Designer Spotlight Series – Cynthia Ryan with Circa Studio 8 Interiors

Hi iHomeRegistry Users! We are SO excited to announce our new Designer Spotlight series! Every week, we will feature an amazingly talented Interior Designer that is part of our iHomeRegistry Community! After all, we are the #socialnetworkforinteriordesigners, right?!

This week we are happy to announce Cynthia Ryan, of Circa Studio 8 Interiors! Cynthia shares her tips on which pieces of furniture to splurge on, last minute dinner party decor, and who her Designer crushes are!

Circa Studio 8 Interiors
Circa Studio 8 Interiors

1.      How did you get started in Interior Design?

I think I flirted with Interior Design for most of my life. When I was very young, my mechanical engineer father gave me a big red brick building set, which I absolutely loved.  After University of Maryland and Maryland Drafting Institute, I began working in a small lead Architectural section where we would draw all the tracking stations in the world for the Space Shuttle missions. I then transitioned into a Graphic Design position and then onto Kitchen and Bath, which I excelled at and loved! When I relocated to San Diego I started attending The Design Institute of San Diego where I earned my BFA in Interior Design. I felt like it was fate!

2.      Where do you find your inspiration?

Everywhere! Nature, art, museums, travel, antiquities/old cultures and Architecture for sure, as that was where I originally wanted to direct my education. There are also certain museum exhibitions that I just cannot miss!

Circa Studio 8 Interiors
Circa Studio 8 Interiors


3.      What are your favorite design publications?

My favorites are Elle Décor, Veranda, San Diego Home and Garden, Luxe, and I recently started subscribing to Milieu… beautiful photography!

Screen Shot 2016-08-14 at 5.11.27 PM Screen Shot 2016-08-14 at 5.12.18 PM

4.       When designing a cost-effective space, what are some key things to keep in mind?

I really think the big key is to decide where to invest your money and how to divide the budget up. For example: One can find a sofa at any price range, but how is it built? Will it last? Is it comfortable? I try to figure out how many quality pieces that can be afforded and what we must compromise on. Accessories for example, they are very plentiful and easily obtained at affordable prices, and you don’t have to sit on them!

5.     What pieces of furniture should you splurge and where should you save?

I think sofas and a few good chairs, I think you can sneak in some occasional pieces that are of lesser quality. I say buy a great mattress and bedding, and case goods that last. I have a very high quality sofa in my living room and a 800 lb. walnut armoire in my bedroom that I bought when first married, and I still love them both!

6.       You have last minute guests coming over for dinner – how would you decorate for them?

Fresh Flowers, fresh linens, candles, beautiful ice bucket and glasses. I like a mix of place settings. I am not much for matchy-matchy, Oh and lots of wine! I like these days for it to be somewhat casual and comfortable.

Circa Studio 8 Interiors
Circa Studio 8 Interiors

7.      Who is your favorite Celebrity Interior Designer?

I have a few, but Jean Louis Deniot, would probably be my international favorite and top pick! Domestically; Kelly Wearstler, Thomas Pheasant, Barbara Barry, and Jan Showers.


Jean-Louis Deniot
Jean-Louis Deniot

8.      If you weren’t an Interior Designer, what would you be doing?

Maybe Architecture, City Planning, or possibly a Historian or Docent at a historic place!

Circa Studio 8 Interiors
Circa Studio 8 Interiors


Like what you see? You can check out Cynthia Ryan’s portfolio on HERE!

Check back next week for our next Designer Spotlight!

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