By Tom Monte
Two Valley interior designers keep each other’s company, a lot, but they’re different companies.
Tony Sutton, president of Est Est in Scottsdale, and Esther Boivin, founder of Esther Boivin Interiors, also Scottsdale, recently married and are enjoying life together.
While they may eventually collaborate, for now each is pursuing discrete projects with delighted clients through the Valley and out of state. I’m happy at Arizona Structures, my general contracting and remodeling company, to be working with both of them.
“I truly respect Tony Sutton and all his wonderful team at Est Est,” says Esther, also a distinguished mezzo-soprano who has appeared professionally and is fluent in four languages.
“Tony and I like to talk design ideas together at all times, but we are both exited to have separate entities. We each have our own projects and companies.”
Now five years old, her firm has already been published and featured in several magazines and a book, and she has also won ASID awards for numerous projects.
“While we may ask for professional critique of each other while working in the evening at home, we have distinctly separate companies and enjoy the independent expression of design,” she adds. “We are both very opinionated and have strong wills when it comes to design.”
Says Tony,” I have the utmost respect for Esther’s creative design talent. She is passionate about her work and makes an extra effort to see that each project stands out and is exceptional. I am impressed with how she pushes the limit and succeeds. She is a design star!”
Recently, my Gilbert-based company collaborated with Esther on a benefit project for the Arizona Animal Welfare League in Phoenix, the state’s oldest and largest no-kill shelter.
Esther provided 3D drawings and details for the elaborate contemporary dog house that we built. These included sustainable requirements for materials and construction. Several architects entered their designs, and the team of Esther Boivin Interiors and Arizona Structures won 1st Place.
Est Est is also a frequent podium visitor. Scottsdale oldest design firm has won more design awards than any other firm in the last six years –– more than 70 for its residential and commercial projects.
With its talented design team, Est Est creates timeless spaces including winter and summer get-aways, luxury estates, beach houses or cabins as well as corporate offices, restaurants, private clubhouses and resorts.
“A professional designer can help stretch a client into a new experience and ensure they are making a balanced choice between aesthetic yearnings and practicality and not fall victim to short-lived trends,” Tony has said.
“It is one thing to do a ‘nice’ house spending good money, and another to give someone unexpected solutions, using materials out of their original intended purpose, that evoke emotional responses for the intended use of the space.”
For Esther, design must also elicit emotions. She does this through layering architectural details, materials, and textures, mixing shape, playing with scale, and exploring rhythm through pattern, scale and texture.
“I love to push the limit of what is expected, exploding the rules and make it look fresh, beautiful and new,” she says. “I love to make my designs playful, whimsical and refined. I have to create something unexpected.”
First impressions must be impressive. “A great space should be perfect and timeless, a representation of what you love. I always say that it is about relationships and how the furniture you see makes you feel. It’s that simple. One look, and you know if it is for you or not.”
Even with emotions emphasized, primary esthetic design principals are essential for every successful design, she says.
For one, focus on ceiling and flooring design. “I like to be creative with the materials I use for each in order to establish texture and interest right from the start,” she says.
Secondly, combine different finishes of the same materials, alternating different textures or simply changing directions of materials. Using a different application for certain materials can also be effective.
Thirdly, explore options for the complete space before selecting the components for it. “In designing the surrounding ceiling, walls and floors with interesting selections, I have first a setting that I can drop the furniture in. When well designed, that should look great empty. So, the decorative lighting I add, for example, is the finishing touch, like a lady’s jewelry or accessories: Voila!”
Clean lines, in which each item has meaning itself and toward the overall design, are also important. Eschew fillers.
“In my design, each item is a star,” Esther says. ‘In the performing arts, it is described as stage presence. Each element plays an important part in the final performance.”
Offering four decades of experience in building and renovation, Arizona Structures serves the East Valley, Arcadia, Scottsdale and Paradise Valley and has recently won a 2014 Best of Gilbert Award for General Contractor. This is the seventh of an ongoing series on your home and was assisted by David M. Brown (azwriter.com). Questions? Send them to Tom Monte, firstname.lastname@example.org.