In Conversation with Danielle Lee from DCL interior design
Danielle Lee - DCL Interior Design
I run a residential interior design practice with the majority of our projects being refurbishment-driven. We specialise in reconfiguring properties to make better use of their space, be that converting two flats into a single residence; relocating and redesigning bathrooms and kitchens; designing lighting schemes and addressing flooring and other more structural as well as decorative concerns.
We are based between Surrey and Hampstead, North-West London, and work all around the M25 and beyond for owner-occupiers, landlords and developers.
Our objective is with careful and thorough planning, to take the spade-work and stress out of our clients' design projects to create personalised and functional spaces which have been well considered and carefully budgeted.What inspired you to be an interior designer?
At the age of 15, my mother allowed me to redecorate my bedroom. Much to the horror of her friends, I got busy with Jackson-Pollock style drip-painting in acrylics and PVA glue, directly onto the walls. 25 years later, those lumpy drip marks still remain! That initiated my love of decoration. In my early twenties, I discovered real interior design by way of the marrying up of technical expertise, practical living, creative aesthetics and a love of organisation and admin (tragic, I know!). These four factors are vital elements in successful interior design; I do not believe you can truly be a rounded and professional interior designer if one of these skills is lacking.If they were to make a toy action figure of you, what would your accessory be?
Unfortunately, my phone. Recording and photographing everything. How did we live before without these mobile tools?
To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life within the design world has taken?
Tenacity and proactivity. I had no family connections or money when I started out, so I needed to do the very best job possible at the best value to my clients. I passionately loved this work but needed to earn referrals to support myself financially. I devoured information and experience from tradesmen on site. Much of my success has been down to luck and patience - not giving up, meeting the right people at the right time, although the only control I have had is aiming to be as personable, proactive and professional as I can be.What would be your dream interior project?
What every designer dreams of - either no client to persuade or please, or one who gives carte-blanche to anything we dream up and an endless budget to make it happen! More specifically though, my dream project would be three upmarket backpacker lodges styled in local aesthetic in Thailand, South Africa and London. I enjoy many different forms of design and culture.What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
I make a conscious thought about how I would want to be treated if I were my client. I try at all times to be fair to my clients, and thorough and serious in my approach to my work.
If you could go back in time and speak to your adolescent self, what advice would you give them about the design world?
There is a lot of ego and image out there, and an awful lot of false designers running around trading off a name, or family money and connections who can't actually really design anything on their own. Don't pay attention to them. Communicate better with your contractors and clients, try to improve your memory, and never give up your drive and excitement.
Follow her on Instagram: @dani_lee_dcl
Image courtesy of Danielle Lee