Interior designer Claudia Grunberger has lived in such places as Florence, Paris, and Antwerp. She has seen architectural marvels such as the once-standing Notre Dame Cathedral and Doge’s Palace in Venice.
Now, she resides in Kensington, where she’s cultivated years of inspiration, resulting in receiving an award presented by the Metropolitan Institute of Interior Design, in the category of bathroom design.
“I never thought this would be possible,” said the London native Grunberger. “To be honest, I’ve never even won an award before.”
Grunberger moved to Great Neck after living with her husband for five years in Antwerp, Belgium. Prior to Antwerp, she spent time traveling across Europe, from England to Italy, and France, each one leaving a lasting impression on her.
“I feel like I have always been that free-spirited, creative, and passionate person,” she said. “I think that the places that I was grateful enough to reside in for periods at a time, helped cultivate all of those traits that I still have, and impacted me more than I could imagine. All of the architecture that I saw across those areas is what really began my intrigue to design.”
After leaving Europe and moving to the United States, she took note of the difference in the buildings’ architecture. The gothic style of Notre Dame, the way that the London residential buildings encompassing every inch of natural light, were what she was accustomed to seeing for so long. Now, she uses those points of reference mixed with the modern facades of the New York skyscrapers to bring an unconventional flair to Long Islanders’ homes.
“That’s what sets me apart from everyone else,” she said. “It’s also what is so great about the diversity in the Great Neck community. I love mixing Eastern and Western cultures in my head. Using the best of both cultures to compliment each other for a bathroom, kitchen, or living room design, makes these projects so much fun to do.”
Upon her arrival to the U.S., Grunberger began to see how she could expand on her culturally-awakening experiences across the pond and decided to register for classes in the Met Institute of Interior Design.
“I thought the people in the school would be much different,” she recalled. “In reality, they couldn’t have been nicer. There was not one person who I met that wasn’t eager to help me find where I needed to go, or who I should be speaking to for certain questions.”
Now she is the recipient of the first-ever Best Interior Design on Long Island, or BIDOLI, award. The series of awards includes contestants that are past graduates of the institute since 1977. She won the award, under her company name, Grunberger Interiors.
“I was going back and forth on whether or not I should submit it,” she said. “Look what happened! It goes to show that if you think you have a passion, you absolutely must owe it to yourself to explore it. Chances are you will be good at it.”
Grunberger will be presented with the award by the Met Institute of Interior Design on Oct. 23.