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Meet Alina Wolhardt of Wolf in Sheep Design in South End

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alina Wolhardt.

Alina, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I grew up in Tokyo watching my Japanese mom do interior styling of our home and friends. My dad was Danish so we also spent a lot of time during holidays in Denmark. Between the two countries where design is highly celebrated and integral to their cultures, I felt very at home. Even when I was young, my Mom tells me I was arranging flowers and trying to move peoples furniture to where it should have been.

Interior Design is not just about creating these spaces but the whole experience- how space should touch all of your senses from the actual space, ergonomics, lighting and even smell. There’s a word in Danish called ‘hygge’ that I’m sure many people have heard of but it’s used to describe a feeling of comfort and security, a sense of well-being and happiness and used in their design often. I think interior design goes beyond just creating a space but it’s important to think about the process of how the space makes you feel.

I love creating experiences and spaces for people that leave an impact, big or small.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I moved to Denmark when I was 18 by myself and then came to the US to continue my studies so being away from family has been hard. During the time I was living in Denmark I lost my father and having to start a life in a foreign country on your own has definitely made me mature fast. By the time I was in the US to study interior design I was ready for business- I was not going to school to party. All of these life experiences made me who I am today.

I have been very lucky with the clients that I have met and the support I have been given from friends and family from the start. I was working at Elkus Manfredi Architects when I decided I wanted to start my own firm- that at the time was the perfect time to take a chance. I had experiences working at a great residential firm (Duncan Hughes Interiors) and now big commercial firm and felt I was able to have a nice balance between residential and commercial projects which I both enjoyed. My husband was very supportive of my decision and I’ve just been so lucky to be surrounded by great friends who’s also been extremely supportive.

Wolf in Sheep Design – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I think the most important thing about the design process is to bring something slightly unexpected to the table. The name of the firm is Wolf in Sheep for a reason. I like having unexpected things hidden inside clean and elegant design. Aside from the Japanese and Danish design training and immersion, I think what sets me apart most is the way I don’t try to force my ideas on clients who know what they want. I try to make their vision happen, but add a lot of touches that they might not even know about. The design is about collaboration. Sometimes it’s 90/10 and sometimes 50/50. Either way, I want to always push the envelope.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I’d say it’s a tie between two recent projects. I have had the ability to directly affect Boston’s landscape with a beautiful building in the South End called The Lucas, and design two of Boston’s most beloved Bakery cafes by the super talented Joanne Chang, Flour. Both projects had their fair share of challenges, but it’s great to make the city you live in nicer. Both clients are a pleasure to work with and the projects turned out amazing.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Joyelle West Photography , Natasha Moustache

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