We had the good fortune of connecting with Alisha Agrellas and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alisha, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I was raised in Newport Beach, CA, which is a little epicenter in itself when it comes to the interior design industry. So growing up there was certainly no shortage of inspiration all around. I’m continuously so amazed and inspired by all of the great design talent that Orange County seems to breed.
My early years, though, were actually spent just outside of Seattle, which is where I was born. And as I’ve gotten older I’ve definitely noticed those Pacific Northwest undertones subtly influencing and a playing a part in various elements of my design work.
The use of natural, authentic materials (like old-growth and live edge wood), merging that feeling of indoor-to-outdoor living, enhancing natural light, and utilizing wood as a layer of dimension, with, for example, elements like tongue-and-groove, shiplap, and exposed beams.
What should our readers know about your business?
Honné Studio is a Santa Monica-based design firm that specializes in full-service interior design (both residential + boutique commercial) and styling.
In terms of our firm’s growth, I think each project we’ve taken on has taught us something new and we’re constantly re-evaluating how we can be as efficient as possible when it comes to our clients and design work.
The Southern California design world is really such an interconnected community, so I’ve found it to be such an asset to carve out time to connect with contractors, builders, vendors, and interior designers alike.
It’s also been really interesting to see how our design aesthetic has evolved and matured as we look back at earlier projects. When it comes to sourcing, we’ve always loved uncovering new, up-and-coming vendors, and that allows us to always keep our design wheels turning and setting the bar higher for ourselves in terms of innovation. Whether it’s exploring different shapes, silhouettes, materials or finishes, we embrace any opportunity to think outside of the box.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
All of my best mornings start out with a stop at The Sunrise Brew, which is this little Santa Monica based coffee ‘shop’ served out of an Airstream. It’s right off of PCH, so it’s also a quick walk over to the beach. Nearby Temescal Canyon is also a regular hiking location that my fiancé and I frequent.
From there, oftentimes I’ll make my way over to the Palisades Village to stop in at some of the interior storefronts (Shoppe Amber Interiors, Kier Design, and St. Frank Textiles to name a few) and do some browsing and sourcing for current design projects.
For a quick pick-me-up and/or lunch on the go, I’ll head over to Sweet Lady Jane or Kreation on Montana Ave. in Santa Monica.
Then, fast forward to one of my favorite hours of the day, Happy Hour, and you’ll find me at Fia, The Cloverfield, Chulita, Hatchet Hall, Tallula’s or Esters Wine Bar. Honestly who knows how long we’d be here if I kept going…The Westside is home to so many dining gems and the standard keeps getting set higher and higher in terms of the innovative design(s) and overall ambiance that each spot manages to possess.
Alright, so let’s jump right in! The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there a person, group, organization, book, etc. that you want to dedicate your shoutout to? Who else deserves a little credit and recognition in your story?
I distinctly remember one book in particular, Branding + Interior Design by Kim Kuhteubl, that I read around the time Honné was being concepted. It’s all about developing a distinct identity for design firms specifically, and it addresses how to differentiate yourself in what can at times feel like a world of over-saturation. Coming from a Marketing background, I find everything that goes into that kind of strategy fascinating.
Fast forward a few months later and I was actually lucky enough to have a phone call with the author, Kim, to pick her brain and share what our vision was for our firm. She had this ability to make things feel so effortlessly straightforward and everything just sort of clicked and went into high gear for Honné after that.