Designer and Sarasota native Brittany Zachos will soon become an HGTV celebrity. Reality TV show “Property Brothers” hired Zachos to work behind the scenes in the fifth season of the show, in which identical twin brothers Drew (the real estate agent) and Jonathan Scott (the contractor) help couples find and renovate fixer-uppers on a budget. At 28, Zachos has already started her own design firm Rye, New York. The principal designer of the Zachos Design Group has lived in New York City for five years, but she still holds her Sarasota roots near and dear. Not only did Zachos grow up in Sarasota, but she also attended the Ringling School of Art and Design.
Unravel called Zachos up to talk Sarasota, ice cream, Tina Fey and all things design.
Q: How do you like New York? What was the biggest adjustment?
A: I think the biggest thing was the hustle and the pace. It’s really way different from Florida and the South. People are very busy and getting where they need to be.
Q: What was it like growing up in Sarasota?
I think that because I’m in an artistic field, Sarasota was very influential with that. It gives you that culture you wouldn’t get in other places. …Living up here now, people know what Sarasota is. Half of the New Yorkers vacation down there now. I was walking down the street and some guy was talking about Sarasota, Fla. I see myself having hopefully a second home when I can. Growing up there is great because…you get the culture of the arts and then the small town. Up here, New Yorkers aren’t as friendly as people down in Sarasota. It kind of impacts you more than you thought you would. …I definitely miss it.
Q: How did you get into design?
A: My mom was a swimming pool designer in Florida and she had that creative gene in her that got passed to me. Ten or 15 years ago my parents were renovating homes. When I was just getting into high school, I was involved in those projects and kind of fell in love with it. I knew when I was 15 years old that this was what I wanted to do.
Q: How does growing up in Sarasota influence your design?
A: I think Sarasota was a big part of my life. I grew up there. It’s a big core of how I do design and how I run my business. My goal is to eventually open up down there too in the next couple of years — to be able to design in those areas and so I can visit, especially. I think it influences my color palettes, keeping things very neutral. It goes with the landscape down there. I like to do pops of color. Using those soothing colors: the greens the blues. I think that’s influenced by the beach. Also up here there are some spots on the water. In the Hamptons, it kind of has the same beach design aesthetic where you’re mixing textures, and tans and linens.
Q: How would you describe your style as a designer?
A: I really love mixing classic design with modern. That way none of the design is too contemporary or to traditional. You’re mixing elements from each category.
Q: What was the most useful thing you learned at Ringling College?
A: Ringling’s curriculum was very intense. The discipline with that was very helpful, as well as the technology training. They are very on the forefront with technology as far as interior design. Up here as things change. …3D renderings. All of that is really used with interior design now.
Q: Favorite restaurant in Sarasota?
A: Owen’s Fish Camp
Q: Siesta or Lido?
Q: Tina Fey or Amy Poehler?
A: Tina Fey
Q: Andy Samberg or Justin Timberlake?
A: Justin Timberlake
Q: Favorite ice cream?
A: Mint chocolate chip