International Design from Cristiana Mascarenhas

Cristiana Mascarenhas isn’t worried about any federally mandated “Make America Beautiful Again” program.

The Rio de Janeiro native has worked on both contemporary and classical interiors since opening her Manhattan interior design firm in 1992.

“At first I had classical clients, but then in the past 10 years contemporary clients,” she says. “I have to make them all happy – but if it’s for me, it’s contemporary.”

For someone who started out at an early age, she’s come a long way.

“I’ve always wanted to be an architect – and a writer,” she says. “Barbie was my first client – I got her when I was eight and started doing interior design for her.”

Now she’s designing spaces at Art Basel. “We did a show house there that was very successful,” she says. “I do them here also – I can do whatever you want and also what I want – I have a great selection of pieces.”

That goes for artwork too, she says.

“To design a home for a collector is a dream come true – I have to respect what’s on the walls and the rest has to complement the art,” she says. “I have a client with a second home in New York who said they wanted an art-filled New York home – and I helped them do that. And I did it in Miami too.”

Most of her clients – about 85 percent – are regulars, with another 15 percent coming to her by referral and word of mouth. “There’s no advertising,” she says. “I work with people here in New York who live abroad, and who vacation far away.”

The secret to her success, she says, is staying one step ahead of them. “I always have my client ahead of my desires – that’s the focus of my work,” she says. “When the client is happy and says ‘I don’t want to leave my home,’ I know I’ve done my job.”

So when was the last time a federal worker said anything that – in either a classical or contemporary building?

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