Designer Friday: An ASPIRE Exclusive Interview With Rachel Alcorn

By working with Two Hands Interiors since 2005, Rachel Alcorn has had the opportunity to design spectacular homes and commercial interiors. Proving her passion for design, she took over as the principal of Two Hands where she was able to guide the company in the direction she envisioned. From the get-go, the Two Hands’ ethos stems from the founder’s work as a sculptor which translated into the ‘hands-on’ approach that they take when designing interiors. Two Hands Interiors continues to flourish and has been featured on Angela Davis’ Radio Show and Naperville Magazine. Introducing this week’s Designer Friday, Rachel Alcorn of Two Hands Interiors.

When planning for this family dining room, Rachel wanted to incorporate functionality and sophistication so it’s ready to entertain family and friends when the timing is right. The best part is the hidden wet bar sink that is gracefully hidden in the cabinetry. Photo by Michael Kaskel.

Andrew Joseph: How do you define beauty?
Rachel Alcorn: I find the most beauty in saturated colors, organic shapes and authentic patina. There is no formula and these elements can be found in many contexts – a Japanese maple with its fiery leaves and rough bark, a vintage Persian rug, an oil portrait painting. Authenticity and boldness are character traits I admire in both people and interiors – true beauty almost always surprises us.

For this family of 8, space is everything. Rachel made sure to meticulously incorporate the client’s request for an Italian-inspired aesthetic and a fully functioning kitchen for meal prep and gatherings. Photo by Michael Kaskel.

Andrew: Describe your personal style.
Rachel: I feel most myself in a printed dress with some vintage jewelry and my hair loose. At home, I tend to surround myself with warm colors and vintage rugs and textiles and I’ll never live without the vintage paintings I’ve been collecting for most of my adult life.

Andrew: What’s inspiring you in life and the design world right now?
Rachel: I’m inspired by the collective push across the industry to highlight designers and makers of color. Having a more diverse world of interiors can only benefit the collective whole and I’m excited to see how a more inclusive approach might change design trends. In my personal life, I’m always inspired by travel. My senses come alive in a new environment and I’m constantly taking photos of foliage and floors and collections of colors that feel new to me. Those snapshots are often the starting point to creating a palette for an interior project.

The owner’s of this 1920s home knew they wanted to keep the interiors feeling interesting and fun. With bold prints, patterns, and a preppy influence, Rachel was able to make these homeowners dreams come true. Photo by Carolina Rodriguez.

Andrew: Best advice you would give your teenage self?
Rachel: Don’t worry about pleasing everybody! I spent a lot of my teens and early twenties doing things career-wise and in my personal life to get approval from people. It’s scary to live in your most authentic self, and I’m still learning, but I think it’s the truest path to joy.

Andrew: If you could guest star on any TV show – on or off air – what show would you guest star in?
Rachel: “Mad Men” for sure, for the clothes!

This was the owner’s second restaurant and second time working with Rachel and Two Hands Interiors. As with their first collaboration, they kept the signature Blackberry color as a common thread and sprinkled in bold tiles with plenty of white to keep it fresh. Photo by Rod Pickett.

Andrew: Do you get 8 hours a night, what’s your schedule like?
Rachel: Definitely not 8 hours a night! Now that I have teenagers I’m definitely burning the midnight oil – always trying to stay up until the house is finally quiet and I can grab my alone time. My schedule varies a ton, but I’m a pretty flexible person and I thrive on variety, so that works for me. My biggest challenge is being disciplined about exercise and turning off work – I tend to work all the time.

About The Maker | An adventurer at heart, Rachel thrives on crafting the vision and using nature as a muse for her work. With an expert’s eye for mixing, Rachel fearlessly incorporates vintage and global treasures into her interiors. She is able to connect with clients at a deep level, and takes seriously the task of understanding the look and feel they want in their homes.

Despite an undergrad major in Geology and a Masters in Social Work, Rachel found herself with a newborn baby working part time for an established interior designer. The world of interiors was opened to her and she hasn’t looked back since. Now the owner of the firm, she’s most passionate about helping clients get out of the box and live with functional beauty.

Andrew Joseph is a regular contributing editor for ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME magazine. See more of his work here.

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ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME is seeker and storyteller of the sublime in living. It is a global guide to in-depth and varied views of beauty and shelter that stirs imagination; that delights and inspires homeowners as well as art and design doyens. Collaborating with emergent and eminent architects, artisans, designers, developers and tastemakers, ASPIRE creates captivating content that savors the subjects and transports with stunning imagery and clever, thought-provoking writing. Through lush and unique visuals and a fresh editorial lens, ASPIRE explores what is new and undiscovered in art, interiors, design, culture, real estate, travel and more. ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME is an international narrative and resource for all seeking the sublime.