Sara Malek Barney Founder Bandd Design Austin

ALL ABOUT THE BANDD

SARA MALEK BARNEY, ASID

Founder + Principal Designer

Sara is the mastermind behind the design. Since its establishment in 2017, BANDD/DESIGN has successfully executed over 145 residential projects, many of which have been recognized and published around the world. High-quality, approachable design is the driving force behind everything BANDD touches. In conjunction with her passion for interior design, Sara launched BANDD/DEVELOPMENT 2021 from a growing love for renovating and building beautiful homes throughout the Austin area and nationwide.

Prior to launching BANDD/DESIGN, Sara spent the first phase of her professional career in Los Angeles, working in the fast-paced entertainment and sports industries, as an executive at companies such as SXSW, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Her past experience helps her deliver timeless, unique designs to her projects.

Sara, a University of Texas alum, has degrees in Corporate Communication and Interior Design. Some of Sara’s accolades include being named to the inaugural class of Fortune Magazine‘s Most Powerful Women {Next Gen}, one of Austin Monthly‘s Women to Watch for multiple years, one of the top 3 interior designers in the Austin area, and being nominated for an International Design & Architecture Award in 2019. Her work has been shared globally and she has been featured in dozens of media outlets. She is a member of the American Society of Interior Designers and the Female Founder Collective.

Sara Malek Barney Founder Bandd Design Austin
  • Favorite part of being backstage at BANDD: Working alongside so many talented badasses. I’m so lucky!
  • Favorite part of the design process: Install day! Nothing like seeing the fruits of your labor IRL.
  • Design principle you swear by: No. Schluter. Ever.
  • Best meal you’ve ever eaten: A 9-course experimential Japanese tasting at Itacho in Los Angeles in 2003.
  • Favorite Movie quote: “A gun rack…a gun rack? I don’t even own *a* gun. Let alone many guns that would necessitate an entire rack. What am I gonna do…with a gun rack?” – Wayne’s World.
  • Karaoke go-to song: Jessie’s Girl – Rick Springfield.
  • If you weren’t working in design, you’d be: Backup dancer for Megan Thee Stallion and/or boyband historian.
meghan-kardow-lead-design-manager
caitlin-kuncl-lead-design-manager
audra-schatte-design-team-assistant
Kaitlin Dailey Design Assistant
Kailyn Nilson Design Assistant
billie-dun-marketing-interior-business-development-manager-
jillian-letemendia-procurement-office-manager
dana-barney-director-operations

MEET THE BANDD MATES

At BANDD/DESIGN, we believe that design should feel effortless, interesting, and purposeful. We’re based in Austin, Texas but we find inspiration from everywhere – our travels, art, fashion, culture and even our kids.

Click our photos to learn more about us.

MEGHAN KARDOW

Design Director + Senior Designer

Meghan is a native Texan, growing up in Houston, who earned her Bachelor’s degree in Studio Art from the University of Texas and her Master’s of Interior Architecture from Cal Poly Pomona.

Her love of design was born through her passion for art from a very young age. This interest in art history took her to study fine arts in college, concentrating on drawing and painting. Interior Design was always a passion on the side, and after college, she relocated to Los Angeles to study Interior Architecture. She lived in Los Angeles for 5 years where she immersed herself in the design community, joining ASID and working for several LA residential designers. To Meghan, design should have a personality that goes beyond functionality. Your home should truly reflect both who you are and how you will live in the space.

  • Favorite part of being backstage at BANDD: Working with this team is the best part of my day. This group of smart, funny, creative, strong, badass women make work more fun everyday.
  • Favorite part of the design process: The installation. Seeing something we have drawn or mocked up for a client come to life is the best, and having a client excited to see their finished space makes it worth it.
  • Design principle you swear by: It all comes back to proportion and scale. Making sure your pieces are well proportioned in the space and with each other.
  • Best meal you’ve ever eaten: The traditional Cuban dinner my family has every year for Noche Buena. I look forward to it all year!
  • Favorite Movie quote: “If you can’t say something nice about someone, come sit next to me.” – Steel Magnolias.
  • Karaoke go-to song: Truth Hurts by: Lizzo (could almost do it without the prompter)
  • If you weren’t working in design, you’d be: Own a winery in Napa. You get to drink the wine you make right?

CAITLIN KUNCL

Lead Designer + Project Manager

Caitlin came to Austin from Santa Cruz, California. After studying Interior Architecture at CSU Chico, she dove into the San Francisco design community by joining ASID and working as an intern for a notable Bay Area designer. There, she developed her personal style and a love for the intimate process of designing residential spaces.

