10 Questions With… Venus Williams

She has four Olympic golds, been listed on Forbes’s Celebrity 100 and Power Women lists, and a successful fashion label, Eleven. But tennis great Venus Williams is on our radar these days because of her design firm, V Starr Interiors. Her first project was a Miami condo for Carlos Boozer; after, she completed hospitality projects around Florida, too.

But now, the firm’s work is expanding outside Williams’s home state. The newly renovated Midtown Athletic Club opens in Chicago August 1 featuring a tennis lounge by the V Starr team. In between Wimbledon matches, Williams squeezed in a conversational rally with us.
Interior Design: What sparked your interest in interior design?
Venus Williams: Growing up, my mom pushed me to explore my creative side. In 1999, I enrolled in fashion school and was immediately drawn in by all types of design. Interiors have always been my favorite.
ID: Does being a professional athlete help you be a good designer?
VW: I travel a lot, so I find inspiration in all the places I visit. Plus, tennis and design have similar challenges. Things move rapidly and you need to think on your feet, whether working with a new client or facing a new opponent on the court. And there’s a shared sense of camaraderie, whether working with my V Starr Interiors team or a doubles partner.

Venus-Williams-Headshot-3-square

ID: What are highlights of your spaces at the Midtown Athletic Club and the Hotel at Midtown?
VW: In the tennis lounge, there are beautiful diagonal lines and striking shades of green and blue that together create energy. The V Suite is more relaxed. The pure white bedroom is like sleeping on a cloud! I competed at the club in 1997, so working with them again in this capacity has been surreal.
ID: A recently downloaded app?
VW: Dreamdays, which allows me track how long I’ve gone without sugar—I’m up to 68 days! Although I do love the juice bar at 1 Hotel South Beach…
ID: What’s a cherished artwork?
VW: A little-known fact about my sister Serena is that she is an artist. She paints great oversize abstracts that are very color-focused. One hangs in our conference room at V Starr. And I have a Henry Taylor piece in my home.

10VW-11-Botaniko-Contemporary-Bedroom-Oppenheim-Image-D

ID: What are highlights of your spaces at the Midtown Athletic Club and the Hotel at Midtown?
VW: In the tennis lounge, there are beautiful diagonal lines and striking shades of green and blue that together create energy. The V Suite is more relaxed. The pure white bedroom is like sleeping on a cloud! I competed at the club in 1997, so working with them again in this capacity has been surreal.
ID: A recently downloaded app?
VW: Dreamdays, which allows me track how long I’ve gone without sugar—I’m up to 68 days! Although I do love the juice bar at 1 Hotel South Beach…
ID: What’s a cherished artwork?
VW: A little-known fact about my sister Serena is that she is an artist. She paints great oversize abstracts that are very color-focused. One hangs in our conference room at V Starr. And I have a Henry Taylor piece in my home.

10VW-7-SOFA-Delray-Beach--Bougainvillea-Courtyard-1ID: A favorite paint color?
VW: Benjamin Moore’s Twilight Zone 2127-10. Since it’s both elegant and sultry, it can be a feature or a complement.
ID: What do you do to relax? (If you ever do!)
VW: Play with Harry, my Havanese.
ID: What do you collect?
VW: Olympic gold medals, haha!

thumbs_10VW-5-FLL-Manor-by-the-Sea-Lobby-5.jpg.770x0_q95ID: Upcoming projects?
VW: Residential projects in Austin and Florida and the Waterstone Resort & Marina Boca Raton. And two projects in New York, one a residential building in Harlem, of which a percentage of the units will be affordable housing.
ID: Speaking of NY, will we see you at the U.S. Open in August?
VW: Absolutely!

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