief that a home should be sacred, safe, and personal. “I go slowly with my clients and really listen to what they want,” says Maag, whose palette typically comprises soft tones and a range of contemporary and organic influences. “I don’t do a lot of matching and pairing, but I respect the scale of classical design, and I draw from that.”

WHERE: Maag is presently juggling several projects, such as a renovation in the Bahamas that has posed unusual challenges. “The climate in the Bahamas can be rough on materials and finishes, so I have to be very thoughtful when it comes to choosing different types of wood and stone,” says Maag. “The lanterns can’t hang from chains outside because they’ll blow around too much, and the windows need to be hurricane-proof.” Closer to home, her work includes an upgrade of a kit house in East Hampton.

WHEN: A stint in graphic design led Maag to pursue a career in interiors. She received formal training from the New York School of Interior Design and held positions at Aero Studios and Jeffrey Bilhuber before launching her own firm, Sydney Maag Design, in 2000.

WHY: “I’m a solution-oriented person, which is why I enjoy interior design so much,” says Maag. “It involves a lot of problem solving, and I like that.”

A version of this article appeared in the September 2014 issue of New York Cottages & Gardens with the headline: Rising Star.