In the Studio with Vani Sayeed

January 7, 2021

Interior designer Vani Sayeed creates artwork and interiors from her Newton, Massachusetts, studio.

Text by Bob Curley    Photography by Kelly Davidson

A single studio can’t contain the artistic vision of Vani Sayeed. Nor can just one career for this energetic printmaker and painter, who is a highly regarded New England interior designer.

Hyper-local inspiration, whether a rain-soaked moment stuck in traffic in Mumbai or immersion in the seasonal colors of New England, complements Sayeed’s globe-spanning education—she has a BFA in interior design from India and a MFA in design from the University of Iowa. Her oil paintings are a mix of abstract landscapes and realistic nudes.

“I will draw, sketch, do watercolors, take photographs anywhere and everywhere,” says Sayeed. “Inspiration and documentation of a moment is constant, but I then take it to another level by expressing it via a composition on a canvas, board, paper, copper plate, or a computer screen.”

Sayeed utilizes a printing studio in Watertown, Massachusetts, to do the gritty job of cutting copper plates to create her engraved and layered intaglio prints. Her design studio in Newton, Massachusetts, has a more relaxed vibe, despite doubling as her painting studio. On the walls hang paintings appended with prize ribbons. Her former dining room table serves as a catchall for fabric samples and prints.

“The architecture has a lot of character because it’s an old building with great natural light, with a set of double windows and high ceilings with exposed wood beams,” says Sayeed. “It’s a very inspiring space for anything—design or art, reading, or Zoom calls with clients.”

Sayeed draws heavily on her artistic background, particularly in the use of proportion, light, and scale, while designing homes. “Design influences my art as much as art influences my design work,” she says. “Both are process oriented, which I enjoy immensely—to build something layer by layer, to be meticulous and develop it to a successful finish.”

Every interior design project begins in Sayeed’s studio, where she sketches hand-drawn layouts to scale before committing her ideas to digital AutoCAD layouts for clients to review. “That’s where two years of old-fashioned schooling comes to help,” she says.

Sayeed doesn’t pitch her artwork (or her rug collaboration with Landry & Arcari Rugs and Carpeting) as part of her interior designs, but some crossover inevitably occurs. The intaglio prints are particularly popular since colors and themes can be easily customized to match client preferences and project palettes. “The goal isn’t to sell my stuff, but to see what works in that space,” says Sayeed.

Vani Sayeed Studios, Newton, Mass.,


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