If, like me, you like your home to be a place of relaxation and retreat, then read on, as recently I was lucky enough to interview the very lovely, and very talented interior designer and writer, Elizabeth Danon, founder of Elizabeth Danon Interior Therapy. I’m always in admiration of people who start-up their own business, especially those who do things a little differently and follow their own path and I love the unique take on interior design which Liz brings us with her brand of ‘Interior Therapy’; after all, who doesn’t want their home or workplace to make them feel great?
As you may know by now if you’ve read any of my posts before, I’m quite nosy, so I made sure I got straight to it and asked Liz how it all began, where she gets her inspiration and what makes her approach so unique.
Thanks for talking to me Liz! I love your style and how uplifting it is. Tell us, what’s the most important thing to know about you and your work?
Hi! It’s a pleasure, thanks so much for talking with me! I think the key thing to know about my approach which makes it a bit different, is the unique way in which I use a mindful approach to design my interiors. I believe that your home and workplace have a profound effect on your well being and have the power to improve your life on a large scale. With this knowledge I’m able to make slight and gradual changes to people’s homes, that enable them to lead a calmer and happier life.
I know it’s a tricky one, but if you had to choose just three words to describe your style, what would they be?
Minimal, Mindful, Natural.
Your company name ‘Elizabeth Danon Interior Therapy’ is really intriguing. How do you see Interior Therapy as differing from conventional interior design?
Interior therapy is looking at what you already have; finding out what you don’t need and what is potentially holding you back and then focussing on the items that make you happy and are useful. It’s all about using a mindful approach while also using a therapeutic method, specifically cognitive behavioural therapy. My work in healthcare interior design showed me how your environment can heal you. There is great value in selecting specific colours and materials for a particular room.
It’s a therapeutic process for lots of my clients as it frees up their home or office spaces from clutter, enabling them to find things easily and therefore giving them more time. Their homes and offices become suited to their lifestyle and their lives become a bit more effortless.
A great deal of mindful behaviour can happen in the comfort of your own home, such as having a bath, meditation or cooking a meal from scratch.
Sometimes we rush through life, work late, don’t eat properly, don’t sleep well and our home becomes a bit of a shambles. (err, no idea what you’re talking about there, Liz…*coughs and looks shamefacedly at the ground*)
EDIT takes a holistic approach to your home and ensures that it improves every area of your life.
What was the inspiration behind starting your business?
The inspiration behind my business came out of frustration. It was from all of the very poorly designed places I had lived and worked in and my need to make it better!
For over a decade I’d worked in offices, bars, shops and hotels. Particularly in offices I found I felt unwell; I had migraines from the lighting, the noise was so distracting and the colour choices made me uncomfortable.
I began the EDIT blog 8 years ago as a way of using my research and expertise to help others find their unique style. I had seen the effect a claustrophobic meeting room had on people, and the effect an unloved home could have on someone.
There came a point where I felt I needed to start my own business. It was equally scary and exciting, as I didn’t have anyone to help me and each day was spent alone, building it all up from scratch.
I’d love to hear a bit about a recent project you worked on and what went well/you were pleased with? And also what challenges you faced. What do you think you learnt?
In April I designed the 3W offices in London, Waterloo.
The brief was to create a functional office for 8 people and a meeting room space. There were many challenges such as time constraints and the limited amount of space to work with. Deliveries became a problem due to some of the suppliers, but luckily for me my client was very understanding. Plants seemed to be very difficult to get hold of online, so that’s something I’ll be researching for future projects!
What went really well was that I managed to turn around the entire design within the tight timescale and on budget. I learnt to work with brands that I can trust will deliver on time, and that project management is essential throughout. The final design worked well both functionally and aesthetically and my clients were very happy – that’s really the best outcome I could possibly have!
What would be your dream project? We’re talking total fantasy, so let your imagination run wild!
Well I must say it would be designing my own home. It would be in or near to a forest, with huge glass facades to let in all the views and natural light. I’d love to be surrounded by nature and cross the boundaries of interior and exterior. A particular design feature I would love is an outdoor shower where I could gaze up at the sky. I would keep it all fairly open plan as I love to have flow throughout a space, but I’d design a special snug room for meditation, reading and of course napping.
You don’t just focus on interior design, but also write for your own blog and other publications and have now launched a small homewares shop on your website. How do you balance the different aspects and what comes first for you; the design or the writing?
For me interior design and writing my blog go hand in hand. I learn so much from the research I do for my designs, which then feeds back into my blog. Being interested in the design world and on what’s happening on social media, whilst researching topics for my blog helps me to find out what people want from their spaces. I write for a luxury lifestyle magazine where I review restaurants, hotels, bars and spas. You can find my reviews here. This is not only a wonderful luxury for me, but it keeps me in the loop of the highest standards of hospitality design and feeds back into my designs. You don’t have to be rich to create a luxurious atmosphere.
My readers look to EDIT for inspiration, and equally I look to others. Not limited to interior designers but also filmmakers, fashion designers, architects, photographers and artists. Attending design events and art exhibitions keeps me curious and inspired. My shop is a small selection of handpicked products from brands I trust and love. I dont like to bombard my readers with stuff they don’t need, so I’m extremely particular about what I choose. Balancing it all tends to happen of it’s own accord. I try to plan things out meticulously, but as we all know, nothing ever tends to go to plan!
What advice would you give to other people considering a career move into interior design and styling or interiors writing?
Whether you’re writing about interiors or designing an interior, it needs to come from your heart to be effective. Most importantly, it should be enjoyable. It’s certainly not easy; you’ll be working alone a lot of the time and self doubt may creep in, you also have to “be” your brand constantly and be eternally focused. But if you have that passion it will push you through.
What’s next for EDIT?
EDIT was recently nominated for an award at the Interior Blogger awards in the interior designer blog category which was great to be a part of and I’m currently working on two interior design projects; a 4 bedroom house in East London and 2 bedroom flat in Brighton. I also work on some one room projects at Decology.
I’m also launching mindful interiors workshops which will begin in 2017; these sessions will focus on how to plan your home, using mindfulness techniques and working out if there are any problem areas. The workshops will also include styling sessions for areas such as shelving and coffee tables.
My sparkly new monthly newsletter will keep you up to date on everything that’s happening at EDIT, and you can sign up on my website: elizabethdanon.co.uk
I don’t know about you, but I feel calmer just hearing about Liz’s approach and for regular inspiration on how to live more mindfully and create a calmer living space, it’s well worth checking out Liz’s website where you can find the EDIT interior design packages, and choose whether you would like one room designed or your whole home. There is also a couples package which focuses on combing styles and creating a cohesive style.