This week's flower person is Danielle Colding; an interior designer, entrepreneur, and mother of two based in New York City. Danielle's artistic style and ability to effortlessly transform spaces with elegance and eclectic charm immediately caught our attention. And, her passion for design and all things beautiful to promote an environment for healing truly resonates with us as our mission is to utilize flowers to promote wellness and serenity. In this interview, we discuss how flowers impact the aura of any space, the power of staying present, and daily rituals for personal growth.
Hi Danielle! Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do!
My name is Danielle Colding and I am a wife, mother and Black woman, of multiracial background, living in NYC. Professionally, I am an interior designer and have my own company danielle colding design, inc. which I established in 2006.
I have lived an incredibly full life filled with amazing experiences, world travel, deep connections, and love. I am at a place in my life where I am finding my voice in a new way with a new understanding of my purpose in the world. While things are certainly very difficult right now, there is some amazing growth that I and many others are experiencing. It is an uncomfortable and deeply moving time to be alive.
Where are you from and where do you call home now?
Born and raised in Queens, I have called Brooklyn home for the past 17 years. I am a real New Yorker! We still exist, I promise.
As a real New Yorker myself I can attest that we certainly do! Growing up in such an urban environment, where did your love for flowers come from and how do flowers influence your work as an interior designer?
I come from a long line of green thumbs and spent much of my childhood “digging in the dirt” with my mother and grandmother. While I don’t possess their innate gift for keeping plants alive, I still enjoy planting and arranging flowers in my own home. It is especially fun with my children. My husband alone is tasked with keeping everything alive! As a result our little green corner is thriving. Next up, a small window box herb garden!
As an interior designer, flowers are incredibly important to the work that I do. They add perhaps the most important finishing touch to any space. I have done some of my own flower arranging for my photo shoots, particularly earlier in my career. However, flower arranging is indeed a gift and much harder than it seems, so I prefer to call in the professionals when I can.
That's awesome Danielle! What projects, both personal and professional, are you working on at the moment?
Professionally, I am working on five projects. Two of them are fairly large scale residential projects. The others are small bits and bobs for repeat clients. Nevertheless, I’m busy and grateful for the work.
Additionally, I have been delving into writing. This has been a really challenging time in our country and a moment for great reflection. Writing has helped me to process the myriad of experiences and feelings that are currently front and center and helped me find my voice in this important moment.
Lastly, my most important work is raising my two small children with my incredible husband. That is the work that never stops but brings me the most fulfillment and joy. Kids require you to be present in life like nothing else. And this time together in quarantine has strengthened our family bond immensely.
Quarantine has definitely forced us all to take a step back, prioritize the work and tasks that are the most important to us, and ultimately increase our proclivity towards practices that promote self-awareness, self-reflection and mindfulness. So Danielle, what’s a daily ritual that’s made an impact in your life during quarantine?
There are a few. Writing my daily morning pages has been incredible for unlocking creativity. I find doing a morning brain dump gives me the space to tap into something deeper. Yoga and meditation, particularly breathwork, has been something I struggle to do consistently but is deeply impactful when I can get it in. And when I do manage with some consistency, my life is infinitely better. As you can imagine, two toddlers make any regular practice challenging to say the least.
Danielle that is truly inspiring. At the Qi we are also incredibly passionate about sharing the power of mediation and journaling with our community as a practice to maintain mental clarity and serenity. Therefore, we want to ask what are some inspiring words you love and live by?
My mother had a philosophy around raising children which I think can apply to every aspect of life and relationships. Be consistent, live with integrity, and love unconditionally.
Those words that you shared are both motivational and grounding which are essential sentiments to maintain especially when raising a family. As you have an incredibly close bond with your family, we would love to know what are you and your family currently eating and drinking?
We are currently on a salad kick. We are members of the Park Slope Food Coop so get the most incredible vegetables. Before this sounds too good let me assure you I am married to a Frenchman. So our salads can include almost anything- meats, cheese, nuts and all kinds of fruit regularly make their appearances. He also is the master of dressings.
I am a big lover of water. We have one of those great filters installed in our kitchen sink so that’s my go to throughout the day. I recently stopped drinking coffee for a short period of time to eliminate caffeine from my diet so have been experimenting with tea more. On our last trip to France, my husband went wild in the tea shop. So we have a pretty great assortment right now.
That is amazing! At the Qi our main goal is to ensure that we provide the highest quality whole flowers teas to our customers which are also naturally caffeine free! One of my personal favorites is the Blue Lotus which is an awesome tea that promotes stress relief, relaxation, and creative clarity especially at the end of the day. Where do you find inspiration and what have you found super inspiring lately?
I think the thing I have found most inspiring is all of the good people in this world. It is so easy to get caught up in negativity and cynicism. I have been guilty of that to be sure. But this is a time where good people are standing up for each other and our world. In particular, young people have been an incredible force for good. They are providing another picture for what our world can be. It is that burning kernel of hope that is helping me to get through the rough times.
And, who is someone that has had the most impact in your life for the better?
My mother is the guiding force in my life. She was my biggest supporter and led an incredible life of service to other people. My mother lived a life in which she treated every person as possessing an inherent value and worth and her actions, big and small, were done with tremendous love and generosity. I am just starting to tap into that part of myself and even though she is no longer here, her spirit guides me to embrace that bigger picture. This time in history has given me a lot of time to reflect on my own experiences and to determine how I ultimately want to contribute to the world. I can only hope to live up to her example.
That is truly beautiful Danielle, and from what you've shared with us we know you definitely will. Now time for some Quick fire Qs!
I’m not great at favorites! I like too many things. lol!
- Favorite affirmation? I fully accept myself and trust that I am exactly where I need to be.
- Favorite book? This is hard. The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy, the writing is exquisite. And anything by James Baldwin and Toni Morrison.
- Favorite food to cook? Eggplant Parm
- Favorite good vibes song? As, Stevie Wonder
- Favorite city? Paris
- Favorite movie? Nothing But A Man (1964). I saw it in the library in college and it was life changing. Also watch When Harry Met Sally whenever it is on!
- What is one advice you would tell your “younger self”? You are enough and It is all going to be ok.