Neva Alsheik is the definition of a Renaissance woman. She is the founder of interior design firm Maison Sheik, Global Tech Acceleration Lead at Google, and a mother of two kiddos (ages 3 and 1).
An avid traveler (pre-pandemic), entertainer (same), design enthusiast, cook, and reader, she loves to make her world (and others’!) beautiful! We are excited to tap into both the left and right brain of this incredibly talented artist, techie, and mama.
Your Maison Sheik tagline is "Le Freak, C’est Sheik." Do tell more!
I’m a huge fan of the disco hit on which this is based- and love that it was inspired by a story of the band not getting into Studio 54! It’s basically saying, it’s chic to be an outsider! As an outsider coming into the world of design, I really love and embrace that sentiment! Variety is the spice of life- it’s good to shake things up!
Design & Technology - how does your design influence your tech role and vice a versa?
In so many ways! Design is 30% creativity and 70% process; sourcing items with infinite customizations, managing vendors, tracking timelines, solving obstacles, making it all look seamless: these all require a meticulous attention to detail, timeliness and clear communication that are a cornerstone of my work at Google and that really elevate my design practice to the next level for my clients.
Alternatively, helping clients see and embrace an ambitious vision and making things crisp, clear and beautiful is SO important in tech! I present to executives every day, and my ability to create beautiful narratives that communicate complex concepts concisely really resonates. So it’s a wonderful symbiotic relationship between the two.
Living Room by Maison Sheik in Brooklyn, NY
The design industry is woefully behind on embracing technology- so many companies still require emails or phone calls (shudder) to conduct business - there is a lot of opportunity there! On the flipside, a ton of new technologies have emerged to help designers run their businesses, which I’m so grateful for- from digital rendering technology, to Google’s Office suite and the like.
What are some of your Syrian cultural influences that inspire your personal style or design?
Syria has such a rich history of design that leverages traditional crafting techniques like mother-of-pearl inlay that artisans have spent centuries mastering. It’s a crossroads of Islamic, Roman and French influences that are heavy on geometric and botanical shapes and always super maximalist. I really appreciate that intricate eye for detail & insist on good craftsmanship in everything that I source; I also love mixing cultural and historic influences to keep a space fresh and interesting. I like to say my design is Middle East chic meets High Wasp. Always comfortable, always lush, always elegant, and always well made. Good design is forever!
Neva's rose gold MAMA bracelet.
What does ‘success’ mean to you? How do you define it?
Success to me means serving my family first and foremost. Jacqueline Kennedy put it best “if you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do matters very much.”
On Wesport, CT beach with youngest daughter.
What are your character traits you are most proud of?
Loyalty, wit, conversational skills, and the ability to get any child to love me. And humility, obviously.. ;)
Neva in her Party Harty earrings.
In moments of self-doubt, how do you build yourself back up?
I go for a walk, I pray, I snuggle the babies, and I try to get some extra sleep. That’s always a winning combination.
Maison Sheik swatches with Ephesus Bee Necklace.
What’s your no-fail go-to when you need to get out of a creative rut?
My issue is not creative ruts, it’s not having sufficient outlet for all of my ideas!
Neva and husband Marc pre-pandemic!
Your next/dream travel destination.
London & Dubai to dance with my very best friends. Round Hill so my babies can enjoy the calm waters of Montego bay. And Paris with my husband so we can recapture a semblance of youth, haha.
Inspo photo of courtyard in Damascus.
What books/websites/instagram accounts are getting your creative juices flowing?
Reading the Bonfire of the Vanities
Paboy Bojong for insanely beautiful cushions: @in_casa_by_paboy
Les Indiennes for gorgeous textiles: @les_indiennes
House & Garden UK to satisfy my bottomless need to see beautiful English drawing rooms: @houseandgardenuk
@nouveaulevant for exceptional middle eastern cooking,
Feltman Brothers for baby fashun: @feltmanbrothers