Crystal Photiou of CP Interiors: Elevating Clients’ Style

CP Interiors, Design
As part of a project that Photiou is just completing in Point Lookout is a living room with a unique shape with a grasscloth-clad ceiling and a striking chandelier.
Austin Jensen

Whether in the Hamptons or on the Gold Coast, or all points in between, CP Interiors elevates its clients’ style preferences to provide them with a beautiful space that truly reflects who they are.

Crystal Photiou, the founder, says her firm is not trend-driven, but rather offers timeless designs, while also being polished, yet not stuffy, and, perhaps most importantly, livable. Unlike many interior designers, she is not known for a certain look and doesn’t even like to tell people what her aesthetic is.

“I’m not a one-trick pony,” she says. “My superpower is I’ll go into somebody’s house and I’ll listen to what they’re saying, how they want to live in their home, and I will design into that,” she says, adding she doesn’t believe in forcing her aesthetic onto her clients.

CP Interiors, design
Crystal Photiou inside one of her clients’ homesAustin Jensen

“Once I leave somebody’s house they have to live there, so it has to reflect them, but it has to be the best version of them — a stylized, fashionable version of them.”

She says she finds “unexpected ways” to accomplish this.

For example, she mentions a large-scale project she is currently working on in Sands Point. The gentleman who owns the home has a low-key Ralph Lauren style, “But what I did was elevate him in a way that I kept the feeling of his fabrics cozy and warm, but I brought in a curve that he didn’t expect. I brought in a more modern chaise that was unexpected style-wise for him,” she says. “That’s now his favorite piece.”

Photiou has been working with clients for the last 20 years from her home base in Nassau County.

Previously, she had a successful career in fashion for 18 years. “So it was sort of a natural transition to interiors,” she says.

The cascading shell staircase in this home deserved to be showcased, along with a butterfly chandelier in the sitting area at the base of the stairs, says the designer.Austin Jensen

Fashion gave her a good foundation for beginning her career in interior design. While working for a private label, she worked for different clients, such as Henri Bendel and Macy’s. “So I learned how to design into Bendel’s … and then the next day I’m working in Macy’s and I’m translating what that client wants.”

Photiou left fashion after having a child. “I went back to school and I segued into interior design,” she remembers.

“I love fabric — in fashion I loved fabrics, colors, mixing, matching, coordinating — the whole thing,” she says. “I actually strapped on an apron and worked in a fabric store while I went back to school after being vice president of a big company,” she adds with a laugh. “It was really good training!”

She already had experience with how fabric was tailored, plus she has a good eye. She started out designing window treatments while working in the fabric store during the day and attending classes at night, all while juggling a 2-and-a-half-year-old.

Soon it wasn’t just the windows she was focused on in homes.

Photiou “sourced the most wondrous, interesting, fearless chandeliers throughout” the home for her client, including a chandelier and table lamps in the bedroom.Austin Jensen

“I nod to trends, but I make sure that you’re going to want this in your home. I don’t want to be able to say, ‘Well, I do black frame windows’ and then 10 years from now we knew that that was 2023 or 2022,” she says. “But I like black frame windows. So if you ask me for black frame windows, I will do it in a way that doesn’t just scream this year — it has to have a timeless edge to it.”

One idea, she said, is “I might not do it in a white house with black frame windows. I might do it with a color — I’m not afraid of colors.”

In a bathroom on a recent project that Photiou posted on her Instagram page @CPInteriors, there are lots of blacks and whites used, along with industrial-style elements, a nod towards trends, without being too trendy. The shower glass door over the tub is a back trim, along with an open vanity with a black faucet. She used a long porcelain subway tile with marble-like veining on the wall to the height of typical wainscoting, then finished the rest of the wall with gray wallpaper.

Your home needs to work for your lifestyle, for it to be functional and yet beautiful and relaxing at the same time.

“Your home shouldn’t be your shrine,” she says. “I’m always telling moms, young moms that have play school toys and all of that plastic stuff — those are necessary evils for that stage of your life. But I love to set the tone. You want to walk into a home and the first areas that you walk into are peaceful, are calm, are uncluttered — that sets the tone of what your home looks like,” she continues. “And then as you get further into the home, I make sure that you live there.

In a bedroom, another chandelier takes center stage. Also, Photiou used a bar from elsewhere in the home and converted it to a makeup vanity for the teenager living in this space.Austin Jensen

“I’m there to take the chaos outta your life,” she says. “I’m here to figure out where to hide all your stuff, hide all your crazies.

Her projects range from small to large, renovations to new builds.

“I love when I can come in from the ground up. I’m working on a house now that I’m in the last stages of in Point Lookout. I know the client from 13 years ago when she built her first home, and I came back to do this new home. I started with every little finishing decision that’s so stressful to make — I made those decisions,” Photiou says.

“Sometimes an empty space is a good thing. A lot of times people don’t always understand that. They see spaces and they want to fill them up,” she adds. “Actually a lot of what I do, I guess, is restraint.”