Specializing in full-service residential design since 1997, Celia Welch Interiors is a boutique design firm that has been included in The Washingtonian’s list of Top 20 interior designers. Her projects have been featured in The Washington Post, Luxe and Home & Design.

Known for designing homes that ‘reach out and welcome us in,’ Welch has a creative and honest collaboration with clients to design holistically so that the entire interior flows together beautifully.

Celia welcomed us in for a chat to learn more about her chic and unique approach to creating inviting spaces.

Celia Welch
Celia Welch Interiors

1. How would you describe your signature style?

It is grounded in simplicity and elegance. I think that this leads to an ease in living. It is about creating spaces with ‘hygge.’ No projects are the same, because we are creating spaces that ‘fit’ the client.

Celia Welch Interiors
Celia Welch Interiors
Celia Welch Interiors

2. You’ve said you’re “passionate about the sea, yellow tulips, and a good cappuccino.” Tell us how that informs your planning process with a new client.

All three of these inspire me to create spaces that encourage a feeling of contentment and ease. I grew up on an island – so the sea has always been an integral part of what makes me who I am.

Unconsciously and consciously I seek to infuse that feeling of being near the sea into my projects – not through a beach aesthetic but by trying to capture that essence —- that calm, zen feeling.

Yellow tulips:

I am drawn to the quiet simplicity, beauty and elegance in the shape and texture of the tulip. It inspires me to create spaces that share these qualities.

Cappuccino:

I’m passionate about a good cappuccino because I’ve noticed that it is not all about the machinery or the beans, it actually comes down to the level of care and skill of the person preparing it. I follow this concept when sourcing items/furnishing for projects.

I love to work with skilled craftsmen and fabricators, who love what they do, to create beautiful bespoke pieces.

Celia Welch Interiors
Celia Welch Interiors

3. What’s your approach to updating a home so that it remains true to its original style?

It is wonderful to capture and enhance the character of an old home. Some older homes are infused with wonderful old character and it is great to capture and enhance that character by making changes thoughtfully. When doing a renovation of an old home, we try to see what parts of the home make it special /unique. Is it the old plaster walls, or even the way the light filters through the space. Is it the smaller intimate rooms? Sometimes it is just a feeling.

We figure out what is needed to update the spaces so that they function and reflect the lifestyle and of the home owners/clients. Where possible we incorporate features/interior architecture into the updated, new spaces that honor/enhance the charm of the old building. The goal is to add new details that fit so well that they appear to have always been there.

Celia Welch Interiors
Celia Welch Interiors

4. How do you decide on a color palette?

The color palette depends on the feeling we are going after. I always start with how we want the space to feel. What colors are the clients drawn to – and what works with the house.

I lean towards neutrals but when I do more intense color on the walls, I love to completely immerse or dip the space in the color, both walls and the trim. This actually makes the color less jarring.

Celia Welch Interiors
Celia Welch Interiors

5. What are the biggest challenges in making a new house look lived in, and an old house look fresh?

With a new build – to get that warmth of a lived in house or a house that has existed for a long time, I pay close attention to the types of finishes and details we specify for the exterior and the architectural details and finishes on the interior.

For example: choosing trim details and interior door hardware thoughtfully, incorporating textures or materials that have natural imperfections like reclaimed hardwood. These are the details that are often overlooked, but really inform the character of the space.

Celia Welch Interiors

6. What’s your favorite phase of a project?

When a lot of the selections start to be installed and finishes applied you can see the vision and months of decision-making suddenly transform the space. When the contractor starts to clean up and the house turns from a construction site and starts to feel like a home.

Celia Welch Interiors
Celia Welch Interiors

7. What are the most often requested features when a client is remodeling?

I have always loved spaces that have a connection to the outdoors. And with Covid — outdoor ‘rooms’ have become very important for clients. I have also been incorporating more indoor plants —- to bring the outside in.

Of course, there has also been an increase in requests for ‘work at home stations’ for the adults and the kids. We have always included spaces for the family to be together but now we also look to carve out spaces that allow individual family members to have moments alone.

Celia Welch Interiors
Celia Welch Interiors
Celia Welch Interiors

8. What mistakes do you most often help clients avoid?

Clients often want to start the process by looking at individual selections like a sofa or a paint color. I try to help them take a holistic approach – and to start with key questions:

‘How do you want the space to feel when you are all done?’

‘What is important to you ? Is it to have more of an indoor outdoor feeling – a connection to the outdoors from various rooms in the house?

‘Do you want to be able to see most of the spaces from one location – example – a full open plan or do you prefer a more intimate cozy feeling?’

‘Are we looking for bright, high energy/energetic spaces or calming?’

I try to help them see it holistically – even if it is not a new build, you can still start with asking ‘How can you improve the existing space to create the atmosphere that you want.’ Simple details like removing or adding trim can make a huge difference, replacing the firebox etc.

Celia Welch Interiors
Celia Welch Interiors
Celia Welch Interiors

9. What is one of your favorite projects and why?

There are things I love about all of my projects. I have stayed in contact with many of my old clients.

My favorite thing is to return to visit a client’s home a few years after the project has been completed, when everything has settled and the home has been lived in for a while to experience the feeling of the home and to see how well it ‘fits’ them.

This gives me a really good feeling, knowing that we did what we set out to do.

Celia Welch Interiors
Celia Welch Interiors

10. What element in a room do you usually start with? (artwork lighting, rug, sofa, etc.)?

I start with the shell — the interior architecture, the hardware, the lighting, the flooring, then the colors and the finishes, and finally the furniture and fabrics.

Celia Welch Interiors