Charlotte Osterman’s happy family home in a popular West of the Trail neighborhood is a living laboratory for the light, bright, colorful textiles and prints she creates for her eponymously named company.
From the curtains to the bedspreads to the sofa upholstery, and even to the one-of-a-kind fabric-covered surfboard she commissioned from Juan Rodriguez of Sarasota’s One World Surf Designs that hangs in the living room, Osterman has put her joy-filled aesthetic sensibility to eye-catching effect.
The former print director for famed clothing designer Diane von Furstenberg, Osterman and her husband moved to Sarasota from Chicago three years ago, where she since has realized her dream of creating her own collection of textiles for the home. She sells fabrics all over the country through a showroom in Charleston, South Carolina, and here in Sarasota through interior designer Ellen Hanson’s downtown retail shop, Pansy Bayou.
“When we lived in Chicago, I moved into my husband’s dark bachelor pad, with black and gold upholstery,” she says. Moving to Florida opened a world of creative inspiration “in the tropical plants, the color of the water, the midcentury architecture—just everything.”
She and her husband completely transformed the drab and aging ranch-style home with the help of home builder T.J. Nutter. The home now has an open floor plan and a big new master suite. Bright white walls and white oak floors form a clean canvas for tile, fabrics, furniture and other accessories in shades of coral, blue, pink and yellow.
Osterman even commissioned tiles made in her geometric Azulego pattern from a Tampa tile manufacturer that she’s used as the backsplash for her outdoor kitchen; a mini-collection of tiles may be in her future, she says.
Osterman’s career had a bit of a fairy-tale start. A graphic design major at California Institute for the Arts, Osterman was working in the tech industry in San Francisco when she heard that von Furstenberg—renowned worldwide for her vivid printed wrap dresses—would be making a personal appearance at Neiman Marcus. “I put together a book of my work and brought my friend with me, so I wouldn’t chicken out,” she says. “[Diane] invited me to her hotel [to talk further] and I ended up going to New York to work for her. I learned everything about fabrics from her.” Osterman also designed fabrics for Rachel Roy and other fashion brands.
“My home design philosophy stems from my fashion career,” she says. “It’s similar to the way I like to dress and how I like to wear print. I like odd combinations together. I like color.”
Her advice to those who want to introduce color into their own lives:
Don’t be too matchy-matchy. Variations on color create depth, and so do complementary colors.
Colors are more interesting when they are coming from old and new worlds; a mix of vintage colors and new colors tells a color story.
Work with palettes you love.
Nutter Custom Construction, Builder
Interiors by Charlotte Osterman Textiles and Print
Styling by Ellen Hanson Designs + Pansy Bayou