One of the great things about the Modsy design network is the diverse backgrounds of all our designers. Some are formally trained, some are self-taught, and many had established careers in a totally different industry before making their way into the world of interior design. (Kind of like some of our favorite interior designers outside of the Modsy world!) We want to introduce you to some of our talented designers—let’s get to know the people behind the screens.
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Meet Modsy designer Hope!
Modsy Designer Hope Colling has quite the resume. She toured with Kiss, was a Wall Street stockbroker, and owned two successful boutiques in San Francisco. A photo of her living room was even the most pinned image of 2012! All that to say, her path to becoming an interior designer has been far from ordinary. But it’s her unique journey that shapes her perspective when it comes to designing spaces for Modsy customers.
We (virtually) sat down with Hope to hear more about her life, design process, and what inspires her!
A throwback to Hope’s touring days!
How did you get into the interior design industry?
“I have a very unique and diverse background,” says Hope. “Now that I’m older, it’s kind of cool to reflect on my journey. But when I was younger, I felt like I had no shared experiences with anyone because my path was so different.
“However, the fact that I didn’t know anyone who had taken the same path as it gave me the confidence to take more risks! I went in my own direction without feeling limited by other people’s life choices or experiences.”
Hope’s career began in the entertainment industry when she was just a teenager. “Both of my parents were artists—my mom was a professional dancer and my dad was a musician,” says Hope. “I grew up in this very bohemian, rock and roll household.” So, at the time, it didn’t seem so crazy that her first real job was touring with Kiss and Mötley Crüe.
For three years she was on the road, and after touring she moved back to New York. Not knowing what her next move would be, she took a job as a receptionist at a financial firm. Hope soon developed a knack for finance, and ultimately became a stockbroker, working on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
But after 15 years in finance, living in New York during 9/11, and a diagnosis of ovarian cancer the following year, Hope was ready for something totally different. She had always dreamed of owning her own boutique, so she moved across the country and decided to take the leap. “I had no experience in anything like this,” she says, “but I just followed my instincts and wasn’t afraid to work hard. I opened a boutique in San Francisco in 2007, which was named the Best Boutique in the Bay Area for 4 consecutive years.”
View of Marmalade boutique from Union Street in San Francisco
The boutique, where Hope sold collections of women’s clothing, was called Marmalade. And it was in the process of designing and decorating her boutique that she discovered her love for interior design.
From opening day, customers were inquiring about the tables and shelves (all made by Hope’s husband, Pete) that she used to display clothing in the store. “More than buying the clothing, people wanted to buy the fixtures in the store,” says Hope.
And this sparked something for Hope and Pete. Together, the couple eventually opened a sister boutique, The Mason Jar, full of furniture and housewares. And they also launched a design firm, Colling Design + Build, to pursue furniture and interior design beyond their storefronts.
“So, I don’t have a background in this. I’m just a hustler and follow my instincts!” says Hope.
Hope’s many interests outside of interior design include swimming with sharks and riding her horse
How did you find yourself at Modsy?
“After living in California for many years and starting several businesses, we wanted a break from all the hustle. So, we sold our home and moved down to the Bahamas and bought a small house down there!”
Hope’s husband is currently working on a project in the Bahamas, but they also regularly spend time in both Florida and Austin, Texas, which is currently their home base in the US. Because of all the traveling they do, a traditional job isn’t in the cards for Hope at the moment. But with Modsy, she saw an opportunity to use her design skills while having flexibility as a remote worker.
“I’ve always been a superfan of Modsy’s technology and the direction the company is going—I really believe that Modsy’s approach, with our 3D capabilities, is the future of interior design. So, I kept my finger on the pulse of the company, and when I saw an opening I jumped on it. I’ve loved Modsy for a long time, and right now it’s also a good fit for my needs and skillset!”
A peek inside Hope’s cozy home
How would you describe your personal design style?
“I’d describe my style as Scandi-boho meets global eclectic, but with a minimalist undertone. I gravitate toward warm, earthy neutrals and simple shapes.”
