Truth Bee Told Series: Interview with Emily Ruff

Cohesively Curated Emily Ruff


a young designer with heart and drive

We featured Emily Ruff a few weeks ago on Instagram as “one to follow” because her work is amazing! But we have a more personal reason for featuring her. If you read our short post on IG, you’ll know that Emily grew up in the Seattle neighborhood we first called home and she will forever have a very special place in my heart. I can still picture Emily driving her Barbie Jeep around the cul de sac with my daughter at her side, hair blowing in the wind! Our families have shared many wonderful memories through the years and it has been such a joy to watch Emily grow and blossom…

We had the honor of interviewing Emily, and we’re so excited to share her thoughts! Read more below.

When did you first notice that you loved doing design work? Was there a moment that you knew this is what you wanted to do?

I've always loved the decorating side of things, even when I was as young as 6 or 7 I can remember trying to convince my parents that I needed to redecorate my room on a yearly basis. Right after I graduated college I really got into following design blogs and of course Pinterest. I would make design boards for myself and then started doing it for friends just because it was so fun and I loved finding all the pieces to bring a room together. After purchasing our first home 5 years ago and diving into remodeling that is when I knew design was something I wanted to pursue as a career vs. just a hobby. I used our house as my initial portfolio, started taking design classes and then once I created my business started taking on clients all while still working my corporate job full time. It hasn't been easy, but having the education was important to me and the experience from the projects themselves has been invaluable.

cohesively curated emily ruff

Who would you consider is/are the most inspiring designers to you, personally?

I follow so many designers on social media and feel like I am constantly consuming content to get inspiration and see the trends and innovations going on in the design world. The designers that are most inspirational to me are those that didn't have a traditional path and really took their natural talent and made that a career. Mary is definitely one of those people that inspires me along with Emily Henderson, Studio McGee, Amber Interiors, Jenny Komenda, Dina Holland, Katie Hodges and Design Shop Interiors just to name a few! 

What is one thing that you wish everyone knew about the design industry?

One thing I wish that people knew about the industry and hiring a designer in general is that trust is the single most important factor to getting a stellar end result. When a client gives you as much inspiration about their wants, needs, and style upfront and then just lets you run with that and trusts you even on some of the risks that may seem scary, the end result is going to exceed their expectations. Also that it isn't just picking fabrics and finishes, there is so much planning, organization and detail that goes into both decorating and remodel projects and that is really where the value of hiring a designer comes in. 

What's your favorite project that you've completed thus far in your career and why?

My favorite project so far was a remodel in the Laurelhurst neighborhood of Seattle. It is my absolute favorite neighborhood in the city and the clients were a dream to work with. They gave me their full trust from the beginning and the result was amazing. Before they moved in we replaced all the floors throughout with a beautiful white oak, remodeled two bathrooms, painted the entire interior and replaced all the lighting. We will be doing their kitchen next and I can't wait! The house was built in 1947 so making it modern and eclectic while still keeping some traditional elements was really fun.

What's your proudest moment as a designer?

I am only about a year and a half in to doing design professionally, but my proudest moment so far is definitely completing our own home. We just finished the last bathroom remodel in the Fall of 2018 and getting everything photographed knowing it was complete was such a great feeling. I also feel that your own home is the truest reflection of your aesthetic and sharing that with the world is a bit scary, but also super rewarding. 

How would you describe your design style?

I would describe my design style as modern eclectic with a touch of glamour. I really wanted my design philosophy to come through in my business name which is how I came up with "Cohesively Curated." I am anti-catalog, bedroom set, matchy-matchy everything and all about mixing pieces from many different sources, adding in vintage finds, pattern, texture and contrast.

cohesively curated emily ruff

Are there any design trends at the moment that you simply love? What about dislikes?

I love the patterned and cement tile trend and hope it stays around for awhile. I'm also into the bold wallpaper trend especially in powder rooms! I'm over the super modern minimalistic spaces especially kitchens and baths. They feel cold and lack personality. 

Is there something that you feel that is a must-have in all of your designs?

Two must haves in my designs are pattern and contrast. Whether it is a kitchen, bathroom or a living room both of these things are essential. In a bathroom I like to use different tile on the main floor, walls and shower floor so you have a mix of patterns. On a sofa I like to have the two largest pillows in the same textile (usually neutral) and then use different textiles and colors for all of the rest. In terms of contrast, I love a dark vanity or island against white walls and also love to incorporate black into my designs for a little classic edge. 

There you have it…..spoken from not only a talented design professional, but a truly genuine and lovely person! Have a question for Emily? Post your questions in the comments below! And check out our other blog posts here!