What is your design philosophy?
My design philosophy is your home should reflect the personality of the people living in it. It should tell your story.
How would you define your “signature” style?
Modern with vintage accents.
What is your favorite color?
Where have you traveled and where would you like to go next?
Visiting South Africa is next on my travel bucket list
What is your favorite beverage or cocktail?
Martinis and mojitos
Where do you like to shop?
Online boutiques and thrift stores
What are some of your favorite design websites, magazines, and/or books?
Elle Décor and Apartment Therapy. I also love reading store catalogues like West Elm.
Pet Peeve: When people take advantage of my time.
SS: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? What’s your educational background?
DG: I’m a city girl at heart with the charm and sophistication of a southern belle. I’m from Norfolk, VA but currently reside in the DC metro area. When I was younger I wanted to become a lawyer and received my degree in history and political science. After working in urban transportation planning for several years, I decided to change career paths to interior design. I went back to school to study design and became working internships to gain design experience and hone my skills. I’ve been moonlighting as a designer and blogger for the past two years and recently decided to quit my day job to focus on my design business full-time.
SS: What inspires you and where does it come from?
DG: I’m inspired by fashion, art, history, and culture.
SS: How long have you worked as a designer?
DG: I’ve worked in design in different capacities off and on for the past 8 years. But I really became serious about my design career two years ago when I started my own business.
SS: What’s a typical day in your life?
DG: When I wake up in the morning I read a daily devotional and say affirmations. Then I check email and catch up on the news, celebrity gossip, and blogs. The rest of the day is spent attending meetings, working on client projects, or researching content for my blog. I try squeeze in a quick run and dedicate time for journaling and meditation before hitting the sack.
SS: What is your definition of “good design”?
DG: I think that accent pieces bring a room to life. A room looks flat without the perfect decorative accents.
SS: When did you realize you wanted to become a designer?
DG: My first job out of college was in the transportation industry. After doing that for a year, I started to feel unfilled and did some soul searching to figure out what I wanted to be when I grow up. I’ve always been a creative person. I used to draw when I was kid and enjoyed taking art classes in school. I’m also pretty good at selling myself. Based on those factors I knew interior design was a good match for me.
SS: What was the first thing you ever designed?
DG: When I was a kid my mother would always drag me with her to furniture stores and she would ask for my opinion on fabric swatches, colors, etc. I was also very vocal about how I wanted my bedroom designed. I loved picking out paint colors for the walls and selecting bedding. I would always move my furniture around when I got bored with the layout. I didn’t know it then but I was a designer in the making.
SS: What was your most memorable design and why?
DG: I did a Little Havana themed design in a bachelor’s condo. After that project, I decided my niche would be bachelor pads.
SS: What are some of your accomplishments as a designer?
DG: Starting my own business and maintaining a successful blog.
SS: Who are some of your favorite designers?
DG: Kelly Wrestler and Shelia Bridges
SS: What do you like best about designing and what do you dislike about designing?
DG: My favorite part about design has to be install day. Seeing the look of satisfaction on my client’s face once the project is complete is very rewarding. It gives me a sense of accomplishment to hear clients say they look forward to coming home. There isn’t anything that I dislike about design. I love my job!
SS: With the rise of social media, how you use social media to help grow your business?
DG: I think having a strong web presence is extremely important. It allows you to connect with potential customers and expand your network of resources.
SS: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
DG: Expanding my brand into product development and branching out into set design projects.
SS: What advice do you have for aspiring designers?
DG: Develop a strong portfolio showcasing your best work and only use pictures taken by a professional photographer.
To learn more about Danielle and Gray Livin’, visit the website @ www.graylivin.com or connect with her on these social sites: