An Exclusive Interview with Interior Decorator Desiree Busnelli

There’s never been a better time to be an interior decorator. The industry has enjoyed a boom in the last five years. The growth has been primarily driven by the upsurge in residential and commercial building construction with companies such as Gensler and Perkins + Will at the forefront of the interior design revolution. Forecasts predict that the next five years will see even greater things for the industry. Even though commercial office space stocks such as Vornado Realty Trust (VNO), SL Green (SLG), and Boston Properties (BXP) have seen large declines in their share prices this year because of the pandemic, we believe things will get back to normal after the first vaccine is approved in the US over the next few months.Here to give us the inside scoop and speak about her own intriguing journey to becoming one of interior design’s leading lights is Desiree Busnelli.

Q: Desiree, you’ve earned quite the reputation as a talented interior decorator who creates innovative and aesthetically pleasing homes for a host of celebrities and public figures, but am I right in thinking it hasn’t all been plain sailing to get to this point? 

A: You’re absolutely correct. Not many people know this, but Interior design is something I’ve only done professionally in the last ten years, but it’s been a lifelong passion of mine, and I believe my true calling in life. You might say I didn’t choose my career; it chose me.

Q: Can you elaborate on what you mean by, ‘it chose me’? 

A: Well, I’m the oldest of five girls, and my grandma Kathleen Leavitt was an acclaimed interior designer. Since I was ten, she would give me guided tours of homes she had designed. The eloquence, intricacy, and subtle beauty of the interiors was fascinating to my young mind. It inspired an aesthetic in me and a desire to travel and educate myself both intellectually and culturally. I knew in my bones, and in my heart, I would someday spend all my time and energy pursuing an interior decorator’s life, but there were certain other things I needed to pass through first.

Q: Are you referencing the period you spent working in real estate? 

A: You can read me like a book (laughs). But in all seriousness, the life lessons that my other occupations have taught me has helped me develop as an individual, and showed me the true value of helping others. And to me, interior decoration is all about helping others. In essence, you’re creating a positive space to help others lead a more satisfying, satisfied, and balanced life.

Q: I know you’re not too keen on talking about your personal life, but you’ve had quite a few challenging circumstances to deal with along the way?

A: In 2007, I had life-changing surgery that left me in a body cast for four months, but I’m a firm believer in embracing who you are, flaws and all. You have to count your blessings because there’s always someone in a worse situation than you. I’ve always been of the attitude that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and when you’re going through hell, keep going, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. I have two great kids, I’m living with the love of my life and am doing the job of my dreams. How can I say I’ve not been blessed?

Q: Talking of children, how do you juggle the hectic schedule and endless tasks of being both a mom and an in-demand interior decorator?

A: I’ve always been a keen advocate of homeschooling, and so we adapted to lockdown as a family very easily. Many people are surprised when I tell them I’m both a stay-at-home mom and interior decorator, but to me, it’s essential to make time for both my children and my career. I believe it’s all about finding a balance, and then what looks to some as hard work becomes fun.

Q: You’ve had a whirlwind of a career to date. What have been the highlights?

A: There have been many, but traveling the world and working side by side with Emanuele Busnelli and his team for the last decade has been such an amazing learning curve. Also, meeting Tom Ford was unbelievable. There’s something so special about him and how he can make you feel the center of the universe.

Q: Finally, are you confident that the interior design industry will go from strength to strength? 

A: Make no mistake about it; the world is not the same place it was before the COVID 19 crisis. It has had an effect on everything, but I believe the industry is in a very healthy state. People are spending more time in their homes at the moment, and obviously, everyone wants the places where they live, play, and in more and more cases, work, to be as eye-pleasing, relaxing, and aesthetically pleasing as possible. I’m proud and more than happy to play a part in that!”