Alene Workman always was attracted to art and design. She drew as a child and designed clothing in her teens.
After studying art in college she got a job with Bloomingdale’s management training program in New York. Soon she realized she was more comfortable with interior design than fashion. That epiphany was her turning point. She enrolled in the New York School of Interior Design and finished her studies at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale.
“I knew I was never going to be a great artist, but design was another way of doing art,” she says. “I was like a pea in a pod in design school.”
Workman, a Hollywood designer with more than 20 years experience, recently was honored as a Star of Design at the Design Center of the Americas in Dania Beach. She joins former design winners Jonathan Adler, Vladimir Kagan and Sam Robin.
What is your design mantra?
I like to do design that is timeless, yet relevant.
What is your personal style at home?
Warm and comfortable. It’s contemporary – but not hard edged – with very clean lines. It has warmth and texture. I like beautiful woods and stones.
What is most important in your designs?
I like an architectural element to create the backbone of the interior. The ceiling, walls and floor all need to be incorporated together. An intricate ceiling, whether it uses curves, circles or squares with up or down lighting, adds a strong element to any interior. Another aspect is adding columns or something that creates a division in a large space. These aspects and finishing walls and floors are important before any furniture is selected.
Who is the designer or architect that inspires you the most?
Andrea Palladio [a Venetian architect] is somebody I study to update his classic lines. I like modern architects such as Richard Meier and Frank Gehry. Architect and designer David Rockwell uses interesting materials and structures in hotels and restaurants.
What was your best find?
Mirrored glass tiles with vines and trees that I discovered in Paris. I ended up doing a powder room with them set in wet sand and concrete. It’s magical, especially when reflected on the white marble floor.
What does being named a Star of Design mean to you?
I was honored and humbled. I didn’t submit any work. I understand there is a panel that puts out names and they are voted on by the industry. It is special to be thought of this way by your peers and not just for one design. I am still in awe.
—Charlyne Varkonyi Schaub
Alene Workman: Alene Workman Interior Design, 4601 Sheridan St., Suite 218, Hollywood, 954-989-0898, aleneworkman.com.