I follow (stalk) a lot of designers + artist with pure lifestyle envy starting with their work, then their home space, and finally, their hobbies (and sometimes their friends, too) but have always been extra obsessed with the ones that post about books they love too! It's no surprise that the truly creative also have excellent taste in reading, so I am taking it as an excuse to feature some and quiz them on their interests as well as get an inside scoop on where they create.
Meet Sophia, one half of the ultimately cool duo that runs Soula Design Co., an interior and lifestyle company that offer up handmade and internationally sourced furniture, decor, (beautttttiful) accessories while also providing design services. Sophia + Janell launched Soula earlier this year, but have been chipping away at the core inspiration since they were in Kindergarten, where the pair first met. Residing in Oakland, California, Sophia is the artist, designer + biz dev of the duo.
She showed me around her cozy + bright apartment while chatting with me about her reading interests + some design books that started it all, The New Bohemians by Justina Blakeney.
Pageworm: What book would you refer to your friend who rarely reads but wants a grand slam read?
Sophia: In newer fiction, I would recommend Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. It’s a page-turner, really surprising with plenty of time-travel action.
Pageworm: What’s the last book you read + last book you bought?
Sophia: I recently flew through Security by Gina Wohlsdorf, and am currently in the middle of Sick in the Head by Judd Apatow. The last book I've bought was She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb, thanks to the recommendation from The Page Worm herself.
Pageworm: Good choice in She's Come on Undone, you're the 6th person I have pushed it on. And ah! I have been wanting to read Security, in a few words, what's it about?
Sophia: It's a murder mystery told in the perspective of the security guard! Its so tense + I had to keep reading to see what would happen next.
Pageworm: For the less adventurous readers out there, what's the best book-to-movie adaptation you've seen?
Sophia: Harry Potter goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway because I’m a no-shame die-hard (Currently wearing a Hogwarts tee as I answer these questions). But a shout out to Trainspotting, Water for Elephants, The Time Traveller’s Wife, and This is Where I Leave You.
Pageworm: Now that it's public that you're a huge Potterhead, but what was the first book that got you hooked on reading?
Sophia: The Junie B. Jones books by Barbara Park were the first books I read by myself and asked for more of. My kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Dunker, introduced them to me and I’ve been constantly in progress with a book ever since.
Pageworm: Now onto your beautiful work. Which author would you be most excited about if they bought one of your pieces?
Sophia: Justina Blakeney, author of The New Bohemians and owner of The Jungalow. She’s our guru when it comes to interior design and personal style, and that book sparked the beginning of Soula Design Co. so it would be a magical, cosmic, full-circle moment if that ever happened.
Pageworm: The New Bohemians is so so beautiful, whats your favorite thing about it?
Sophia: Right? Besides the pages being filled with beautiful homes that have layers of history and memories covered in lush plants, The New Bohemians was the start of Soula Design Co.. My business partner and friend since kindergarten (she read Junie B. Jones too), was visiting me in Oakland and while she was flipping through my copy of the book, we gushed over our love of bohemian-inspired interiors and collected decor. We talked plants, mixing patterns, her dream of traveling the world to find unique furniture and decor, and my love of creating art and items to enhance personal style. A year later when I was getting ready to quit my job in tech to pursue a creative career, it was that conversation that I kept coming back to.
Pageworm: Rad on you for quitting a job to follow a passion. What design book everyone should own?
Sophia: Graphic Design, the New Basics by Ellen Lupton and Jennifer Cole Phillips. It was a required reading in college but it really nails the basics in an easy-to-understand way and includes great visuals with clear writing.
Pageworm: Okay, the final question that haunts us all: how many books are on your to-be-read pile?
Sophia: Currently, 10 that are in my bookshelf, 2 that I just brought back from the library, and 52 on my Goodreads list, but really the list is endless.