Q&A with NYC Interior Designer Elizabeth Bolognino

photo credit: Adam Kane Macchia

Sifting through images is something we are all too familiar with. On average we probably look at a thousand pictures a day. So when you find one that resonates with you, one that compels you to learn more, it's rare and delightful! That's how I felt when I came across Elizabeth Bolognino. After seeing her handle credited with what I considered the perfect nursery, I skulked around her instagram - it's good, check out @ebolognino - and her website. Each image was better than the next and I felt at home through my computer screen. I was intrigued so I reached out and asked her some questions. Read on to learn more about Elizabeth's career, influences and interests as well as her advice for future interior designers and daily routines.

What were you doing in your previous life?

I actually started in Interiors pretty young… began grad school at Pratt Institute in NYC at 24 where I received a Masters of Science in Interior Design. I submitted my undergraduate graphic/web design portfolio to get into art school!

What gave you the idea to start your business?

I saw a need for chic, fashionable but comfortable interiors that were historically informed. There is a sweet spot when designing a room which is a combination of present, past and future. That sweet spot is what makes an environment timeless.

What spurred you to make the change?

I was doing flagship store design for Ralph Lauren at the time, traveling the world & having a grand time. It was almost like I needed to get that out of my system before building something of my own.

Was there anything holding you back?

The only thing that holds anyone back is fear. Release the fear, then you fly.

How did you prepare to move from working for someone else to working for yourself?

I started taking small decorating jobs while at Ralph Lauren, so the transition was gradual.

Some challenges you faced when you first started?

It’s takes time to figure out workflow and how to run a business. Once my systems were in place and I developed a pattern, things started to flow!

What was the hardest part of building your own business?

Trusting my instincts - about design choices, about people, about project fits. That gut feeling is always right.

Advice for women who want to follow in your footsteps?

This is very important - if you want to be an Interior Designer, you must go to school. Take some classes on proportion, on project management, on drafting and hand renderings. You will save yourself a lot of hassle if you inform yourself academically.

How do you reflect on your business?

My business has grown year over year since 2011. I’m lucky to have really wonderful clients, and unique design opportunities. You never know what tomorrow will bring! I love that about my job.

What are the daily rituals that make you successful?

I take a bath everyday. It helps me relax. Also, every morning before school/work - we have a family cuddle session. Best way to start the day off right!

What helps you be your most productive?

My Notes App - I have ongoing checklists for every project, and anytime something comes up I make sure to make a note of it!

What inspires you?

I take a lot of inspiration from historic periods through design - currently I’m loving late 1930’s French design - Jean Prouvé [see black and white chair below], Charlotte Perriand [famous for her designs with Le Corbusier], Pierre Jeanneret [see wooden chair below] and Jean Royère.

Jean Prouve Chair

Pierre Jeanneret chair

What music are you currently listening to?

We are listening to a lot of jazz - my husband is taking jazz piano lessons, so there’s a lot of studying going on at home. Vijay Ayer, Miles Davis, Bill Evans. [Click photo below for a list of best of Miles Davis]

Who or what has been your greatest professional influence?

I’d say it’s a combination of icons… Yabu Pushelberg (Toronto/NYC) that gave me my start in Interiors, and Ralph Lauren for rounding my aesthetic out.

What does your own home say about you?

Our home is a testament to my design style, chic, fashionable but comfortable.

How does living and working in NYC influence your design?

I’m influenced everyday by the streets, the seasons and the candor of the people. This city is an organism that breathes on it’s own. It’s so inspiring to drop into a museum or a park, taste a flavor you’ve never experienced before. It’s so iconic , which makes New York a great place to come home to.

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