NYSID Alumnae Named IFDA Rising Stars


Samantha Goldman and Samantha Polkow, often referred to as Sam + Sam, share more than a first name. They share a business philosophy and friendship that make them a match made in heaven. Sam + Sam met during their last semester at NYSID in a class taught by Dr. Ellen Fisher, and a friendship instantly blossomed. Sam + Sam teamed up on class projects, discovering that their individual talents were perfectly suited to teamwork.  The rest is history.

Founders of Handin Browne, a full-service interior design firm based in New York City and established in December 2017, Sam + Sam were together named a Rising Star of Interior Design by International Furnishings and Design Association (IFDA).

 Congratulations Sam + Sam on being honored as Rising Stars of Design by IFDA. How does it feel?
Being honored in the field we are so passionate about feels great! It was a big risk, starting our own business straight out of school. This award validates our decision to take the leap.

Tell me about the genesis of your partnership?
NYSID is 100% responsible for our partnership! We did not meet each other until our last semester of school in Ellen Fisher’s class, but we instantly hit it off. We worked side by side together on our Residential Design projects, always bouncing ideas off of each other. When it came time to apply for full-time positions, a family friend approached us to design their daughter’s bedroom and Handin Browne was born!

Can you tell us about an "aha!" moment you’ve had as students at NYSID?
Our first residential design class definitely solidified our love for interiors.  While completely necessary, the first semester of school was more conceptual, teaching color theory and design history.  Residential Design classes presented real-life scenarios, allowing us to explore our creativity and get to work!

Tell me about some of your work at Handin Browne?
We work on a wide range of residential projects in Manhattan, Brooklyn, New Jersey, Westchester and the Hamptons. From a small furnishing project to a full custom build, no two jobs (or days!) are the same.

What aspects of your education at NYSID best prepared you for the work you do now?
While in school, we didn't fully appreciate the benefit of tediously redesigning floor plans and furniture layouts over and over again. We now realize how important this part of the process is to the evolution of our projects. Our original ideas and design are never the final product, as building restrictions and client's ever-changing needs force us to get creative. Updating and reconfiguring things is the reality of our business.

Phyllis Greer