Two weeks ago I introduced Design Diaries – the newest installment to the blog – and have already gotten so much positive feedback! Chicago is so rich with culture, art, and design, so being able to chat with some of the city’s most influential Interior Designers is a dream.
This week I am sharing my interview with absolute #bossbabe and power house, Donna Mondi of Donna Mondi Interior Design! If you are ever lucky enough to encounter this fabulous woman, you’ll understand why her designs are so captivating. Her presence alone exudes fierceness and a confidence you feel immediately inspired by. Not to mention her style is on point! Donna’s organic approach to design is so beautifully unique and unapologetically bold – she can transform literally any generic room into a space that speaks. With a signature style that juxtaposes sophistication with spontaneity, each of Donna’s projects radiate the true essence of design.
Check out our interview for some of Donna’s interior design tricks, her favorite designers, and an exciting new project she’s working on!
Design Diaries: Donna Mondi
1. How did you initially get into the interior design business?
Boredom. I had just had two babies and I felt like I was losing my mind. I decided to go back to school and see where that led. Ultimately, I ended up being drawn towards a degree in Interior Design. I wasn’t surprised though. When I was a little girl my favorite thing to do was to redecorate my dollhouse. Over and over…
2. Where do you seek inspiration if you ever feel like you are in a creative rut?
There’s nothing like real experiences to spark your creativity. I travel quite a bit and am always searching out interesting architecture, well-designed restaurants, fun antique shops, and design events across the globe. There’s no doubt that my travels abroad have had a strong influence on how my design style has evolved. On a simple scale, I would say Instagram! It’s my design porn.
“If Coco Chanel and Rick Owens had a love child and that child became an Interior Designer… that would be me.”
3. How would you describe your personal/signature style when it comes to designing homes?
If Coco Chanel and Rick Owens had a love child and that child became an Interior Designer… that would be me. I love blending sophisticated classicism with edgy trends that lean towards the dark side. I’m so intrigued with things that are a little bit scary or considered slightly inappropriate.
4. Do you have a specific home that you have designed that became your favorite project?
Mine! There was nobody to stop me from pushing the envelope. My black lacquered dining room would have scared off most people, but I find it seductively dramatic!
5. Are there any brands that you consistently use when you are designing homes?
There is a whole world of options beyond retail that cater to the design trade. Why pick from the same pool that everyone else has when we can create just about anything we want! Current obsessions are a few furniture designers in London, Portugal, and France. Personally, I’m currently working on a capsule collection of my own designs that is set to debut in the fall of this year. Hopefully, that will be my favorite brand soon :).
“Just about anything can be beautiful if you bring order and intention to it.”
6. Do you have any tips for Chicagoans transitioning their home into spring / for a fresh look?
The best way to lighten up for spring is with accessories. Change out pillows and throws to lighter weight fabrics, brighter colors, and fun patterns. Add in fresh fuchsia or hello flowers in an interesting sculptural vase. Even your coffee table books can bring in unexpected color pops. Looking for something more neutral? Add in natural textures like sisal, burlap, or smooth cool leather. Even just adding in some gold accessories can brighten up a room!
7. Are there any decor trends that you are seeing and loving for 2017?
Decadence! There’s so much color and drama happening in design these days. The “griege” era is finally gone and we can have so much more fun. Tufting, curves, and patterns are bringing the sexiness back into furniture but in a new way. There’s an old-meets-new fusion that’s coming from the fashion influences. Just look at Gucci’s 2017 Cruise Collection and you’ll see what I mean!
8. Do you have any quick tips for homeowners wanting to reorganize their spaces but in a stylish way?
Bring order to chaos is my go-to rule for organization. If you have an art collection, group them together on wall to make an interesting gallery. Lost of books? Style a bookshelf by adding in interesting objects to break up the monotony. If the spines don’t all look good, take the covers off and it’ll change everything. Not enough storage space? Add a bar cart and display your favorite cocktail items. Just about anything can be beautiful if you bring order and intention to it.
9. What would you dream home look like?
Is it horrible to say that I’m living in my dream home? I wake up every morning to a view of Lake Michigan which couldn’t be more beautiful. My home is a 1920’s Edwardian style historically preserved co-op. It’s the perfect blending of Chicago architectural history and urban modern conveniences. It doesn’t hurt that I’m a block away from Chanel and Tom Ford. All that and it has a black dining room :).
10. Are there any decor tips that everyone should know?
I can think of a million… ok, top three:
- To add in an unexpected color to a space, repeat the color three times and it’ll magically make sense.
- Shop vintage. I have found the most interesting things at antique markets, online auctions, and vintage stores. And there’s no chance your friends will all have the same thing!
- Go big or don’t bother. If you want to make a statement, don’t just dip a toe… dive right in. I’ve never regretted it.
Donna Mondi Interior Design is a high-end luxury interior design firm located in Chicago.
Follow Donna + the DMID team on Instagram to stay up to date with her current projects! @donnamondiinteriordesign