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Five Things We Learned from Interior Designer Danielle Moudaber

We Spoke with the Cover Star of Our New Book Kaleidoscope

Posted by Gestalten—04/2016

London-based interior designer Danielle Moudaber is a stringent critic of contemporary minimalism: “I hope the intolerant, impersonal minimalism will vanish for good. While I may be able to understand the immaterial concept of it—but the lack of life and joy?”

Moudaber is instead a firm believer in the beauty of maximalism and her apartment is the perfect portfolio of her eclectic and unapologetic taste. From the repeated powder-blue motifs to the boney staircase that she designed herself, Moudaber poured love, thought, and time into her South Kensington palazzo, which is the cover of our new book Kaleidoscope. Like the many projects and spaces featured in Kaleidoscope, Moudaber’s home skillfully blends sophistication with tasteful maximalism. We drew out five key points from our brief chat with the interior designer; discover more in Kaleidoscope, which is now available for purchase. 

TELL A STORY

From the flow of the floorplan to the dispersion of natural light, Moudaber’s styling emphasises a cohesive narrative that runs through each space. Her interiors are like movie sets in which fantastic stories unfold. She says, “I like to weave a story around whatever I am creating as fantastical or normal as the project may be.”

The story behind her majestic home? “While I was creating it, I happened to be totally in love and I wanted—needed—a backdrop for my romance.” 

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LIVE LIKE A QUEEN

When planning a space, the budget for renovation and furnishings can often be a sticky subject. As such, it is essential to curate a palette of products that will stand the test of time while retaining its charm. The solution? Follow the royal route.

“Noble materials are timeless,” Moudaber says. “Pastiches and make-do materials of any sort are never a good idea."

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DO IT YOURSELF...

Cut costs with the help of a little elbow grease. Precious antiques and other statement pieces often carry a hefty price tag. However, sourcing the materials and labor yourself is an effective way to live luxuriously without going over budget.

“I love beautiful objects and pieces, but as I have been going to audtion houses and art fairs around the world for more than 25 years, my eye has become accustomed to excess expenses,” she admits. “I couldn’t afford any of the things that I truly loved—and I dislike cheap reproductions—so I have but one option left: I decided to make mine.”

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...OR FIND SOMEONE WHO CAN HELP

“It takes a long time to find a good working relationship,” Moudaber advises. “I nurture my team and look after them when we are on a project—I make sure it’s more fun when it’s for me.”

She stresses the importance of needing to give a little to ask a lot: “I stretch everyone that I love beyond their comfort zones, so I have to be equally nice so that I can get away with it.”

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SURPRISE YOURSELF

A willingness to accept unexpected pairings and leave your comfort zone is essential to Moudaber. 

“I like to mix in finds from flea markets in Paris or Brussels—or even Copenhagen and Rome,” she says. “I can find something that fits the space and style of a room almost anywhere.”

“Of course, I do have a few favorite stores and specialty shops,” she continues, “But it’s all secondary to finding which piece best fits the story I am trying to tell.”

Images © Moon Ray Studio