We had the good fortune of connecting with Elisa Baran and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Elisa, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
This is a great question. As a fashion designer turned interior designer, I can say this: I do a ton of work for free because I love what I do. I think you need to find that passion that gets you excited to get up each morning and want to just jump into the work at hand, even if it’s not profitable at first. If you find that fire within, you will work tirelessly because it won’t feel like work. I gave up fashion because I didn’t like how the industry operated. I didn’t wake up every morning looking forward to start the day like I do now with interiors. That’s how I knew when to let go and when to hold on.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I think I’m most proud of finally finding my design style. I fell into the Pinterest trap when I first started designing interiors. I would follow a lot of the trends that popped up on my feed. It was hard to pull away, it’s addicting! My brother actually helped me define my style. He told me that all of my projects had a similar brutalist vibe. I was using bricks, concrete, travertine and reclaimed wood throughout each project. I would mix this with a lot of LED lighting to soften the rough materials but then would see something that looked cool and different on Pinterest and incorporate that. I know now that that’s what made me lose focus on my true style. I wasn’t falling completely in love with my projects because of this! It was really hard for me because so much work went into these projects but I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t loving the outcome. Now I know, brutalism as the fixed items in the home (ex: stone for countertops, tile, hardwood flooring, limewash or plastered walls) mixed with mid-century modern or vintage furniture with a lot of natural, LED or ambient lighting is what gets me excited. I’ve learned to keep on hand and hang samples of color swatches and fabrics on my pinboard and collect a variety of wood flooring and cabinet samples as well as marble and granite pieces. I visit my local stone yard at least once a month to pick up and see the latest stone arrivals while grabbing samples. This helps get my design process started. Seeing what’s available at your local vendor shops is key to defining the mood board and color scheme of each project. Pinterest is now just a tool for me after defining the scheme and mood. It may seem silly but since I didn’t go to school for interior design, figuring this out for me is one of the most rewarding accomplishments that I can take with me on every project. Just to have this new found confidence of knowing my true design style.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
OHHH! How I love creating an in-depth itinerary! I will spare you the photographs and EXACT times to wake up and go to bed. DISCLAIMER: This may not be the best thing to read as we are all on lockdown. Or it may be the best thing to read to get excited for the time we are free to connect in person with one another again. Your choice! Depends on where I am at the moment: If in New York, I would take them to La Mercerie for breakfast or brunch. The interior design and the perfectly portioned food and drinks are divine. How it connects to Roman & Guild is an extra treat. BEWARE: if you’re like me, you will most likely get sucked in to buying a whole new cutlery set. After that I would take them to the MET or The MET Cloisters. I am forever inspired by the light that shines through the glass and steel building. The energy you feel when you walk through that room is addicting. You want more and more and more of it. The art, it speaks for itself. You either understand it or you don’t. Next up: If it’s nice out, Central Park! I’m one of those people that loves to walk. A lot. Walking through the park towards The Boat House is the perfect escape from the noise, especially in the Fall when the leaves have changed or Spring as the flowers come to full bloom. Once arriving at The Boat House, it will most likely be packed. Pro Tip: if you do end up in NYC in the Fall or Winter, they have a “help yourself” 2 gallon fresh cider dispenser with cinnamon sticks on the side as you wait to order your boozy or non-boozy drink. Or just drink the free cider, I’ve done that too. I would end the itinerary with Aria in the West Village for dinner. It’s a cute and cozy Italian restaurant on Perry Street serving small portions and meant-to-be-shared meals in my favorite part of the city. I’d order a bottle of their chilled red wine, the octopus carpaccio, lamb chops and burrata as a starter and the bolognese as my main. I’d suggest you do the same. To cap off the night, I’d hit Hudson Bar and Books in the West Village as well for some whiskey and a cigar if my guests were okay with the smoke smell. I don’t smoke and I don’t really particularly enjoy whisky, but for some reason this place just has the good vibes you’re always looking to find in a new city you’ve never been to before. So on that night only, I would enjoy both of these things for the memories. Besides, the cigar smell reminds me of my dad and pop-pop on special occasions smoking in the backyard and I love the nostalgic feeling I get. I have a lot of other itineraries other than this one I can share depending on the person I’d be entertaining, but I think this one is the most fun. 🙂

If in Los Angeles, the one thing I would suggest we would have to do to enjoy the nightlife is head down to Bestia in DTLA if we could get in, because this is one restaurant everyone needs to experience. After Bestia, we’d walk over to Woolf and the Wondershow’s production of “CAGES” and the bar attached called “Chemist”. This is LA’s best kept secret in my opinion. You walk through the unmarked doors and are greeted by a woman with her heart locked in a cage. Not her ribcage, an actual cage. No emotions are allowed to be displayed in this city called Anhedonia. I would tell my guests to have a drink at the bar, suggesting the chilled red wine or orange wine (my two favorites), or the “LOVE” cocktail, which is strawberry preserves with Prosecco. It’s really good if you like a fizzy and sweet drink. Next around 8pm you’ll enter into the theatre where if holograms, theatre and music had a baby, this next-gen production would be it. Here’s the link for more info and tickets: CAGES

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My parents! They were a huge help when I didn’t know where I wanted to go after shutting down my fashion line. My mom especially since she pushed me to get my real estate license while figuring out what I wanted to do. After I got my license in California I began touring and showing these amazing homes to potential clients. I would hear what they would want and like to see changed in each home that would make it perfect for them to live in. I would see what they could afford and what made them the most excited within the interior or neighborhood. This is how I fell into interior design. I knew just showing the homes wasn’t enough, I wanted to be the one designing them. Thanks mom and dad!

Website: www.elisabaran.com
Instagram: instagram.com/elisabaran

Image Credits
Austin Nelson Alexa Miller Gallo