Making Interior Design Therapeutic

Lemonada Studios’ Angelica Connelly on her approach to interiors that goes deeper than what you see.

You have a unique approach to interior design, can you explain?

My approach is to design as a form of therapy. My secret sauce is helping folks who thought decorating was frivolous and giving them a reason to believe that the built environment is one way we create moods, make memories, find solace, and even community. I always say, 'You can buy a dress and wear it once, but you look at a lamp every day.’

In my observation, our preferences and aversions often trace back to early life experiences. For example, when someone expresses a strong dislike for things like birds, specific colors, or patterns, it typically stems from an experience or environment that didn't evoke a sense of security. The narrative we create for ourselves is that reintroducing those elements into our living spaces will recreate those unsettling experiences. However, upon recognizing the origins of these dislikes, there's usually a moment of realization, leading to an eventual acceptance of things they initially despised. The journey of good design is as much a self-actualizing experience as it is providing form and function. I encourage my clients to reflect on the factors influencing their personal choices and preferences. In a society often fixated on conformity or succumbing to the commercialized ideals of what we should desire, it's essential to be mindful of our individual motivations.

What are some questions you ask people before working with them?

1.     WHO is going to use that room? Is this space designed for a chef or an eater? This distinction will directly impact the required equipment and countertop space in your planning. Enthusiastic cooks may require a fully equipped kitchen, while those who view the oven as additional shoe storage might prefer a bar stool island set up with a microwave tucked away in a corner.

2.     WHAT are they going to do there? The What influences the selection of lighting and furniture for the room, ensuring that the intended users find it suitable. Is it intended as a TV room or a space for socializing and drinks? Is it meant to serve as a family bathroom or a practical en suite?

3.     WHEN are they going to be doing it? Consider the When prompts considerations about color and the source of light—whether natural or artificial. Will the primary use by the intended users and for the intended purpose be during the evening or in the morning's natural light? It's probable that the space needs to accommodate both ends of the day but remains largely vacant in the middle. We determine whether the activities will rely more on artificial light or natural light, as this influences the choice of paint color to ensure it complements both scenarios.

How did you choose to name your company Lemonada?

It was my favorite drink during the hot summers I spent in Greece as a child. It's refreshing, satisfying, and brings up feelings of nostalgia for me. These feelings of summertime, outdoor time, etc. evoke feelings of relaxation and enjoyment. 

The journey of good design is as much a self-actualizing experience as it is providing form and function.

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