Designing the whole ‘crib’ with Christina Ishida

My interview with interior designer Christina Ishida begins with discussion of renovation plans for her new dollhouse. Her thoughtful, holistic approach considers the furnishings, the renovation, and even the dolls inside altogether. She ‘thinks about furniture and architecture as people too.’ In other words: she gives equal weight to the personality of the products, structure, environment, and its inhabitants to make a home renovation work. Every element is connected. 


“The vision is always there: It’s for the house, it’s for the client, and it’s for the furniture.” – Christina Ishida

Ishida began her design career by selling elevated gifts, furnishings, and antiques primarily for nurseries at her petite Cici Crib shop in New York. Her unique and sophisticated approach to children’s rooms facilitated a seamless transition into designing for adults. She is currently the head designer at Splurge Home and the principal of CiCi Crib Interiors, the prominent design firm in Pittsburg, PA, specializing in transforming the whole ‘crib.’ Our conversation not only explores her shift from nurseries to comprehensive home design and from shop ownership to interior design but also delves into topics such as establishing trust with clients and considering the personality of furniture and architectural elements within a project. Click play on the video below to watch our discussion or read on for the highlights: 

Establish trust with your clients so they can let you dream

Building trust with clients requires time and patience. Ishida embodies the ideal patient temperament sought after when working with an interior designer and stresses the importance of trusting oneself first, despite how painful and challenging it can be. Even after a client gives approval, she says, “You never really know until the end…You have the install, and then you hold your breath.”

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”You never really know until the end…You have the install, and then you hold your breath” – Christina Ishida

Good design transcends and connects

In our discussion of Ishida’s approach to designing children’s rooms, we delved deeper into her holistic approach. Even when she primarily focused on children’s rooms, Ishida never embraced a kiddie/cutesy aesthetic. In her shop, art, rugs, and lamps crossed over seamlessly, functioning equally well in a child’s nursery, a primary bedroom, or a living room. Combining elevated taste with the necessary attention to safety and practicality in nursery design tends to yield a well-tailored design that appeals to everyone in the home. This same principle—design for all—comes up frequently in conversations about designing for disabilities, and it’s just as relevant when considering children’s rooms. Good design transcends and connects, catering to diverse needs and preferences, and considers the space and inhabitants equally.

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