Ever since she settled part-time in New York a few months ago, Brittaney Elise has been on a constant roll. “I’ve always had a mission and a dream to bring my skills in art and craft and my ability to taste-make under one roof,” says the vibrant young designer who lives and works the other part of the time in her native California.
With her varied background in design, Elise has leveraged her creative skills on multiple fronts—working initially in fashion and later in the film industry, where she styled wardrobes and sets, then in the design field, where she specified product for large-scale commercial projects and created custom furnishings. Five years ago she set off on her own to tie all the threads of her experience together as an independent creative force on private and commercial projects. And now, after heading east, she’s working with an expanding roster of clients—many of them millennials who live in New York and/or L.A. like herself.
“The key to a successful business relationship is complete and total trust,” says Elise, noting her rapport with the founders of Bellami, a growing salon group, as a case in point. After Elise designed Bellami’s first Beauty Bar locations in New York and Miami, advising on its customers’ “experience” as much as on the ambience, the collective vision between the designer and her clients effortlessly evolved and she’s now at work on three new locations, tweaking each to its context. “A client focused on beauty is a great match for me, and Bellami’s own clients are females on Instagram who love to look good, get dressed up, drink champagne and have fun, so it’s easy to relate to young women who come in wanting to look good—and when they leave feeling good, too, I know I’ve done my job as a designer,” says Elise.
Given her multifaceted approach to design, it’s not surprising that her inspiration comes from wide-ranging sources, too. “I look to history for ideas as well as to travel and old books, but a lot of my ideas also come from Disney—I love Alice in Wonderland, so the fun stuff in my designs—bold stripes, bumblebees, touches of red—is often inspired by classic Disney animation,” she says. A classic Hollywood-inspired black and white color story is a common thread in in her upbeat interiors and the palette serves as a perfect canvas for her approach to style, which usually includes “a touch of glam,” she says. It also sets the tone for her newest venture, an e-commerce site she’ll launch later this year called Home By B.E., where she’ll showcase curated collections of furniture and objects by a few of her favorite designers and makers as well as her own furnishings, textiles, wallcoverings, accents and one-off clothing designs. “It’s a way to make my unique sense of style affordable and available to anyone,” she says.