Designer in the Spotlight – Rosanna Pappalardo

As a qualified kitchen and bathroom designer Rosanna Pappalardo is making waves on the Sunshine Coast.

Rosanna’s passion for interior design dates back to her school days. However, she was discouraged from those around her who believed it wasn’t a viable path for her. She was advised that success in interior design might require moving away from her family, pushing her towards a more conventional career with transferrable skills. Consequently, she pursued a career in Accounting and Quality Assurance, gaining valuable skills that would later serve as a foundation for her entrepreneurial journey.

Despite her day job, Rosanna’s interest in interior design persisted. She enrolled in an Interior Decoration course during her spare time, and her enthusiasm for the field led her to pursue a qualification in Interior Design. She even dedicated her time to volunteer work with an established Interior Designer and Decorator, aiming to gain firsthand experience in the industry. Although her family still viewed her design passion as a mere hobby, Rosanna was determined to turn it into something she could do for a living.

Rosanna took a bold step one day, and without a detailed plan or substantial financial backing, she launched her own business, initially offering Interior Decoration services and as her business gained momentum, she expanded her offerings to include full-fledged Interior Design services. Today, she is the proud Owner and Head Interior Designer of RJP Design and Decor, based in Caloundra and offering services to clients across the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane.

Along the way she also added a specialist qualification in kitchen and bathroom design – the Certificate IV in Kitchens, Bathroom and Interior Spaces with DTA.

Rosanna’s practice has evolved to cover a wide range of design services, including Kitchen Design, Bathroom Design, Interior and Exterior Colour Schemes, Furniture Layout, Space Planning, Product Sourcing, Pre-sale Makeovers, and the Supply and Installation of Blinds, Curtains, and Shutters. Her expertise extends to both renovations and new developments. She also works in both residential and commercial spaces.

Rosanna has found some time to share some insights and some of her project images with us.

What made you decide to specialise in kitchen and/or bathroom design?

I love all things design and decoration. I loved the drafting side of it initially with how things started as a drawing and came to life in real time – I actually loved the hand drafting as I was much better at drafting than at free drawing. I taught myself Computer Aided Drawing (CAD), using my manual drafting skills already acquired, which I enjoy even though it can be time consuming.

Kitchens and Bathrooms are the main areas of the home so these are very important to get right so every other space can flow and evolve. I wanted to be involved with the heart of the home as if this is done right, then everything else unfolds naturally.

How do you stay up to date with current trends?

Being a member of a few different professional membership groups keeps me up to date with trends and standards and anything happening in the industry.

I also read lots of articles and magazines, listen to podcasts and watch TV series relating to renovations, interior design and architecture.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

The most challenging part of my job is charging for my time. I am so passionate about what I do and love doing it, I have to pinch myself sometimes because I didn’t think work could be this fun! So, I forget that I need to value my time.

Another challenge is that there is not enough time in each day! If I didn’t have a family, I would be lost in the design world, getting inspired, travelling, and working all the time…but enjoying it! So, I struggle to fit in everything into my day and wear my “many hats” so to speak.

Do you have a signature style or favourite trend?

My favourite styles are art deco and mid-century modern. I love adapting the old world with the new world, treasuring the history and celebrating its evolution at the same time.

I love how the Japanese live and how they create simplicity and calmness in a hectic world. I am inspired by this with everything I do for myself but also for others.

Do you have a favourite project or project you are extra proud of?

I have two favourite completed projects and one that I will be extra proud of which I am working on at present.

One past project is a unit renovation in Golden Beach which I won the 2019 KBDi Qld Small Kitchen Designer. This was one of my first major projects after becoming a mum which made it extra special.

The second past project is the design of my own home in Pelican Waters. I selected every colour, material and finish; and designed the floor plan. I feel proud living in it and thinking “I did this”.

I’m looking forward to the completion of my latest project that I will be extra proud of. It’s a big commercial project and I was very honoured to be approached to assist them with the refurbishment –so watch this space!

What keeps you inspired to be creative for your clients?

I do mainly residential design, so I’m inspired by resolving an issue for my clients in how they live or feel in their homes. If I can be creative but practical; and seeing them so happy at the handover of the project is my reward. Many clients I keep in touch with after the projects too, some even become friends. I enjoy seeing how they are living in their renovated properties and how it has changed their lives for the better.

I have completed some small commercial projects too and I feel if I can make something beautiful again that is appreciated by many then that ticks all my boxes. Then it inspires me for the next project.

I also love looking at fellow and overseas designers’ work in the industry and how they push the boundaries, become successful and evolve as designers. It’s really inspiring me to do the same with my work.

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