My recent stop took me to Elizabeth Benedict, owner of Elizabeth Home Décor & Design. Read about how her travels opened up new inspirations she discovered along the way!
What is Elizabeth Home Décor & Design?
-Elizabeth Home Décor & Design, Inc. is a full-service residential interior design business based in Chestnut Hill, MA.
What inspired you to start this business?
-After I was married, my husband and I moved to Hong Kong. I was very caught up in my career in financial services up until then, so it was quite a culture shock moving to such a culturally different environment. I took a job with a Western bank but my husband was gone most of the week travelling around the region. He’d come back with beautiful souvenirs, fascinating stories, and tales of places that I longed to be. After eight months, I decided to put my career on hold and start travelling with him. We spent the millennium touring around Rajasthan, the Thar desert, exploring India for three weeks. For the first time in my life I was awestruck. I was overwhelmed by the history, the different religions, the weather, the people, the antiques and things that had survived through so much change, the handicrafts, the fabrics, the colors, and the smells. When we returned to Hong Kong, I took a job at a local gallery, continued to travel, and began to acknowledge the right side of my brain.
How did you get started?
-I took a job at a gallery in Hong Kong that specialized in Southeast Asian textiles and Balinese art. The owner of the shop was an interior designer from Australia. She encouraged me to join the Hong Kong Textile Society. From there I designed a line of tablescapes (runners, tablecloths, etc) that I sold in NY while in the States for a visit. When we moved back to the States, my husband enrolled me in an introductory interior design class at New England School of Art and Design as a Christmas gift. He told me to take it as far as I wanted to. I completed the certificate course in just over four years (in between having kids). During my last semester I was approached by a real estate agent in Boston who was working with a developer that was converting apartments to high-end condominiums in Beacon Hill. They needed someone to do the model units and the common spaces. I put in a proposal and was asked to begin the project shortly thereafter. Having a business background, I didn’t want to begin unprepared, so I hired a lawyer, incorporated Elizabeth Home Décor & Design, Inc., and took out an insurance policy. That was 2005.
-I love that it’s always new with each client. No two people have the exact same taste, so for me, it’s a continuous discovery. With every project, I get to start over.