Meet Sonya Haffey, The Creative Principal of Venus Williams’ Design Firm V Starr

Working out of Palm Beach, Florida, principal and CEO Sonya Haffey leads the design team of V Starr in creating modern, functional, classically inspired interior designs for hospitality spaces and luxury residences around the world. Tennis legend Venus Williams established V Starr in 2002 out of her love for design and business, and with Sonya at the helm since 2009, the firm has crafted outstanding interiors for everything from high-end tennis clubs and resort spas to exquisite private residences.

Sonya Haffey has design in her family; influenced by her aunt’s modern interiors and her grandmother’s custom furniture designs, Sonya’s lineage of design and her love of abstract art show through in her work.

After graduating from Florida State University, Sonya studied interior design abroad in London, Paris, Milan, and Glasgow. She then went on to start and run her own firm for 16 years before joining V Starr. Her worldly experiences, versatile design vision, and eye for detail have guided her throughout her tenure with V Starr. And will surely continue to delight clients around the globe for many years to come!

Join us for this edition of Love Happens’ Design Questionnaire as we take a peek inside the creative mind of V Starr’s Sonya Haffey.

Lh Design Questionnaire with Sonya Haffey of V Starr

Sonya Haffey Principal of V Starr
Sonya Haffey of V Starr | Photo Courtesy of by Ryan Loco

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Being content and grateful for everything you already have. You don’t need much in life to survive and be happy; some of the happiest people I have ever met had the least. My perfect happy day is being outside with my family, either hiking or near the water, staring at the clouds, and naming all the things we see.

Midtown Athletic Club | Photos Courtesy of Anthony Tahlier
Midtown Athletic Club | Photos Courtesy of Anthony Tahlier
Midtown Athletic Club | Photos Courtesy of Anthony Tahlier

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

I haven’t achieved it yet, but I’ll keep you posted.

What profession does your alter ego have?

My dream would be to be a philanthropist.

West Half Lounge by V Starr
West Half Lounge| Photo Courtesy of by Helen Kozak

The project you will never forget.

There are so many but probably a penthouse that I designed with my partner in Miami. The client let us create our vision; he was from Mexico and we took inspiration from the Mayan pyramids and the studies of the equinox. It was really extraordinary.

Your favorite business tool or resource.

All the product Vendors and Reps. They are priceless and so integral to completing a design. 

The most timeless design.

The Taj Mahal. I feel like it is timeless because of its story, and all the finishes and architecture are based on the culture, not a trend.

The biggest design faux pas.

This is personal as what is one person’s faux pas is another person’s dream. Mine would be wood-like tile. There are so many options now for form and function if you want a wood look.

The Spa at PGA National Resort by V Starr
The Spa at PGA National Resort by Sonya Haffey of V Starr
The Spa at PGA National Resort design by V Starr

The Spa at PGA National Resort | Photos Courtesy of by Will Pryce

Your design motto.

Everything in moderation, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

Our publisher, KOKET, makes statement décor. If you were to design a room around one of their pieces, which would it be, and why?

First, the Tailor Peacock Feather Table lamp because the color in the feathers is beauty from nature, they pull so many other colors and are elegant. You could have a very moody and deep space.

tailor peacock table lamp koket

Also, the Neurotica Sculpture, as it’s unexpected; the softness of the metal ribbon suspended off the wall with a non-traditional metal finish. Love it!

koket neurotica sculpture wall art luxury lighting interior design

Love Happens when…

…you are open to it; it can’t be forced and must be reciprocated. 

Explore more from Sonya Haffey and V Starr

Show Me More to Love!

The Powerful Symbolism of Flowers in Fashion & Decor
Women’s Relaxation Spaces: Prioritizing Self-Love in Design