A Q&A With Bellevue Branch Office Designer Shanna Bender

By Alyssa Morrison |
Shanna Bender, Design Principal.

As Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty‘s (RSIR) Global Real Estate Advisors already work from offices on Old Main Street in Bellevue, we continue to ready the B-Bar and Lifestyle Showroom which are set to debut in the spring. The office, already billed as “changing the Real Estate conversation”, is coming to life thanks to its designer and her team, Shanna Bender, Design Principal at Design Studio 15. Bender, who boasts vast and respected residential, commercial, and hospitality design experience took on the project with a zest for creating something much more than a typical office space.

As Bender and her team at Design 15 bring the elements together to complete Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty’s space, we asked her about inspiration, materials, and more.


RSIR: You specialize in personalizing high-end real estate, but this isn’t the first “Real Estate office” that you’ve taken on designing … how this project different from what you normally tackle?

Shanna Bender: This is not the first Real Estate design we have done, however, we have not worked with Realogics before—which instantly became a game-changer for us.  The concept for the other Real Estate offices we have worked on was primarily focused on designing a fun place for agents to work with their clients.  This particular office for Realogics is taking a “Level UP” approach.

This office is designed with a concept of progressive sophistication with an undertone of casual vibes.  This is achieved by using a mix of materials that are meticulously integrated into the space.  This office is a multi-use space with a welcome desk, conference rooms, wine bar, day to night cafe,  and “The Living Room” realtor lounge.  This office is not only unique in design, but it is bringing together a culture of like-minded people who appreciate our “out of the box” design expertise and who are looking to go above and beyond what they already have. We were thrilled to partner alongside the RSIR team members and found joy in designing a space for them to do just that.  


RSIR: Where do you find inspiration when approaching a project like this?

SB: Our design team was inspired by the RSIR team so much that we wanted this space to be as energetic as they are: a place agents can enjoy a glass of wine or a coffee with clients, or just get cozy in conversation by the fireplace.  We are an NYC-based interior design firm so we wanted to blend a west-coast-meets-east-coast style that will gravitate to the masses, all while celebrating historic Bellevue in our art curation.

When you walk in, the entry flow seamlessly between the B-Bar café and restaurant and real estate branch.

RSIR: What kind of cohesive elements are you using to tie the many purposes of the Bellevue space together?

SB: The pallet overall consists of woods, brass, blacks, and neutrals with rich emerald greens and blush pinks.  You will notice there is a lot of wood in this space. We like to approach each project by paying attention to the backbone of the location.  The wood is inspired by nautical elements that Bellevue is known for. We are using organic green walls in celebration of the nature around this office.  Fabrics will be mixed in rich velvets, vintage leathers, sheepskin accents, and Scandinavian woods and shapes.

Co-working spaces will be a part of the collaborative meeting environments special to RSIR’s new Bellevue Regional Branch Office.

RSIR: What is your favorite element that you’re looking forward to incorporating into the space?

SB: I am most excited to see the elements of “the people”—the community and the agents using and enjoying this space. We are so excited to see it come all together.

“The B-Bar will help expand (Bis on Main’s) popular happy hour scene with live music and cater to the rising demand for private dining and events,” said Vilardi. “Old Main Street has been waiting for a concept like this.”

RSIR: RSIR CEO Dean Jones has said, in the creation of this space, that real estate happens where conversations begin. What are you expecting people to talk about and notice as they enter Bellevue space once it’s completed?

SB: I think they will notice the detail, warm selections, and how they were integrated and creatively used, but most importantly we want people to share how the space makes them feel. We want to be the conversation starter that leads into inspiring conversation amongst others.

RSIR: Bellevue’s Old Main Street offers a lot of character, how do you think Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty will add to the neighborhood’s vibrant scene?

SB: It is going to blend dramatically. We were sensitive to the integrity and history of this beautiful community but also wanted to shake it up a bit. We want all to feel welcomed and encourage the community to flourish together. 

Stay tuned to for more updates on our sixth regional branch office in Bellevue, Washington. We welcome the opportunity to share our market knowledge or present a custom marketing program for your home; to learn more, contact our offices.