Studio Designer CEO Keith Granet is interviewing top designers in the trade with The Business of Design Interview Series to mark the new edition of his seminal book The Business of Design. Visionary designer Elizabeth Roberts joined Keith for an enlivening discussion about her work as a “titan of the townhouse” and how her cult fanbase has fueled her rise to prominence.

Elizabeth Roberts headshot
Photo by Matthew Williams

Elizabeth Roberts has become one of the most admired designers in the country for her exceptional work in “redefining urban townhouse living” with her architecture and design studio Elizabeth Roberts Architects. With her architectural preservation roots, Elizabeth has become the modern master of the Brooklyn Brownstone with an impressive portfolio of design projects in this historic home style. In both residential and commercial spaces, her work has established a high standard for designs that enhance signature historical elements with her distinct creative touch.

Cozy living room with fireplace
Townhouse in West Village, New York City | Photo by Nicole Franzen

Elizabeth cultivated a singular understanding of “light and space” during her childhood in Marin County, CA that comes across beautifully in her aspirational and cozy living spaces for her clients. Her talent was recognized by Architectural Digest who listed her on the AD100 list again this year. She also maintains relationships with notable clients including fashion designers Ulla Johnson and Rachel Comey, designing homes and retail stores for them that capture their creative sensibilities.

Bright kitchen with a marble kitchen island
Kitchen of Designer Ulla Johnson | Photo by Cassie Floto-Warner

Taking her design mastery beyond residential spaces is a natural progression for Elizabeth’s firm and commercial projects include the Ulla Johnson retail shop in New York City, plus restaurant and flower shop Il Fiorista. Elizabeth also designed a furniture line for Radnor and is working with the Brooklyn Museum. Read more about her in this short interview with her in advance of her live webinar interview on Friday, September 17th.

Living room with a fireplace with wooden elements
Townhouse in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, New York | Photo by Dustin Aksland

What are your favorite sources for inspiration?

I find inspiration from traveling. I love staying at interesting hotels and living in someone else’s designs. I love visiting people’s homes, thumbing through design magazines and walking in nature. I gain inspiration from sitting with my staff of younger architects and designers and learning what they love. The studio shares past projects and inspiration with one another. I find that the talented people who work with me have great taste!

How long have you used Studio Designer?

Approximately four years.

Tables in a restaurant with colorful patterns on the wall
Il Fiorista Flower Shop and Restaurant in New York City | Photo by Kyle Knodell

Does you have a product collaboration or special design project you’d like to highlight?

Yes, this year I designed a line of furniture for Radnor and co-curated their showroom. Each piece in my collection is titled Triad and I designed a Triad Desk, a Triad Pouf, and a Triad Side Table.

Elizabeth Roberts in the bright hall
Elizabeth and three pieces she designed for Radnor Furniture | Photo by Matthew Williams
Triad Table
Triad Table for Radnor | Photo by Matthew Williams

Do you have other exciting news to share?

We are about to launch an exciting project with the Brooklyn Museum. We have redesigned the rear sculpture garden with our eyes toward possibly taking over part of the parking lot someday, dreaming big! Also we designed a general store / cafe on the North Fork of Long Island.

A spacious and bright clothes boutique
Ulla Johnson’s Bleecker Street boutique | Photo by Dustin Aksland