THIS ENTREPRENEUR FOLLOWED IN HER MOTHER’S FOOTSTEPS AND CREATED A UNIQUE BRAND WITH HER TOTTENVILLE INTERIOR DESIGN FIRM
BY JENNIFER VIKSE • PHOTOS BY AMANDA DOMENECH
As a teenager on Staten Island’s South Shore, Sabrina Yost would help her mother at her small gift shop, White Elephant Interiors, which soon became a showroom for décor and furniture in Grasmere. Yost, then a student at Tottenville High School, would help her interior designer mom on the weekends.
“When I was older, I was busy raising my family. While they were at school, I started working part time for my mother again. That turned into renovations and flipping properties. It was something I loved doing,” she explained.
But that wasn’t the end of it. While she loved flipping homes, she was also frequently asked by friends and acquaintances to help them out with their projects.
“They often said I could do this. I just didn’t know where to begin,” she said.
After some soul searching and a shove of encouragement from her best friend, Yost decided to take the leap.
“I just started…I put the word out there. I asked questions, became familiar with the companies,” she said. “A small job turned into a huge job, and success just began.”
In 2012, she opened Interiors by Sabrina, LLC, which specializes in residential and commercial interiors, including condominiums, co-ops, offices, and houses. Her work has taken her all over the tri state area, including Weehawken, Holmdel, Manalapan, Lincroft, Battery Park City, Westchester, and Tribeca. The commercial component of the practice includes modeling interiors for rental purposes, including conference rooms, libraries, and catering halls. At press time, she was just wrapping up a major project with St. Joseph by the Sea High School in Huguenot.
At the start of the venture, Yost operated out of a space with a private entrance at her home. Soon, she outgrew that. Now the company is on Amboy Road in Tottenville and includes a team of assistants, and also her mom.
The 1,200 square foot showroom features furniture, décor, accessories, and other items.
“I keep custom upholstery on the floor American made for clients to sit in and feel the quality,” she said. “I want them to feel the comfort, see the uniqueness. I offer home accessories, which are a very important aspect to completing any design…and most of what I carry you won’t find elsewhere locally.”
For the designer, who holds a diploma from the Interior Design Institute, days are not long enough, but nevertheless enjoyable.
“I love to make homes beautiful,” she said. “I have the ability to talk to a client and pull it all together. I love working with color. There isn’t a place, a restaurant or store, I enter and not think about changes I would implement to make it look more beautiful or functional.”
Asked about her range of clients, Yost explained that, “Some know what they want, some have no idea…that’s always fun. I like to have the freedom of having clients who really trust me. Those are the best projects. I know they’ll be happy in the end, and I always love a challenge. I treat every design task as if it’s my own home.”
She joked, however, that there aren’t enough hours in the day. A typical work cycle has her identifying projects she wants to work on (perhaps a new client consultation), then time in the showroom where there are distractions that include walk ins, deliveries, furniture assembly, and phone calls. “It’s a lot,” she admitted, but she clearly wouldn’t have it any other way
Inspiration for Yost is found nearly everywhere. She and her husband enjoy travelling and taking in architecture, dining out, weekends in Manhattan visiting museums and at the Jersey Shore. “I love to travel. That’s a big chunk of what fuels my creativity,” she said.
She’s also locally minded supporting area businesses and schools, as well as her parish, Our Lady Help of Christians Church, and Father Flannigan’s Boys Town and the Unity Games.
With her kids now in their twenties, Yost says her schedule is slightly easier to manage, but the house still has to run smoothly and even young adults need support and guidance. To keep everything in balance, she said, “it’s all hands on deck” in terms of laundry and meal preparation (with thanks to Amazon Fresh for delivery). That structure works well for the clan, which includes two small dogs.
“We spend a lot of time together as a family,” she said. “I have a great relationship with my husband. Everyone pitches in.”
Interiors by Sabrina, LLC
7323 Amboy Road / 718.227.0010 /