unexpected guests: jill danyelle.
for shame — it’s been utterly way too long since we’ve had an unexpected guest! but today i’m quite elated to be sharing designer and artist jill danyelle’s apartment in manhattan’s east village. i’m extra excited about this apartment, not only because it’s lovely, but because this coming may i’m headed to new york for the ICFF show and a bit of fun, and jill has very generously invited us to share her space for a few days! so i’m pretty thrilled to be staying in such a beautiful home. born in woodstock, formerly a therapist, jill danyelle is primarily an interior designer now, but has creativity bounding from her in countless artistic avenues — from fashion design to writing and photography. here’s what she had to share with us…
You’re kind of a creative entrepreneur with your hands in a bit of everything design related — how do you define what you do?
Currently, I am focused on interior design, but am hoping to grow the art/ photography/ print side of the business more this year. I definitely explored a lot prior to beginning this business and those experiences were invaluable. They contributed to my abilities, to who I am and allowed me to meet a lot of great people. Ultimately, they were not the right fit for one reason or another, but I am thankful that they led me to the path I am on today.
Is there anything you’d like share about your work, who you like to work with etc?
Doing interior design has been great so far. I find it creatively fulfilling, but I also really enjoy working with clients and solving problems. They may not be the kind of problems I was solving as a therapist, but I still feel good about the work I am doing. Being able to hire an interior designer can be seen as a luxury, but many of my clients opt for DIY plans which are fairly affordable. Sometimes it is hard to hand over the DIY plan and not be able to see a project through, but it makes me happy when I get emails from clients who have implemented their plan with good results.
As far as the art side of things, I need to be more diligent about making, making, making. I am not talking about making things to market and sell necessarily, but just developing more consistency in my practice. It is really therapeutic for me and I want to see myself progressing. When I photographed my garden over the course of a year, I felt like that was a really magical and productive time. Just by the nature of the project, I had to continually go there and shoot. Prioritizing time to create and make art is definitely a goal this year.
what are a few of your favorite things to do in the east village?
Some of my favorite things to do in the neighborhood are…share a meal with friends in the amazing community garden that I belong to…walk through Tompkins Square Park. I live just off the park and try to always make a path through it to admire the trees, see people of all walks of life and catch a glimpse of our resident hawks…grab a coffee at Ninth Street Espresso. I was never too particular about coffee, then came Ninth Street.
What’s your favorite flea market, or secondhand find?
Half my world seems to have been found secondhand or in a flea market, so picking a “favorite” might be difficult. I am quite fond of my Lightolier sconces and Dansk Kobenstyle pots and pans, recent additions in the last couple of years. My Danish Modern daybed probably wins for combined points of aesthetics and utility. I scored it many, many years ago at The Salvation Army. I think it was $75. There used to be a great flea market in the parking lot on the corner of Ave A and 11th St. You could find a vintage dress for $20 to wear out later that night, get some authentic tamales and horchata and pick up some old school music. It was the best. I bought this huge, kind of abstract print there of sailboat masts and rigging for $5. I was sailing on tall ships out of South St Seaport at the time, so thought it was extra cool.
What’s your favorite possession?
I am really fascinated by our relationship to our possessions. I am trying to get my feng shui on more and more in recent years and I think it takes a bit of detachment. As New Age as it sounds, I try to have faith that the Universe will bring what I need, when I need it – although, it still hasn’t answered my prayer for some brutalist brass chandeliers or a set of bottom basement priced Dansk Fjord teak flatware… maybe when I finally close on the house Upstate. Seriously though, if there is one thing that shopping at flea markets will teach you, it is that there is always another killer vintage dress and Danish Modern credenza to be had somewhere.
I liked Marion Melbourne’s 52 objects…I think that was a really nice practice to meditate on the things in her life, show appreciation in some way. Like her, most of my favorite things are imbued with some emotion, connected to some memory — a Mexican silver bracelet that I wear a lot, which was given to my Mom by my Dad. I actually love it aesthetically, but it is the history that gives it meaning and makes it special.
What five things can’t you live without?
love, nature, creative expression, challenges and growth.
I also find brunch to be pretty important. When I lived in Barcelona people did not brunch and everything was closed on Sunday. Five people sitting around the kitchen table, hungover, staring at one banana and a cup of yogurt is not pretty.
If you could go flea market shopping with anyone in the world, who would it be?
Lisa Eisner. Maybe we’d just skip the flea market, sit in her garden having cocktails and then try on some of the Sammy Davis Jr suits she owns or maybe some feathered hats. Then Roman Alonso would come over and offer me his apartment for any time I wanted to crash in L.A.
What bores you to death?
• all photos courtesy of jill danyelle.