Designing Mind

By Ilene Denton Photography by Lori Sax March 1, 2009

Sarasota native Brittany Zachos, 21, won’t receive her interior design degree from Ringling College of Art and Design until May, but she’s already completed a major residential commission—a 3,000-square-foot home for a Norwegian family settling in Heritage Harbour. And working with her mom, she has also launched a line of women’s sleepwear that hit retailers in January.

Design to me: Is an opportunity to enhance people’s lives. It’s very important to have a place you feel comfortable in. My “aha” moment: I realized I wanted to go into interior design in high school. My mom designs swimming pools for a local company, so I’ve always been around design. Ringling taught me: That it’s less about decorating and more about interior architecture—construction, lighting design and space planning—which is more exciting. I also learned about: Sustainable design. There are so many products now that are recycled or that come from sustainable forests and are safe for the environment. It was an eye opener to see that you don’t have to sacrifice design when you choose something eco-friendly. My breakout: I did the space plan for the Suncoast Community Blood Bank volunteer office in its headquarters on Mound Street. I even negotiated a half-price rate on the cabinets from a local cabinet design company. My first home project: They’re a young family of four with a new baby. My mom had designed their pool and introduced them to me. I met with them for two hours, and they hired me on the spot. I was surprised; they hadn’t seen any of my work, but they had a lot of faith in me and they trusted me with their budget. I selected casual contemporary furniture because it’s Florida and, coming from Norway, they’re used to modern furniture. I used a lot of brown, deep blues and creams. We did it all via e-mail.  

Now my mom and I: Have designed a woman’s clothing brand called Zachos—comfortable, good-looking women’s sleepwear and casual wear for all ages. I designed the pieces for women in my age bracket, and she designed those for her age group. They’re made of 95 percent Tencel and 5 percent spandex, and they’re very soft, very elegant, all mix and match in black, plum, rose pink and sky blue. We’ve hired a New York marketing rep who works with Tommy Hilfiger. You can see the line online at


Design Datebook

Parade of Homes

Feb. 21-Sunday, March 8


10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sundays noon to5 p.m. Free.

Co-sponsored by the Sarasota Building Industry Association and Home Builders Association of Manatee County. Despite the real estate downturn, 17 builders have entered 50 models in this parade, in 10 developments across both counties. New this year is a remodeling division, including a remodeled Manasota Key estate with a magnificent 20-foot-tall, $70,000 front door. Visit for more.


ASID Florida West Coast Chapter Designer Digs 

Saturday and Sunday,

March 14 and 15

11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; $20

Here’s something new: 10 ASID designers throw open their own homes to the public, to benefit ASID community projects. Tickets on sale at Benjamin Moore paint dealers.


What’s Next?

A big-screen idea for the outdoors. Sarasota’s own Jason Champion is the award-winning designer of fresh, bold and upbeat outdoor furniture and accessories through his Jason Champion Outdoor line. Case in point: this Deco screen in bright yellow, red and blue. Catch the entire new Deco collection at his showroom on 334 S. Washington Blvd.

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