Danielle! You are a bionic inspiration and are seemingly conquering the world of design. Can you tell us a bit about how your career came to be? The fashion line? I haven’t had an exactly normal trajectory. I was a stay at home mother, corporate wife and community volunteer for 17 years and launched my own lifestyle design firm following my divorce and the release of my first book “Soirée Entertaining With Style”. Much to my everlasting disappointment my separation and divorce wasn’t what I had wished it could have and should have been, and I was treated in a very hurtful, harmful, dishonorable and disrespectful way, but I am a survivor and wasn’t going to be destroyed. I went on a book tour speaking about lifestyle and entertaining when I didn’t have much of a life or even own paper plates and living in a series of less than glamorous places for a couple of years but I focused on the lasting impact that we all can lake through our own effort to make things no matter what they are, the best that they can be. I launched my own design firm at Miles Redd urging and encouragement and thankful every day I followed my dream and did something to make it possible to do what I love. I’ve always been incredibly creative, with an entrepreneurial spirit but I was emotionally beaten down and after years of verbal abuse I believed the things were true, but through a lot of self work and therapy I began to realize I had a gift. I launched the clothing line on a lark 16 months ago when a friend and publicist booked a trunk show for me after seeing pieces I’d made for myself and I jumped at the chance to do it! I love being able to share my favorite wardrobe pieces with other women and I think I’m hitting a niche in the market that’s missing. We focus on classic, timeless and seasonless style that can be mixed and matched, and work in a way that is flattering to a woman that compliments, not competes with, a woman’s personal style.
Favorite project you've worked on? That’s like having to say which child is the favorite! I enjoy whatever project I’m working on at the time because it’s always a new challenge that fires up my creativity. Being asked to participate in the venerable Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club Show House in Palm Beach will definitely be at the top of the list and I loved having the opportunity to do something that is fully unleashed with the support of so many industry sponsors to help make it possible. It opens January 25th and runs through February 20th so I’m in full on tilt to get it all perfectly pulled together.
What are your rules of thumb when hosting house guests? Never have more than you can comfortably host, notify them pre-arrival of any activities or events that might be happening they’ll be included in and layout the game plan for them so they know what to expect as well as your schedule, and make sure you have a properly outfitted comfortable guest room with thoughtful amenities.
You've worked closely with Miles Redd in the past - who are the designers that have most impacted your aesthetic?Miles Redd is one talented person but what I respect most about him is his development of other people’s talents. He’s made careers for quite a few people, including me.
Reading Edith Wharton and Ogden Colman’s “On The Decoration of Houses” was a pivotal thing for me. It was like the key to a lock.
I look to the icons Henri Samuel, Billy Baldwin, David Hicks, Albert Hadley Sister Parish, Syrie Maugham, Elsie De Wolfe, Frances Elkins & Nancy Lancaster just to name a handful!
You've recently purchased a pied a terre in Palm Beach - can you tell us a bit about how you plan to decorate it? I have always wanted a place in Palm Beach and I think if you want to change your life dynamics you have to make changes to make it possible to happen. I found the right place, trusted my instincts and just did it. Then I got into Kips Bay, feel like my world is expanding and I’m meeting so many wonderful people. I am known for a layered, colorful and traditional look, but my flip side alter ego is the complete opposite. I have been collecting (ok maybe it’s hoarding) 60’s and 70’s pieces for quite awhile and when people say would ask me what it was for, for my answer has always been “why darling for when I have my drinking daiquiris wearing turbans and caftans moment”. Probably from years spent watching I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched and the Dick Van Dyke Show I have always had this vision and idea of what I thought seemed glamorous. I was able to pull the entire place together in under a month! A mirrored paneled wall, shell pink walls and a silver leaf ceiling anchor a pristine vintage Milo Baughman sectional mixed with my friend Schuyler Samperton’s just boho enough fabrics and surrounded by a very sentimental set of art from T. Gordon Little, my first decorator whom I think would be very proud of what I’ve done. I am just so in love with it!
What three items would one need to pry from your lifeless hands? You know, I lost almost everything I ever thought that I valued and it changed me a lot. Things are just things and they’re are always more of them so I don’t have as much of a sentimental attachment as I do of a collectors kind of passion. But I do love my Verdura 40 Buck Bracelet now Necklace, A few pieces of art and collection of vintage Hermes Clutches.
Favorite entertaining hack? It’s not what you serve it’s how you serve it. I am a big fan of homemade enough- doing things from somewhere else and adding a few dashes of this or that, making it more flavorful by tweaking it just a little bit and serving alongside something you can do well, quickly and easily. Life’s too short to not do something you want to do because you think it has to be done a certain way!
Place that has most influenced your style? I grew up in Dallas, so I think there’s an element of anything is possible go big or go home in my work but Paris and the south of France has most influenced my style. Travel is the best way to expand your sense of style.
What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment to date? My three incredible, kind, thoughtful, well mannered young adult children. They have been very encouraging, supportive and patient with me developing my own career and it’s not been with out a sacrifice for them.
What's next? I am passionate that design doesn’t have to be exclusive and elusive. I think the reason I absolutely love public speaking and media is that I can share and show ways to create beauty in the everyday moments and bring more beauty to every interior. I started working on developing my drawings and designs in ways to be able to bring great things to more people than the individuals who can afford a decorator. I will be launching a curated art collection with Wendover Art at Kips Bay and at spring market, and working on several more collaborations. I can’t wait for our winter pop ups, Kips Bay and enjoying working on a few new Palm Beach protects. I have another book coming out with Rizzoli next year and I am saying yes more to opportunities that come my way to enjoy life a little more!