Ceara at home in Charleston, South Carolina

Design is a
hopeful endeavor.

To care about the places and spaces one inhabits is to care about one's world, to believe it worthy of attention and cultivation; to care about one's home is to care about oneself.

While a good home is a place of refuge, inspiration, delight, comfort, and function, thoughtfully and intentionally created by its designer, a great home is all of these things, plus an intangible alchemy. A great home has a vital heart and identity unto itself, which singularly reflects the highest ideals and aspirations of its inhabitants.

Ceara Donnelley Ltd. Co. is an interior design studio that creates great homes. Ceara grew up in and around them, and after a brief legal career, she relented to the near-magnetic force the idea of home, and the thrill of its creation, exerted upon her. A native New Yorker, Ceara moved with her family to Charleston in 2012 and immediately set to work restoring and reimagining the Anne Boone House, a classic single house c. 1740, that has proven playground and laboratory for the distillation of Ceara's design philosophy.

Design Philosophy

This philosophy involves a fundamental commitment to past, present, and future, in equal measure. Preservation, where relevant, is essential, as is honoring techniques and ideas that have stood the test of time. Equally important is design that withstands and enhances the exuberance of modern life, be it filled with children, pets, frequent guests, or treasured stretches of quiet. Finally, Ceara feels strongly that the most successful spaces innovate, winking at the new, even if firmly rooted in an appropriate sense of time and place.

Design Process

Ceara is both a dreamer and a doer. Ever attuned to the way people live in their homes, she can intuit the ideal flow of buildings and rooms and consider each discrete and seemingly mundane detail, while at the same time holding space for the larger conceptual vision. Her commitment to creating evocative, unpredictable spaces pairs well with clients who bring to a project big dreams and unconventional sources of inspiration—a feeling, a photograph, a memory, an idea—and her thoughtful and relaxed demeanor allows her to work exceptionally well on teams, partnering with architects, contractors, and artisans to craft details and solutions that elevate and distinguish each space. She is currently at work on projects from Charleston to the Berkshires, both historic restorations and new construction.