Deanne Walczak, Principal Designer of 360° Design, specializes in residential interior design. After her latest project, which installed a Love Me Not Pendant in a modern bathroom space, we asked her a few questions to understand her background, design philosophy, and more about this project.
Tell us about your background.
My career to become an Interior Designer, was not a conventional path one might assume you would take. I went to school for Graphic Design, and with numerous twists of faith, I ended up starting my 360º Design company many years later.
Looking back on some of my careers along the way; whether it was working in the television + professional sports industries, Graphic Design or Marketing platforms, I take note of a few common threads that were always a constant throughout my journey. All my jobs were always hands-on; in very creative fields, and every day the challenges + tasks assigned, were different. These key qualities, I have recognized as assets to me, and are my favorite part of my current role as an Interior Designer. I love that my job is different every single day. That the challenges of each space, and the vision of each client is always different, and the solutions are commonly found by pairing a touch of psychology & vision, paired with key design elements, that all lead to the best design solutions for the space at hand.
I am in my sixth year of operating my own business, with six years prior to that, working in the industry. I have mostly work with residential spaces, but have had the privilege of working on commercial projects as well. In addition to those platforms, I also do virtual home staging + conventional home staging, with a few realtors in the Westchester area.
What is your design philosophy?
I avoid niching myself with one particular style or direction when it comes to designing spaces for my clients. I find myself following a Frank Lloyd Wright philosophy, of balancing and pairing objects of function and form, to create a more harmonious optimal living space. Connecting organic material from nature, with an optimal space plan, proper lighting, and a great use of color, allows the elements to create a more harmonious living environment. In addition to this core philosophy, I utilize my past Graphic Design abilities, to help support my visions more clearly to the client(s) by creating visual schematics of their project in the early stages of development. After realizing that the majority of my clients had difficulty envisioning the overall plan/direction of their project, which delayed making key decisions needed to propel the project forward, I quickly realized that if I could show them the end result, rather than trying to convince them of my plan. It would now allow them to take much bigger risks with the decision process, or with items in the space, that they normally would not consider. It was a win-win for both parties and has proven to be a valuable resource for my design company, and the proof that a picture really is worth a thousand words.
What was your inspiration for this project?
With this current master bathroom project, there wasn’t one clear inspiration element or idea that drove us to the end result. It was more the “sum of the parts” kind of a vision. I discussed with the clients what their wants and needs were for the 20 x 20 master bathroom suite and then started sending inspiration photos to tap into a direction of the type of room that inspired them.
They had also been traveling abroad and determined a feel and a few amenities that they experienced while on their travels that they knew they wanted to incorporate in their space. And I knew, to not lose sight of staying true to the style of the home, which was Arts and Crafts/Art Deco. From there my vision took shape, and the space planning began. We discussed details, tweaked and fine-tuned our direction to incorporate a few elements from two design options, and came up with our ultimate vision.
What obstacles did you face for this project?
When I think back on building this bathroom, there were very few obstacles we encountered throughout the project. We had to adjust the placement of where we used the teak on the ceiling due to wiring and ducts, and we changed the direction of the layout of the floor tiling so it ran at a vertical direction instead of a horizontal direction when it came up the shower wall. I cannot lie though, I did lose sleep a few nights on one key component.
My client had a doctors appointment and was inspired by the walls at the building in which her appointment was. We had originally had our porcelain floor tile continuing onto the shower walls, rather than changing to a different decorative tile, as most bathroom showers do. The decision to do so was based on the over-scaled custom Acacia double vanity that was going in the room, on the opposite wall, which we anticipated to be our “wow” in the room (until we found our light). The species of wood being used had a lot of movement and we felt the simplicity of a solid, monochromatic, clean-lined tile continuing up the wall would offset this feature on the vanity. She came home with pictures of the walls and asked if we could do that in the shower. It was staying with the existing monochromatic palette and scale of the existing porcelain tile originally selected, but we would be adding every couple of tiles a blue stone thick slab that would ultimately create a subtle in and out movement to an otherwise flat wall. I drew out a plan and discussed with my contractor to implement this new feature to randomly add the slabs of bluestone to offset the existing porcelain. As the plan developed and began taking shape, the client’s husband questioned the decision more than once, which reinforced a small doubt inside me that I had not conveyed to anyone else. So I lost a few nights of sleep over this, but every time I got back in front of that wall, I convinced him to stay the course and trust the vision.
I remember reading a quote that just helped me keep my doubts at bay and encourage the vision. It said, “Feeling nervous is a good sign you’re making something original”…and that we did! He trusted the process and saw the vision through, and loved the ultimate design. And I eventually exhaled and caught up on my loss of sleep.
Why did you choose the Love Me Not Pendant?
Throughout the entire duration of the production of the bathroom, we researched for the perfect light to ground our anticipated space. We actually had purchased one very early on in the project that we had agreed worked, but by all means, did not love. When the teak ceiling needed to be moved to the center of the room instead of on the soffit line, like we had originally designed, it changed our vision and I suggested we return the first purchased light. I knew that it was never going to be able to hold the center of the room, like the negative space dictated the right fixture to do. The teak was now being used on the ceiling centered in the room, and was going to be the background to something that needed to be amazing. At this point, it also became clear that the fixture needed to be something that featured a soft, feminine line, since the space around it had evolved and was reading very masculine. We needed to try and balance the masculine to feminine line of the room and offset the elements of the hard stone and wood that were used throughout the rest of the space, and helped support the curvy feminine line of our beautiful Cheviot modern claw foot tub. And so the search continued.
Everything just fell flat…. Until one day, our search ended with your beautiful custom Love Me Not lighting fixture. It had me from hello. I saw it, and I knew immediately it was the everything we had been searching months for. It was just the perfect bling to the little black dress. I seriously didn’t know how I was going to move on from it if the clients did not see the absolute perfection it had to offer to their space. And just like that, our amazing, magnificent, Acacia over-scaled custom vanity had competition. She was front and center, commending the weight of the massive negative space to the center of our room, while offsetting the masculine line of the space with her beautiful scalloped curves, all while mimicking the petal shape line of the tub (that was an unexpected bonus). We were in Love. Which leads me to my only criticism of your light, its “Love Me Not” title.
Modern Bathroom Lighting & The Love Me Not Pendant
The Love Me Not draws from childhood memories of picking petals off of daisies. The LED pendant’s delicate curves and diffused light are crafted from five layers of Evonik acrylic with a porcelain-like matte finish. Each pendant is hand-formed so no two fixtures are identical.
The Love Me Not pendant is feminine and playful, soft and refined. As a grand statement piece, the Love Me Not floral pendant light reaches its full potential as it casts a warm glow.
Deanne Walczak of 360° Design shows her process through her Instagram, to give viewers a peek at the design process, intriguing details, and final installations of her residential interiors, including this modern bathroom design.