Shannon Cassell believes your home has the ability to shape who you are in the world. It is in this sacred space that you can make memories with those you love most, you can surround yourself with storied treasures that ground you and allow you to rest in its safety and security.
The owner of Raleigh-based design studio Shannon Cassell Interiors took an unconventional path to this point but her design philosophy and her uniquely layered style is a collection of influences from her family, her educational and career experiences and her innate gift of hospitality.
Cassell grew up outside of Dallas, Texas in Plano, where some of her most steadfast memories as a child revolved around home. With both her parents working for a commercial airline, weekends at home were sacred. “My dad and I always worked together on a dollhouse”; slow and steady work focused on architectural details like moldings as well as furniture layouts.
Cassell’s mom had a passion for touring the booming new construction emerging around them and brought her daughter along for the ride. “I have always loved the smell of a new house” says Cassell”. These outings were often balanced with popping in and out of antique stores where her mom would put her finds on layaway, carefully planting the seed that quality pieces were worth the investment.
Cassell went off to college with these love notes to home in her proverbial pocket but her eyes firmly fixed on a more pragmatic path. As a history major and political science minor, she was poised for a law degree which she realized after a short stint working (and skiing!) in Colorado. As her career as an attorney was taking off, Cassell also sought out hobby projects that would nurture her creativity and love of design. The first of these was a personal home renovation in Chicago followed by a townhouse build and the first of many friends asking for help renovating and decorating.
Each new project opened a door to another and fanned the fire of Cassell’s love for design. After an accomplished career of more than fifteen years practicing law, it felt like coming home when Cassell made the decision to open her own design firm. In summer of 2021, Shannon Cassell Interiors was born, a full service boutique design firm focused on creating stunningly beautiful spaces with a soul. With every project there is the opportunity to discover what is meaningful to the client, what brings them joy and helps them cultivate a space that honors their past but also serves them well every day.
Recently Cassell was invited to design a room for Chairity, a fundraising event for the nonprofit The Green Chair Project who reuses donated furnishings for people facing the challenges of homelessness, crisis or disaster. Cassell knew this project was a priority for her. It allowed her to focus on the shared human connection to home and to use the skills she had honed to raise valuable funds to better serve our neighbors. “How can we expect families to flourish if they don’t have one of the most fundamental needs met?”.
Filled with purpose, Cassell got to work. While most designers chose to design living rooms, offering the impact of upholstered pieces like sofas and chairs that take up space and add warmth, Cassell took a different tack. “I’m bringing back the dining room!” Cassell declares. Smitten with any gathering, large or small, curated or impromptu centered around food and fellowship, Cassell believes the dining room can be the hardest working room in the house. It’s where you can play games, learn valuable life lessons, break bread together and, whenever appropriate, enjoy a great bottle of wine.
Cassell resolved to take full advantage of everything The Green Chair Project offered her to design the room, ultimately resulting in more funds raised and more families supported. This presented a unique challenge though. “I wanted to show people how things can be repurposed and reused so I started with a dining table that could easily be found in your grandmother’s house”. It was extremely dated with red cherry tones but it had clean lines. “I could show people how to make it work”. Next Cassell selected a sideboard and had it lacquered black to elevate the style of the room. Then it was time to add the layers Cassell has become known for to her clients.
A rug that Shannon purposefully chose from the remnant collection at Eatman’s Interiors followed by uniquely upholstered dining chairs, statement lighting from Circa Lighting and even a faux window fashioned out of a beautiful multi-paned mirror flanked by custom draperies all resting on Thibaut wallpaper that offers a statement of polished subtlety.
Ultimately Cassell’s efforts contributed to more than 2,000 children and families having a well-equipped home this year. Cassell reflected on how special it was for her to be a part of something bigger than herself. “Designers in this community coming together to support the idea that everyone deserves a beautiful home is something I’m really proud to have been a part of”.
Cassell is looking ahead to a new year full of collaborations and opportunities to create homecomings that are steeped in thoughtful and elevated design yet rich with comfort, familiarity and accessibility. Want to connect with Shannon? Find her at www.shannoncassellinteriors.com.