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
catherine-interior-designer
audra-schatte-design-team-assistant
Brandi Hester Design Assistant
sarah-alkhattari-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

CATHERINE CONRAD

Lead Designer + Project Manager

Originally born in Bogota, Colombia, Catherine moved to Austin when she was 8 years old. Catherine attended Texas Tech University where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design with a minor in Architecture. She takes pride in being a member of the American Society of Interior Designers and her areas of expertise include both residential and hospitality design with a passion for materiality, color, and texture.

Catherine is driven by her passion for contemporary design and architecture, and believes that all spaces should be accessible, functional, innovative, and beautiful. She is specifically passionate about sustainable design and the positive impact good design can have on the environment and wellness of people.

In her free time, Catherine enjoys volunteering with animal rescue groups and loves swimming and jogging with her dog. Some of Catherine’s favorite Austin spots include the Barton Creek Greenbelt, Lake Austin and Lake Travis, Stubbs, Mohawks, Ranch 616, Kome, and El Alma.

  • Favorite part of being backstage at BANDD: Working with a wonderful team to create amazing design
  • Favorite part of the design process: Creating meaningful concepts and also installations / styling (bringing everything together for the final result)
  • Design principle you swear by: Go with your gut
  • Best meal you’ve ever eaten: Sushi Bar ATX
  • Favorite Movie quote: Bye Buddy, hope you find your dad – Elf
  • Karaoke go-to song: Brass in Pocket by The Pretenders
  • If you weren’t working in design, you’d be: Fashion designer/stylist

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.

BRANDI HESTER

Design Assistant

Brandi grew up in Louisiana and moved to Austin in 2005 after serving in the US Army right after high school. She fell in love with art and architecture through her travels, and then went on to earn her Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design at Texas State University. Throughout her studies, she not only learned how to make spaces more beautiful, but how to incorporate functionality that can often be overlooked. Her favorite part of the design process is getting to add those personal touches that makes each design truly unique to each client.

  • Favorite part of being backstage at BANDD: Although I’m relatively new, I can tell this team is close, supportive and very collaborative. They bring a sense of fun and a contagious energy to the office. They truly want to see you succeed and have a common goal: to make the clients happy with the design process and the end result.
  • Favorite part of the design process: The concept phase. This is when the general ideas and inspirational images come into focus. The vision is realized in the actual space and sets the tone for the project using space, color and architectural details. Direction is defined and the vision comes to life.
  • Design principle you swear by: Balance. Whether it comes from colors, lines, forms, furniture, decor or lighting, a well-designed room will always have visual balance and provide a sense of calm and harmony.
  • Best meal you’ve ever eaten: Dinner at Commander’s Palace in New Orleans. Delicious French creole with the best service I’ve ever experienced. It was so memorable and I highly recommend everyone try it at least once when visiting “The Big Easy”.
  • Favorite Movie quote: “There’s no place like home”. -The Wizard of Oz
  • Karaoke go-to song: “Beggin for Thread” by Banks
  • If you weren’t working in design, you’d be: in the film industry, pretty much any position that’ll have me, from production to talent. I love all the behind the scenes stuff!

SARAH ALKHATTARI

Design Assistant

Sarah is originally a Palestinian born in Houston, Texas, and raised in Doha, Qatar. She graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in Interior Design and a minor in Architecture.

Her love of Interior Design stemmed from being immersed by a culture that heavily valued design in the beauty of the surrounding environment. She had the opportunity to travel to many countries during her youth which exposed her to varying design styles and architecture which sparked her love for design. After furthering her education at Texas Tech University, she has made the decision to move to experience the ATX city life in order to fulfill her creative goals by bringing life back to her environment, and in turn bring life to others’ lives and spaces.

  • Favorite part of being backstage at BANDD: Not to mention simply just being part of the BANDD, but the team makes work so much fun which gives me so much pride about being a part of this family.
  • Favorite part of the design process: Finding materials/furniture pieces that fit seamlessly in the design that we have worked so hard to create!
  • Design principle you swear by: Definitely harmony; being able to take a step back and see how all of the working pieces fit together as a beautiful whole makes it all worth it.
  • Best meal you’ve ever eaten: If you’ve ever been to a Carnival Cruise, you’ll know exactly what I mean when I say Guy Fieri’s burgers are to die for. I dream about them on a daily basis!
  • Favorite Movie quote: “Oh yes, the past can hurt. But you can either run from it, or learn from it”. – The Lion King
  • Karaoke go-to song: Alexa, play Africa by Toto.
  • If you weren’t working in design, you’d be: A graphic designer.

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
catherine-interior-designer
audra-schatte-design-team-assistant
Brandi Hester Design Assistant
sarah-alkhattari-design-assistant
billie-dun-marketing-interior-business-development-manager-
jillian-letemendia-procurement-office-manager
dana-barney-director-operations