Hope and her husband have travelled a lot, and her husband lived abroad when he was younger. She says that this influences their eclectic style.
“I’m a big believer that your home should be a reflection of your history.”
“A lot of our decor consists of pieces we’ve collected over the years through our travels, as well as family heirlooms and other beloved treasures that represent our story,” says Hope. “I’m a big believer that your home should be a reflection of your history. We like to showcase the story of our life in our home.” But the minimalist side of their style comes in through the styling, which is more pared back. “We don’t like clutter or a lot of textures and layers crowding our space,” she says.
One of Hope’s many gorgeous designs, created in Modsy 3D!
Where do you go for design inspiration?
“I find so much inspiration from Mother Nature. She never gets it wrong; I’m such a nature girl. I love looking to nature for inspiration on color palettes, especially,” says Hope. “By choosing color combinations and tones that are found together in nature, you can create a natural sense of balance.” She loves combining pinks and oranges, like you’d see in a sunset, or forest green and light blue, like trees against a clear sky.
Hope also finds a ton of design inspiration from 1970s fashion. “I’m kind of obsessed with the glamour of rock stars and models of that time—especially couples like Mick and Bianca Jagger, or Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin,” she says. “There’s this combination of very done and undone in those couples. Rock stars are edgy, messy, and discombobulated. And models and socialites are lovely, glamorous, and always done up. I get a lot of inspiration from that aesthetic.”
Modsy 3D design by Hope
What is the secret ingredient behind a “great” design?
“Everyone has a different idea of what qualifies as good design,” says Hope. “Some designers say that ‘a room is only a success if your eye never stops moving.’ Others say that it’s only a success if your eye finds that one focal point. There’s no right or wrong answer. In my opinion, a room is a success if you feel good in it. Your house should fit your lifestyle, not just someone’s Instagram highlight. You can make anything beautiful, but it has to fit your lifestyle.”
“A room is a success if you feel good in it.”
Modsy 3D design by Hope
What are the 3 design tips you swear by?
- Plants, plants, and more plants. In my opinion, a house without plants has no soul—it’s like a hotel room. Potted plants, trees, succulents, air plants—they instantly (and literally!) bring life to any space. They add a punch of color, add a sculptural element that helps break up the lines and architecture in your space, and make a room feel lived in.
- Don’t be afraid to mix and match. That goes for patterns, textures, woods tones, metals, and price points. Good design should feel curated and layered.
- Support artists and makers! Infuse a little uniqueness into your home by shopping craft fairs or sites like Etsy for handmade pieces that tell a story.
Hope’s dream home would be the set from Nancy Meyers’ film, It’s Complicated
What interior from a movie or TV show would you live in if you could?
Meryl Streep’s house in “It’s Complicated” or Reese Witherspoon’s in “Home Again.” Nancy Meyers, the director of both films, does an incredible job of making her sets feel like a character in her films. You want to get inside the sets.
All of Nancy Meyers’ movies are romantic comedies, with a woman at the center. And there’s always something going on in her life—her love life’s a mess, her career is a mess. But she always has this beautiful, well-appointed house to come home to. It gives you this sense of, ‘As long as my house is in balance, my life is in balance.’”
Modsy 3D design by Hope
What’s your interior design pet peeve?
Sterile kitchens. The kitchen is the heart of the home, and it should feel that way!
Hope and her husband, Pete, taking their pup for a walk
Favorite place to vacation?
Anywhere I haven’t been! I love to travel and explore new places. Though, lately, my biggest adventure is taking my dogs for a walk!
What’s the last book you read and enjoyed?
“Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert. I first read it a few years ago, but I thumb through it and read random passages pretty often. They’re always so timely and relevant.
You’ve already shared so many—but what’s another fun fact about you?
I’m obsessed with great white sharks. I’ve been fascinated with them since I was young, and in 2010 I got to go on an expedition dive in the Farallon Islands.