After deciding to make the move to Austin, Caitlin took an opportunity with a commercial design firm where she found a new strength in space planning and a strong understanding of textiles and materials. Ultimately, she missed the creative freedom and client interaction involved in residential design and is excited to bring these skills with her to BANDD/DESIGN. She believes every home should look lived in – fresh and bold, but approachable and complementary to one’s lifestyle.

  • Favorite part of being backstage at BANDD: The energy our team brings to everything we do. Design is hard work but it should be fun, for us and our clients.
  • Favorite part of the design process: Getting through demo and watching new material go up – that’s just the beginning of the vision coming to life.
  • Design principle you swear by: Contrast and variety. I love a perfectly layered space.
  • Best meal you’ve ever eaten: My dad’s BBQ ribs and potato salad.
  • Favorite Movie quote: Paddle, paddle, paddle, little grom. (Chasing Mavericks)
  • Karaoke go-to song: I will avoid Karaoke at all costs.
  • If you weren’t working in design, you’d be: A professional pet photographer

AUDRA SCHATTE

Design Assistant

Audra hails from a small town in Southern Illinois and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design from The Art Institute of Austin.

Growing up, Art was always Audra’s best subject. The only time she ever got a B in Art was because she would talk too much and distract others from their work. She loved that her projects could spark something inside others. When she realized she could do that on something bigger than a canvas, the game changed. For Audra that’s what Interior Design is, walking into a space and truly feeling something. An extra large canvas if you will!

  • Favorite part of being backstage at BANDD: Everything! The excitement, complaining, laughter, shared frustration, and passion. We all love what we do, and it’s great to be surrounded by such strong women!
  • Favorite part of the design process: Installs and style outs. Seeing the vision come to life!
  • Design principle you swear by: Emphasis. Determine the star piece(s). Build around that making sure to not overshadow the focal point.
  • Best meal you’ve ever eaten: My roommate’s Thanksgiving dinner! Slaps!
  • Favorite Movie quote: “That’s a very nice sweater you’re wearing.”
    “Thanks, it was my mom’s. I took the shoulder pads out.” – Step Brothers
  • Karaoke go-to song: Mama’s Broken Heart – Miranda Lambert
  • If you weren’t working in design, you’d be: An art therapist.

KAITLIN DAILEY

Design Assistant

Kaitlin was originally a fashion merchandising major, but found that she wanted a more creative outlet – and that’s where interior design found her. She graduated from Texas State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design. She’s always loved that the cornerstone of interior design is psychology, and the ability to help influence others through their space is what really drew her to the profession. Her insane perfectionism and attention to detail has made her successful in the design world, but most importantly, she loves having a creative outlet that helps other people.

  • Favorite part of being backstage at BANDD: Getting to work with super cool people and be part of such a creative community!
  • Favorite part of the design process: Install day – it’s always so satisfying to see your tireless efforts come to life in front of you. It makes all of the time and effort so worth it.
  • Design principle you swear by: Contrast – I’m a big proponent of designing with a lot of color and I love the challenge of pairing contrasting colors and tones. Don’t be afraid of lots of color!
  • Best meal you’ve ever eaten: Valentine’s Day special at III Forks – I could literally feel my heart radiating joy because the food was so good…
  • Favorite Movie quote: “You sold your soul to the devil when you put on your first pair of Jimmy Choos. I saw it.” – The Devil Wears Prada
  • Karaoke go-to song: “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen
  • If you weren’t working in design, you’d be: I want to work in the otter exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium or the Dubai Aquarium. My whole life is dedicated to meeting an otter in person.

KAILYN NILSON

Design Assistant

Kailyn is originally from the Houston area and grew up with a love for all things creative. She recently graduated from Texas State University with a degree in interior design and is excited to start her professional career at BANDD.

Growing up, Kailyn enjoyed various creative pursuits such as throwing pottery, sketching her dream house, and planning parties for family and friends. What she loves most about design is bringing people’s design visions to life and revealing the final design. She loves to use exciting pops of color and isn’t afraid of incorporating interesting patterns and textures into her designs. Kailyn believes that your home should reflect your personality and cater to your lifestyle, and she is thrilled that she gets to help people do that everyday!

Kailyn has a variety of interests all of which inspire her in different ways. One of her favorite places to spend time is by the ocean. She loves the inspiration it brings her and the fun memories she makes at the beach with friends and family. She also enjoys trying new recipes, hanging out with her book club, and traveling to fun places.

