The places we call home are as unique and diverse as the very world we share. For Abigail Marcelo Horace, owner and founder of Casa Marcelo, a burgeoning design firm in Falls Village, CT, unique interiors help to define human connection. Starting in 2017, Abigail has used her skill for aesthetically and structurally sound design to bring a varying cultural perspective to each space she designs.
Abigail earned a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Interior Design at the New York Institute of Technology after which she ventured into a broad range of interior, furniture and exhibition designs. Working most recently as a Senior Interior Designer at Dumais ID and Hendricks Churchill, Abigail has worked with renowned clients, for whom she has executed beautiful, high-end, residential projects in luxurious locations, such as Paris, Mustique Island, and state-side, in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York City.
Though she has been extensively well traveled in the design world, her ambitions are continually focused on the interpersonal connections that come with family life. As a first- generation American and daughter of Dominican and Panamanian immigrants, Abigail experienced an upbringing saturated with humor and positivity in the midst of hard times. Her childhood experiences enriched her interior design aesthetic—coloring it with charisma, vibrance and eclecticism. Today, Abigail has doubled-down on her passion for designing for families. As a new mother herself, she has come to see the need to create design systems and functionality within the homes of her clients. Enter Casa Marcelo, and its enriching designs brought to homes throughout the Tri-Corner area and beyond. From her tiny nook in Northwest Connecticut, Abigail seeks to redefine what home means for the global community, and how the places we call home help us better understand the world around us.
How do you feel your design sensibilities touch the surrounding community as well as the global community at large? Can design impact culture and community collectively? Has that changed with everything that has happened this past year?
Our main objective at Casa Marcelo is to create spaces that nurture human life through ebbs and flows. As consumers, we normally do not realize how much our environments impact us until it changes drastically. We believe that your space can either help or hinder your growth in certain areas of your lives. Thus, our studio aims to treat Interior Design as a means to wellness. I help my clients to curate oases where they feel at peace and that reflect who they are. I want my clients to feel at home in refined, effortless spaces with high quality design.
In terms of impacting culture and community — we support local and global communities by creating something that feels homegrown. I consciously choose furniture and/or lighting pieces that are support local communities.. For instance, I prefer to use local brands that are hand-crafted, such as DBO home or Sawkille, with the understanding that I am supporting artistry in a larger respect. If you design while being mindful of the impact you are making on small businesses, tribes, small countries, you can help the client connect with each individual piece in their home, as everything will have a backstory — just like a work of art — and that’s what I strive for.
How would you describe your overall design principles and how were they formed?
Through more than a decade of experience in the Interior Design industry, I have learned through different avenues about the design process, how to make your clients feel like family, and how to care for them professionally. Whether you’re a career woman, Mom, couple, and/or family, at Casa Marcelo, we genuinely believe that everyone deserves to have a beautiful, functional and comfortable home. We achieve that by honing in on who our clients are, what they would like to achieve in their homes, and merging it with my expertise and knowledge in the industry to create a custom-tailored project and experience for our client. I pride myself on my versatility in terms of creating a custom product that reflects each clients’ personality, rather than imposing my personal design aesthetic on the client. This calls for a diverse portfolio of unique styles, which is what I learned, makes a great designer.
I believe every home speaks for itself, you just need someone with vision to translate the language and bring it to life. That is precisely how we operate at Casa Marcelo. Beginning by approaching design through light and space, I consider the space and its special qualities to comprehend it. In many cases, I incorporate complementary architectural details to match and honor the style of the house. My favorite thing to do is visit the home during different times of the day, and observe how natural light interacts with the space. Furthermore, Space Planning is one of my specialties, and I am able to visualize untapped potential in every space. I create plans that naturally maximize space while weaving in my client’s personalities through texture, color, and furniture styles…
You seem to emphasize the familial or human connection with design. How are you able to spread that feeling from client to client?
Yes, I’m so glad you’ve picked up on that! Although Interior Design has previously been inaccessible to so many groups of people, it subconsciously affects us all. The purpose of space is the way a human interacts with it. If we designed spaces that were simply beautiful and photograph-worthy, but not functional, then that would take away the significance of my degree in Interior Design. From studies of human circulation to programming a space, I take a person’s interaction into account at every step of the way. At Casa Marcelo, we do our best to gain a profound understanding of each client by asking how they live their lives. Do you entertain often or are you a homebody? Is beauty more important to you than functionality or vice versa? Where do you spend the most time in your home? What does your day look like during the week, and over the weekend? All of these are questions I ask my clients when initially getting started. It’s essential for me to gain insight to my client at the start so I can nail the final design. I learned very early in my career that there is a lot of psychology involved in Interior Design, and the more you ‘get’ your client, the more successful your project will be in the end.
How do you see your design sensibilities changing moving forward if at all?
Since moving to Northwest Connecticut from New York City, I don’t feel that my design sensibilities have changed much. The client is still the focus, and I use my expertise, approach to home therapy, and design and client research to create an exceptional final product. However, the main difference between the two communities is that in NYC, we design the indoors as a refuge from the city’s energy, so that you can shut the outside out; whereas in Connecticut, it’s quite the opposite — the more outdoor energy you have in your home, the more peaceful it is. I worked on outdoor spaces in my early career, but not nearly as much as I have out here.
Especially since the height of the pandemic, when people are attempting to host socially distanced outdoor gatherings, designing outdoor space is a consideration when tackling a new project. If anything, living in Northwest Connecticut has only expanded my horizons and challenged me to think outside of the home.
For help with your next design project, visit Casa Marcelo at casamarcelo.co