In conversation with Renuka Sardesai, Founder of Blueberry Hill Designs


My story

I came to the United States having just finished my college degree in architecture. It took me some time to get started since I had to go through the visa process and the work restrictions like most immigrants do! But once I had the opportunity to combine my design skill and architectural knowledge with the ability to DIY, I started Blueberry Hill Designs. Through BHD, I help people redesign their homes by providing end-to-end guidance from design ideas, visualization, planning and implementation. I work extensively with the large South Asian community, in Texas as well as in other US states, to help people transform their homes into vibrant, exciting and personalized spaces. I have also recently started working with clients from the UK. Blueberry Hill Designs is my passion, mission and a way to contribute to the South Asian community! 

What are some specific design challenges with regard to South Asian homes?

When I started working with clients and understood what they were looking for, it soon became clear that the Prayer room was a key part of their homes and they wanted me to give special attention to it.  The Prayer room / Room of Worship is fundamentally important to a South Asian household. It is intensely personal but at the same time it needs to be woven into the design and fabric of the overall home. This could be a dedicated room or perhaps a niche/area carved out of a room. Several of my clients have asked for help with this area.

An important challenge here is that this room requires a lot of elements that reflect specific architectural considerations or religious artifacts that are not easily available in the US. Therefore these items need to be custom created / designed. This requires design skill as well as an experienced and skilled contractor who can execute these ideas. For example there is no library in the design software that can be used to render these elements. How does one visualize these designs and more importantly convey them to someone else to implement? Clients often find this process tough and need someone who they can relate to; someone who shares the cultural understanding and sensitivity and can translate these thoughts into fully formed designs. 

With my background and ability to create custom designs and elements I have been able to help several families achieve the balance of aesthetic and utility they wanted in the prayer room. I am super happy that people can confidently express their ethnic backgrounds and spiritual thoughts through these prayer rooms. 


What makes Blueberry Hill Designs different?

We live in the age of social media where knowledge is plentiful. It is easy to get overwhelmed with the surfeit of new ideas and people often fall for the latest trend without fully realizing if that trend is right for them or not. Trends are temporary but the investments that people make in their homes based on those trends is permanent. People often complain that their home looks dated despite spending time and money and this is one of the reasons. My goal is to adapt the trend to reflect the client’s personalities and tastes. 

Another underrated aspect of home designing, which I like to emphasize heavily is space planning. I am a huge proponent of not only smartly utilizing existing spaces but also of creating new spaces. A common pitfall in this regard is doing “too much”. People feel like they need to utilize each and every inch of available space with either furniture or decor but it ends up robbing the room of practical utility and makes it appear cluttered. The key is to realize the value of “empty spaces” and judiciously balance those elements. 

The devil is in the details as they say. For a home redesign to be really successful, every small detail needs to be meticulously planned, defined and resourced. Even before the first nail is hammered into the wall, I like to spend a lot of time in the design process ensuring all of the client requirements are defined and mapping out how each of them connects to the other. This includes knowing exactly where to find each element and lining up backup options if those plans don’t work. 

My designs tend to lean on the side of “classically modern” with focus on functionality and endurability rather than contemporaneousness. My advice to clients is to go for things that last long and are durable from the standpoint of their daily lives. This way they can enjoy the space freely, rather than feel trapped by a design that is visual but difficult to navigate. 

And finally I am a strong promoter of “Do-It-Yourself”. Making things rather than buying what’s out there really opens up a wider menu of options. I have frequently created design elements myself or worked with contractors to create them. These DIY elements give a very personal and unique touch to the design that are difficult to capture otherwise.


Our homes need to be unique to us. It is a very personal space, an extension of one’s personality and worldview. Hence it needs to feel truly special, cozy and lived-in. Therefore I strive to give my clients what they are looking for while enhancing the aesthetics and practicality of the home and ensuring they feel truly at home! 

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