  • Favorite part of being backstage at BANDD: Working in a creative environment with such fun and inspiring women!
  • Favorite part of the design process: Installation day! It’s so fun to see the project you’ve worked on for months come to life.
  • Design principle you swear by: Don’t be afraid of color or doing something that is not trendy!
  • Best meal you’ve ever eaten: Every Thanksgiving, I LOVE stuffing with gravy.
  • Favorite Movie quote: “Who needs Raymond? I found two new men to love…their names are Ben and Jerry!” – Aquamarine
  • Karaoke go-to song: Cowboy Casanova by Carrie Underwood
  • If you weren’t working in design, you’d be: I’d own a smoothie shack on the beach, preferably on an island!

BILLIE DUNN

Marketing + Business Development Manager

Billie is a native Texan, raised in West Texas with a Communications & Business degree from the University of Texas at Dallas.

Her love of decorating began when she was a little girl – she was always looking for new ways to design and rearrange her room. And although she still has a love for design, it was marketing that became her long-time passion. She has worked for over 15 years in marketing and is best known for her ability to generate creative ideas and always loves an opportunity to create change in helping brands grow.

  • Favorite part of being backstage at BANDD: Being around the creative process and watching the designers work behind the scenes.
  • Favorite part of the design process: Install day, I love watching how it all comes together.
  • Design principle you swear by: Let the professionals handle it!
  • Best meal you’ve ever eaten: I love a truly authentic Korean Kal-bi barbeque with all the sides…and extra kimchi!
  • Favorite Movie quote: “It’s like I have ESPN or something.”
  • Karaoke go-to song: Bennie & The Jets – Elton John
  • If you weren’t working in design, you’d be: A country singer

JILLIAN LETEMENDIA

Procurement + Office Manager

Jillian is an original Austinite that graduated from The University of Texas with a degree in Corporate Communications and Business Foundations.

Jillian developed her love for interior design and home improvement growing up in a multicultural household where she was exposed to many styles, leading to an appreciation for an eclectic taste. Obtaining a Texas real estate license in college, she worked alongside local agents and family in the industry, then moved to Newport Beach, California first working as an accounts manager in the action sports apparel industry, then for a high-end furniture manufacturing company. Jillian now returns to Austin to join the BANDD, bringing with her a passion to help curate a space where the client ultimately feels that their vision and personal style has been realized.

  • Favorite part of being backstage at BANDD: The fact that I get to be backstage! Such a solid, fun hardworking group of creatives that all fangirl over the main event.
  • Favorite part of the design process: Nailing the color scheme.
  • Design principle you swear by: Functionality…nothing better than a beautifully designed space that is curated to be USED to the fullest!
  • Best meal you’ve ever eaten: Home-cooked birthday dinner growing up, which was usually fried okra, Mac n’ cheese, beef ribs, brisket, biscuits and gravy.
  • Favorite Movie quote: “Later’s on the menjay” – I love you, Man
  • Karaoke go-to song: Hand in My Pocket – Alanis Morrisette
  • If you weren’t working in design, you’d be: Swimsuit shop owner.

DANA BARNEY

Director of Operations

Dana is a perfect blend of imagination and control. He started his career in the entertainment industry with a focus on screenwriting and production development before he transitioned to a position running marketing operations for a Fortune 100 company. The role, which required him to hone his organizational skills, left him with a need for a new creative outlet. From there, Dana tapped into his deep love of writing and published his first two novels, Flatline and Half Life.

Dana has a degree in Writing and Directing from Bennington College in Vermont and has worked in Operations for nearly a decade.

  • Favorite part of being backstage at BANDD: The amazing team spirit and energy.
  • Favorite part of the design process: Seeing the final result and big reveal after the teams work tirelessly on a project.
  • Design principle you swear by: Don’t be afraid to mix it up and try new things.
  • Best meal you’ve ever eaten: Oyster burger at The Old Ebbitt Grill in Washington D.C.
  • Favorite Movie quote: “Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.” from Airplane!
  • Karaoke go-to song: “Oops … I did it again” by Britney Spears
  • If you weren’t working in design, you’d be: writing crime fiction.
meghan-kardow-lead-design-manager
caitlin-kuncl-lead-design-manager
audra-schatte-design-team-assistant
Kaitlin Dailey Design Assistant
Kailyn Nilson Design Assistant
billie-dun-marketing-interior-business-development-manager-
jillian-letemendia-procurement-office-manager
dana-barney-director-operations