Like many young people, Southern California-raised designer Bella Mancini felt the magnetism of New York City from afar. Following graduation she relocated to The Big Apple full-time and started a career in fashion PR and marketing. A few years and a “quarter-life career slump” later, she was faced with the ever-daunting question of what next? This time, Bella listened to her passions and enrolled in the New York School of Interior Design. Two years later, Bella Mancini Design was born, introducing the world to Mancini’s unique brand of ultra-chic spaces tailored for busy, metropolitan life. Now with 18 years of experience behind her, the BMD portfolio is filled with a surplus of elegant yet youthful homes that strike just the right chord between classic femininity and cool-lined modernity.
So how does Bella strike such harmony within the city storm? It’s all about balance, according to the designer. To go along with Bella’s collection of DECASO Favorites, we asked the designer how she procures just the right mix. From pairing new finds with vintage one to syncing high design with low, Bella is a pro when it comes to finding the stasis between elevated design and livable spaces. Keep reading to discover Bella’s best tips for achieving design equilibrium and get a sneak peek of her brand new Brooklyn project!
Favorite way to work a bit of vintage into a room:
Vintage is a MUST in all our projects, even for clients who claim not to like anything old! We work it in all sorts of ways – from case goods to chairs to lighting to nightstands, but the most fun for me to buy is accessories. We buy a ton of vintage pottery, candlesticks and knick-knacks to use when we are moving a client in their home. We get obsessed with the hunt and have so much fun creating new collections for our clients.
Favorite way to add drama to a room:
Interesting wallpaper and eye-catching light fixtures can add a ton of drama. Combine the two for maximum impact!
Favorite way to mix high and low:
We get such a kick at creating chic but practical mixes of high and low. Just recently we paired a retail dining table with custom dining chairs. The pieces AND budget were perfect for our client.
Favorite place to splurge and favorite place to dial it back:
I believe rooms you will spend the most time in are the places to spend the most money. While I am definitely not a big believer in the need for customizing every inch of a child’s bedroom, I do think you should buy the best sofa you can afford for your everyday family room. Also, if you absolutely love it and you can afford it, go for it! But spending just to spend is boring and looks like you’re trying too hard. Even some of the best outfits are a mix high and low.
Favorite decorating trick:
Ceilings are often ignored and painted white, but we find playing them up is a trick to make a room feel more finished. Sometimes we achieve this with wallpaper and sometimes with a paint color or finish, but each time the room becomes something more interesting for our efforts.
Favorite design risk you’ve ever taken:
Our recently completely project in Miami would definitely be considered out of the box. The views are outstanding but the living room is small. Instead of trying to make the room function as something “correct” we decided to eschew all rules of design. The sofa (if you call it that) is three ottomans with movable backs situated in front of the windows. It’s weird, unconventional and not for everyone, but it works!
Favorite project in your portfolio:
I am excited about a project we just put up on our portfolio – Dumbo 1. It was completely for an amazing client/friend who happens to have great taste and is very trusting. It was a collaboration, but she really didn’t say no to anything we presented. I am super proud of how it turned out but most of all, they love their home.
Favorite paint color:
Farrow and Ball “Downpipe.” It’s a moody, dark warm grey that is a bit of a chameleon. We happened to use it quite a bit in the Dumbo 1 project, which is probably also why it’s a current fave.
I have never really met a stripe I didn’t like. I love them on walls, windows, rugs, sofas and on myself.
Favorite color combo:
Anything with pink!
Favorite room in your house:
My daughter’s bedroom. It’s a Josef Frank dream for me, and very pink.
Favorite piece of art you own:
Our Rauschenberg collage print my husband and I bought with wedding money for our first anniversary (paper).
Most unusual piece you’ve ever sourced for a project:
We once sourced a pair of coal tables by Jim Zivic for a client’s townhouse library. It was quite a complicated situation, as a structural engineer had to make sure the floors could handle the weight and it also took 6 gigantic men to bring each table in. I’ve never been so nervous to place anything in my life!
Tell us more about your experience with DECASO!
DECASO’s curated site is an incredible mix of important and affordable vintage from all over. I feel like DECASO has opened up a whole new world of resources to our office and between the three brands we can find everything we need. Also, I love that DECASO’s vendors are accessible to me and all communication is transparent. It puts my mind at ease to know my clients are getting great products at a fair price.
Favorite item on DECASO right now:
I’ve been looking for new dining chairs for so long now. I’d really love these Jacques Guillon cord chairs.
Favorite travel destination:
Favorite hotel to check in to:
Hotel Esencia, Mexico.
Favorite way to treat yourself:
A trip to Barney’s.
Favorite entertaining essential:
Favorite thing to collect:
Pottery and China.
YOUR CITY: NEW YORK
Favorite hotel to recommend to visiting friends:
1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge because it’s right across from my Dumbo apartment.
Favorite local flea market/vintage hunting ground:
North Fork, Long Island.
Lead photo by Peter Murdoch