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Fine Lifestyle Design Studio: Atelier Ive & Co.

Visual Alchemist Ivette Kjelsrud offers a comprehensive and meaningful insight on home design

1. I love this idea of "designing happiness." Can you explain what that means to you and how you were inspired to make this your career mission?

Designing happiness means deliberately shaping a lifestyle that truly resonates with who I am. Living purposefully involves curating an environment that aligns with my essence—embracing my own strengths, values, dreams, passions, and all sources of joy while letting go of elements that no longer serve me, much like decluttering. This applies to people, behaviors, beliefs, physical belongings, and the spaces I inhabit, among other things.

What inspired me to make designing happiness my mission is the realization that I could design my own “happy place.” The constant influx of external influences—social media, societal norms, work, family, trends and life's whirlwind—often drowns out our inner voice. The inspiration came from understanding that amidst this chaos, one can calm their mind, introspect, and develop self-awareness.

2. How does interior design influence our day-to-day lives?

Interior design, especially wellness design, shapes our daily experiences, impacting our mood, productivity, physical and mental health, our level of happiness and overall well-being. Research has shown that between work, life, and sleep, we spend a staggering 90% of our time indoors. This fact highlights the profound impact our environment has on our well-being, emphasizing the need for our spaces to harmonize with and uplift our desired lifestyle.

3. Tell us about your mindful one-on-one sessions. How much information do you get from your clients during this time and how does that translate into the space you create?

The one-on-one lifestyle alchemy sessions are my flagship program where I guide my clients through a parallel external and internal transformation that unfolds over a 12-week period. During this makeover, which features one weekly session, we choose a specific space for transformation while exploring various mindfulness techniques like meditation, journaling, goal setting, color healing, therapeutic art coaching, and more. The idea is simple: to design a space that truly aligns with your dreams and authentic self.

4. I understand that environmental psychology and wellness practices are involved in your design process. Can you describe how you integrate both of these?

This quote by Mark Twain probably says it better than me: “To us, our house was not unsentient matter - it had a heart, and a soul, and eyes to see us with.”

My approach to space design views our spaces as an extension of our energy field and is about blending mindfulness with the science of how our minds and environments interact.

Integrating them involves a holistic approach that prioritizes both the psychological impact of the spaces and the overall well-being of the people who use them. By integrating principles from environmental psychology, such as mindful color selection, optimal lighting, and thoughtful spatial layouts, with wellness design elements like biophilic design and eco-friendly and sustainable materials, the goal is to create spaces that positively influence occupants' mood, cognition, and health.

 5. Art, particularly fine art, can feel so overwhelming for someone who wants to incorporate it into a new or redesigned space. How do you go about finding the right pieces that speak to a particular client? 

As a visual artist with a decade of experience in both mixed media and encaustic paintings, my passion lies in artistic expression. While I have expanded my expertise to include interior and lifestyle design services, my core identity remains that of an artist and art lover. Creating bespoke pieces for clients' spaces is a great honor, and this offer extends beyond my own artwork. As a result of my artistic path, I've cultivated strong connections with fine artists, photographers, sculptors, artisans, muralists, and others. I humbly offer my clients access to this magnificent world, providing expert art advice and procurement services.

7. Tell us about yourself! How did you become a visual alchemist and what does that truly mean to you?

Ever since I was little, and for as long as I can remember, whenever I couldn't control what was happening "outside," I would decorate my room at home and later my classroom, and spend hours creating art, sort of wrapping myself (and others) in beauty. Somewhere along the way, without even realizing it, that innate coping mechanism turned into a career.

In my early 20s, I read "The Alchemist," and the part about the merchant avoiding fulfilling his dreams because if he did, he would have nothing else to dream about hit a nerve, leading me to make a simple promise to always follow my heart.

Somewhat similar to alchemy, I use transformative tools and processes such as art therapy, color healing, mindfulness, coaching, psychology, philosophy and interior design to peel away layers of noise and clutter and reveal gold, using my unique bag of tricks to help clients shed light on the real magic, both in their spaces and within themselves. My journey is all about personal and spatial transformation, connecting the dots between what's outside and what's inside, and helping others do the same.