20 questions with Elana Safronsky
If you haven't seen or read Elana Safronsky's work yet, what are you waiting for? She's been all over the interior design scene, having written for Canadian House & Home, Nuvo and, now, HGTV. She's clearly proven her passion for interior design at work and at home. As the owner of a 100-year-old home, she combines her design aesthetic with her fabulous home renovations. She shares her reno journey on HGTV's Style Sheet blog and has caught the eye of other interior design and home decor blogs, too! Now Elana chats with Style at Home to dish about her inspiration, home reno tips and how she relaxes at home.
While Elana dubs her living room "a cheap hodgepodge," it's an impressive and stylish collection of vintage finds that have been reworked.
1 If you could shadow any designer for a day, who would it be?
Elana Safronsky: This is a bit like saying Michelangelo is my favourite painter - WAY too obvious - but I'll have to say Andree Putnam. She is a titan. Virtually all contemporary decorating pursuits can be traced back to her singularly elevated understanding of visual form. When you're starting out in any field, the greats dazzle and intimidate you. When you build up experience in your field, you come to love those same greats for a totally different reason: you start to understand them.
2 Where do you look for an obscure source of inspiration?
ES: Honestly, everywhere BUT design. I like to steal aesthetics from things that are not primarily or consciously concerned with appearances or designs. Otherwise it's just rehashing.
3 Favourite restaurant?
ES: Oh so many! Love Tutti Matti (Tuscan) and Cava (Spanish/Tapas). Also love Woodlot, Campagnolo and Enoteca Sociale (three "it" spots that I can never really get into).
4 What's your favourite room to decorate?
ES: Well, I don't have a room, but I love chairs and any room that can handle an overabundance of chairs is the room I most like to decorate.
5 What's your current paint colour obsession?
ES: Seafoam. I like it matte, I like it glossy, and I like it off beat - it's got to be a bit odd and vintage looking. It can't look minty or grassy, but more like a Bakelite or an old Formica. I guess I'm referring to the old plastics because they go a little yellowish with time, giving that old seafoam green the perfect warmth.
Elana avoids the "matchy matchy" look by mixing materials. Her dining room features wood, stainless steel, crystal, glossy whites, and fresh flowers.
6 If one song could be the soundtrack to your life, what would it be?
ES: Can't choose one, sorry. At my cheesiest, Carly Simon's "It's Coming Around Again" (a lot of truth in that song, don't laugh). At my most self-indulgent and melancholy it's "Skinny Love" by Bon Iver. And for all other days, probably "Easy Like Sunday Morning" but by Faith No More.
7 What's the one store you could spend hours browsing?
ES: Value Village.
8 London, Paris or New York?
9 If money were no object, what one thing would you buy?
ES: A vacation property on the Amalfi Coast. But decor-wise, I would be happy for decades if I could have reclaimed French oak herringbone floors.
10 What do you consider to be the most iconic design piece of the past century?
ES: Le Corbusier leather chair and sofa. I don't personally lust after it, but I could probably say it's one of the most pervasive pieces of furniture that is still very much relevant today.
Though some may feel placing the bed against the window obstructs the view and light, Elana proves it's doable, as long as the bed has an ethereal quality.
11 Favourite movie?
ES: Heart Burn (hence the Carly Simon song).
12 What's your favourite movie interior?
ES: "Orlando" with Tilda Swinton. Every time period that film takes on is amazingly realized.
13 What do you think is the easiest way to update a room?
ES: Paint the floors white. EVERYTHING you put on white floors looks striking.
13 Best coffee table book?
ES: I cannot commit, but off the top of my head, anything from Slim Aarons - photography of rich people and their stylish lives from decades gone by.
14 What's your favourite way to spend a lazy Sunday?
ES: Reading, sitting on the sofa with my daughter, surrounded by a huge mess.
Elana created this lamp from dishes and used a bright retro shade to top it off.
16 Do you like to be the entertainer or be entertained?
ES: Mostly the entertainer, but I do love me a good show. But it better be good.
17 What do you think is the best renovation you can do to your home?
ES: Windows, floors and curb appeal. Interiors are so much more transient. The bones are what really matters.
18 What is your favourite space that you've designed?
ES: My home.
19 What's the biggest design faux pas?
20 Marilyn, Audrey or Jackie?