For many interior designers at the helm of successful businesses, working for an established firm before branching out on their own is somewhat of an unspoken prerequisite. For others, however, being in the right place at the right time was all they needed to kick-start their careers. Such is the case for 33-year-old interior designer Brittaney Elise, who partially credits her native city of Calabasas, California, for her star-studded client list.
“I’ve worked hard to get my name out there, but I will say this: I think the fact that I grew up right outside L.A. had something to do with it,” she says, chuckling. Shortly after earning her degree in interior architecture and design from California State University, Northridge, Elise landed her first project, and BE. by Brittaney Elise became an official LLC in 2012. The project in question? Chris Brown’s former manager Michael Guirguis’s Hollywood bachelor pad. Fast-forward nearly a decade and Elise has become the go-to designer for more than a few members of young Hollywood, including Zendaya, Michael B. Jordan, Camilla Belle, and Selena Gomez.
“I have known since I was a kid that this is what I wanted to do,” Elise admits. Perhaps her father, a southern California engineer who invested in residential real estate on the side, had something to do with her early passion for all things home. “I dreaded the trips, but he’d always drag me with him to Home Depot, and I’d somehow find my way to the section that had these huge board books for adults explaining how to decorate children’s rooms. So at seven years old, I was already obsessed with interior design,” Elise adds. Plus, by 13, she already had a design project under her belt: her childhood bedroom, which she designed and redesigned five times by the time she graduated high school. “I had such a genuine interest in design as a child that when it was time to apply to college, I already knew what I wanted to do.”
Over the next 15 years, Elise’s personal style evolved to encompass a clean and contemporary look with eclectic touches and warm, neutral palettes. For the interiors of her Redondo Beach home, Nikki Eslami, founder of beauty studio and hair extension empire Bellami Hair, enlisted Elise to give the space a luxuriously fresh feel that didn’t overwhelm the senses with color and texture. Elise delivered: “Her aesthetic incorporates all the warmth and coziness that turns a space into one’s own,” Elsami explains. However, when it comes to developing real aesthetic synthesis with her clients, she doesn’t push her own style too hard. In fact, from colorful spaces with an undeniable bohemian flair to stark black-and-white interiors boasting sharp, clean lines, Elise’s portfolio covers quite a lot of ground. For instance, Zendaya’s home, a testament to her “immaculate personal style,” Elise says, is filled with deep, rich shades and custom furniture, all of which allow the young actor’s expansive art collection to shine.
“I really enjoy how collaborative Brittaney is. We work really well together. I like the process of telling her my ideas and witnessing her transform them into a beautiful reality,” Zendaya explains to AD.
The Euphoria star isn’t the only celebrity singing Elise’s praises. Actor Daniella Monet is helping cement Elise’s status as the go-to designer for young Hollywood. As Monet explains to AD, “working with Brittaney is such a joy. I appreciate the work and attention put into everything she touches when it comes to the details that make a house feel like home. Her eye and knack for sourcing beautiful and unique pieces is unmatched!”
Elise credits her ability to do just about anything when it comes to design to Guirguis, her first client from nearly a decade ago. “At 24 years old, I was presenting him my options and showing him my ideas, and he stopped me and said, ‘I trust you.’ He gave me this creative freedom that I needed, and have taken with me into every project I’ve ever had,” Elise says.
One such project is HomexBe, an online marketplace that offers a curated inventory of globally and locally sourced decor, lighting, and textiles. She officially launched HomexBe right in the nick of time: in spring of 2020 just before the COVID-19 was declared an official pandemic. “These days, people have Pinterest and Instagram, which, in a way, let them be their own interior designer. HomexBe gives these creative people who want to decorate their own homes access to designer picks,” says Elise, who even designs custom furniture and hand-pours eco-conscious candles (which are both done in-house). “These are beautiful pieces I’d put in my clients’ homes, and I’m so happy to share them with people,” Elise suggests.
She may be young, but Brittaney Elise boasts all of the wisdom of a designer and entrepreneur who’s been on the scene for as long as she’s been alive. There’s no telling what she’ll do next, but we have a feeling it will be the home of another A-lister.
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest