"But mummy, I need pipe cleaners to make the four-poster beds!” wailed the tearful little girl as her mother dutifully delivered all the household item ingredients to build the perfect DIY dolls house…less one key item.
For the next few days, the little girl considered making the same beds out of other materials, but nothing seemed to work quite the way she wanted. Determined that her dolls would have the boudoir they deserved, she dismantled the half-built box with its paisley fabric curtains and pedestal wash-basin, and started again. Her “dollies” eventually ended up with some pretty funky hammocks and beanbag chairs.
That was me, Itohan Ellis, at age 8, with what was probably my first passionate interior design. Many years (ok, decades) later, the space planning challenges and design development process in my chosen field still evoke a passion in me that little else does.
I spent my early childhood in Africa; my late teens through to 2015 in the U.K., from which I explored Europe and other parts of the world; and now reside in the U.S.
Each country and culture I visited exposed me to different styles of design, color, and innovation.
This varied experience has contributed to my approach to interior design today. When I work with my clients, I take the time to understand that they are each very different and every design is unique to them. My goal is to create a residential space that will be practical and functional without compromising on look and feel.
Before I started my own business, I dabbled in personal interior design projects – getting a fair bit of hands-on experience with various remodelling jobs (and learning the hard way how not to do certain things) – alongside a gruelling career in the financial industry. In 2013, my passion won and I launched Red Orchid Designs in London, U.K.
I relocated to San Jose, California and relaunched the business in the U.S. in April 2016. I love California, and am looking forward to a long, exciting (and sunny) design life here!