In Conversation with Wendy Berry of W Design

Wendy Berry of W Design in Naples, FL

W Design is a full-service interior design studio based in Naples and Cleveland. Their team has thoughtfully designed everything from a restored historic Victorian home to a coastal modern beachfront condo. We caught up with founder Wendy Berry to learn more about what brought W Design to Naples, exciting projects in 2023, and where we can find her grabbing an after-hours cocktail on Third Street South. 

Tell us about the W Design team and what you enjoy most about working in this industry. W Design was founded almost 20 years ago in 2003, and we’re so proud of how we’ve grown since then. We have a team of 35, and the thread that connects us all is a passion and love of design and fine things—that, and the relationships we’ve built over the years with our clients. It’s fun to blend seasoned pros with fresh energy and talent so every home reflects modern design that doesn’t get old when trends fade.

When it comes to our team outside of work, I’m a mom of two who appreciates “having it all”—W Design prioritizes a work/life balance that contributes to the strength of each team member and consequently our firm as a whole. I always encourage designers to travel as much as possible; it’s fun to see what inspires them abroad and how they incorporate unique finds and concepts in their projects. 

We are the definition of being client-driven. Interior design is so much more than a pretty home; our clients welcome us into the most personal area of their lives, and we don’t take that lightly. We strive to work one-on-one with clients to understand how they live and create spaces where they can decompress, entertain, feel inspired, and everything else between. 

We love supporting local and are always curious how businesses got their start in Naples. What brought you here? My family and I have been coming to Florida to vacation from when I was young. Many of my Cleveland clients were purchasing second homes in the area, and my time became split enough down here that it only made sense for my husband and I to purchase a condo. I was able to grow the Naples office enough to have dedicated designers for all of our Florida clients so I could travel and keep eyes on every ongoing project nationwide. Since then, our Florida team continues to grow and expand, allowing us to service Naples and beyond! 

What are a few differences you see between the Naples and Cleveland design scene, specifically focusing on what you see as “trends” here in Naples? Naturally, here in Naples, we’ve experienced the “coastal craze” and have adapted designs to allow clients to enjoy their white and neutral shades while remaining timeless and high-end. Many of our clients are Midwestern, so we’re able to indulge in more traditional design while still incorporating an edgy beach-inspired feel. We love honoring waterfront elements while keeping depth, too; for example, juxtaposing dark woods with shiny white paint. I’m seeing a lot of clients getting back to traditional elements and being more open to incorporating things like collection design with a modern beach feel. 

What does the process of incorporating custom elements look like on your projects? We always start by working directly with the client to identify their budget and determine what will go toward furniture versus architectural elements, like built-ins or structural adjustments. It’s my personal opinion that gorgeous and thoughtful architectural details make furniture and design look 100 times better. It just makes the entire space look more rich and special. We’ll walk through the home and identify what’s in the foreground, middle ground, and background to determine how we’ll create the intended look and feel. Creating spatial division through ceiling details or wall features really allows clients to maximize on their available space and begin separating rooms—even if there aren’t physical walls in place. This is especially true in open concept condo plans!

We’re also huge on lighting. We place an emphasis on clients’ lighting to enhance the atmosphere of the home, ease into the evening hours, and properly highlight artwork adorning the walls. The best compliment is working with a client who travels the world and still prefers to return to their home. 

How do you recommend potential clients to start the process of designing with you? Let’s dive into the difference between working on a new build, remodel, beachfront condo, or Port Royal estate. We’re extremely comfortable working in large estates as that’s our typical project in the north and midwest. As a full-service design firm, we’ll collaborate with the architect, builder, and client from start to finish to ensure every detail is thoughtfully managed. We’ll ask clients what their lifestyle is like—do they enjoy playing puzzles, hosting guests, watching a big game in the living room, or an intimate wine night for two?—and curate elements of the home to allow for those activities. We work with a plethora of great builders and architects here in Naples, in Cleveland, and all over the world, so we’re comfortable working alongside different building styles and concepts. Whether it’s ground-up new construction, a restoration or renovation or penthouse suite, our goal is to see clients leaving their first design meeting energized rather than exhausted. That’s what puts a smile on our face! 

Interior design project by W Design in Naples, FL

What’s the latest and greatest at W Design? We’d love a tease for upcoming projects to look forward to! Here in Naples, we are wrapping up a penthouse suite in Kalea Bay, where the client trusted the process and allowed us to work our magic top to bottom. It turned out extraordinary, and we’re thrilled to unveil it! We have exciting new builds with an emphasis on custom living… Many of our upcoming residential projects are making clients’ homes almost a sanctuary or resort. It’s really cool.

In Ohio, our team is working on a classic, Victorian-style, 17,000-square-foot lakefront property with a breathtaking view. We’re having a lot of fun reclaiming pieces from the Victorian era to upgrade the entire home while paying homage to its roots.

A similar yet vastly different project is also underway in Chicago: a 105-year-old home we’ve been honored to restore and bring back to life. Another waterfront property in Michigan and a slew of restaurant and hospitality designs… it’s safe to say we’ll be busy this year. 

As a lover of all things culinary in Naples, we’re thrilled to hear about restaurant designs. Anything we can look forward to enjoying locally? Actually, yes! Stay tuned as we’ll be collaborating with a new-to-Naples restaurant and bar with a really fresh approach and swanky, edgy design. More to come on that! 

When you’re not working in gorgeous homes, where can we find you locally? My perfect day is spent exploring art galleries in Olde Naples before dinner at Campiello or Barbatella. My husband and I love grabbing a cocktail at The Capital Grille or boating and enjoying the water. And of course, I always enjoy spending time in my own sanctuary at home! 

W Design has received Aurora Awards in gold in major categories, Sand Dollar Awards, and recognition for Interior Design of the Year in the highest category by ASID. To stay up to date on the daily happenings of W Design, follow along on Instagram at @w_designinteriors.