Deriving Life Force and the Power of Light: Interior Designer Samantha Leeds

Samantha Leeds has the audacity to design a dining room without chairs. It was for the Kingston Design Showhouse in 2022 and we were able to watch the room transform over many weeks as we toiled away on our space upstairs. In the end, we were smitten. Sam broke the rules with ease because she knew what rules she was breaking, creating a space that demanded deep breaths and deeper conversations while nodding to traditional motifs that make one feel at home and at ease.

Over the last few years, we've had the pleasure of supporting Sam's projects with Quittner designs. As her practice has grown, she's continued to break to rules. She answered some questions (and shared some project reveals) about how she works, what inspires here, and why she chooses Quittner. 
Image of interior designer Sam Leeds
Can you introduce yourself and your design/interiors perspective? 
Hi! My name is Samantha Leeds. I am the owner of Creatures Of Place, a locally based interior design studio in the Hudson Valley. 
I have come to believe that our homes are the places that hold and contain our emotional lives as well as our physical ones. This means that not only is it wonderful to design a space visually but also important to look at how each space is going to help serve our lives on an emotional level. This is not something I have really been able to articulate to my clients yet. It's just something I think about and work on in the background while designing. 

Like Quittner, I am a lover of old things. Old houses, old furniture, old lighting etc. I find that things made by hand have a very different "life force" to them. They sit differently in a room. They have a personality. I also love to see age and time. I am a huge fan of imperfections. 
When you're creating a space, what or where do you start? 
When designing a space I start with a few very basic questions. How do I create more light? And how do I create more storage. Ha! Light is the main ingredient in any room. Even if it is dim. Light creates the environment. And then storage. Most of my clients have young children and really struggle keeping their spaces organized.

Before I start thinking about the furniture or the wallpaper or gorgeous tile I think about the utility of the space. How can I help my clients put better systems in place so that they aren't constantly overwhelmed by the "stuff" in their homes. That way when the project is complete they are able to really enjoy the space we have created together. 
How did you find Quittner? 
I found Quittner through the Kingston Design Showhouse in 2022. I had the privilege of working alongside Ben & Pippa, and getting to know them as fellow creatives and then friends. The 2022 Kingston Design Showhouse took place during my first summer living Upstate and I literally didn't know a soul! Finding Quittner opened my world up to a highly creative community I didn't know existed in the area :) 
Bathroom by Samantha Leeds featuring the Quittner Hallie as a sconce
What piece did you use in the bathroom project, and why did you select it? 
I love using the The Hallie light in my designs. So much so that I now have two in my own home. I think it's the material use that strikes me most. Porcelain reacts with light totally differently then metal. It glows in a very special way. I love the way the porcelain and brass details interact with other natural materials in a space. I chose two Hailie Sconces for a small bathroom vanity on a recent project of mine in Milford PA. The vanity was original to the house and had an incredible old marble top. The two porcelain Hallie Sconces play off the old marble vanity top in a really stunning way. I can really geek out on little details like this. It's hard to explain to a client how sometimes something that looks simple can really steal the show! 
Sam Leeds and John Glagola's dining room, Hallie sconces
A pair of Hallies, configured as plug-ins, for the dining room in Sam and her partner, furniture maker John Glagola's, home. Table designed as a collaboration between Sam and John. 

If you could have any one thing from Quittner for your own home, what would you pick?
Well, I already have two Hallie Lights and honestly I think I would order at least three more! I would also LOVE a set of Coupe Bowls. I am such a sucker for ceramic bowls. 
What is something (or someone) that is perennially inspiring to you — you keep going back to it season after season? 
Right now I am really inspired by people who are renovating old homes with tons of antiques and restored items. I live in an early 1800's farmhouse and obsess over ways to bring it back to life. I am constantly looking at creatives who are designing their homes in ways that really lean into the character and story that already exists there. Obviously, Quittner does this very well! Some others would be...
What's a book we need to read, or song we need to listen to, if we want to better understand who you are?  
Braiding SweetGrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer has left a lasting effect on me and changed how I view my own work and life in a big way. 
Music... Brandi Carlile, Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Tracey Chapman. Women who just sing their heart and soul out. 
Where can we follow along on your journey? 
You can follow me and my journey on my Instagram creatures_of_place
image of bathroom by interior designer Sam Leeds  featuring the Hallie as a sconce in white
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