Today we’d like to introduce you to Cheryl Davidson.
Cheryl, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Well let’s see… I was always designing you might say…since I was a little girl. I would paint my room different colors, rearrange furniture, do various art projects. And I always thought about being a designer but I thought that’s what bored Encino housewives did so I went to a top college, picked up a few master’s degrees along the way and worked my way up the corporate ladder…all the while doing design on the side for family and friends. Small projects like fabric and furnishings, color selection and space planning.
Fast forward to when my kids were quite small…4 1/2 and almost two, I retired from tall buildings and took the leap to begin building a design practice while running another small creative business on the side. I decided to take a historical architecture class at UCLA for some background and one thing led to another and I found myself enrolled in the Masters in Interior Architecture and Design program at UCLA. Going for a third master’s degree was not what I had envisioned with two businesses, two dogs, two homes and two kids. Thank goodness only one husband!
Today, after 20 years this summer, Elle Ryan Design has been creating homes, gardens and offices all over Southern California and beyond and it’s been a great ride! I have had the pleasure of helping my clients build beautiful homes, establish home and professional offices to run their businesses and practices and tend to the earth in their gardens so that they can extend the enjoyment of their homes beyond their four walls and into nature! It’s always a challenge but that’s the exciting part of my work. If it was always easy, it wouldn’t be nearly as stimulating each day. I love what I do and I make people happy in their homes and at work…. What more could I ask for?
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
In my line of work, many days feel as though it is ten steps ahead and two steps back. Whenever you need to rely on others to get something done, that’s going to happen. Materials are delayed, workers get sick, trucks break down, items don’t make it through customs. And that’s just in the first hour of any given day!
Just like in any part of life, you can plan as much as you want but at the end of the day, you have to have contingencies in place for things to go wrong and Plan B to rear its inevitable head. I try as best I can to roll with these waves and have my various teams do the same. We build in time on our schedules for these variances and make sure our clients are aware from the beginning that nothing takes just “five minutes.” It’s annoying for sure but part of the deal in the construction/design world.
Also, working for myself and just setting up my practice, building relationships with suppliers, building clientele, learning how to do social media when you’re not a teenager/twenty something…. All of those things all come with challenges while maintaining your own life at the same time!
We’d love to hear more about your business.
My business is Elle Ryan Design, a full service Interior Design firm that specializes in residential homes and gardens as well as commercial spaces such as professional offices. I suspect I am most known for my ability to reuse, repurpose and redirect components of people’s lives into new design elements in their spaces. I really don’t like to get rid of something that can be used again even if it has to be altered or redressed. If it has sentimental value or has great bones, it should stay!
I also do a really great job of creating a “Bloomingdales look on a Macy’s budget” for those clients that need that kind of fiscal focus. I design very much outside the box so my projects are quite eclectic and don’t resemble one another. I don’t have a definite style per se…. I really learn about my client’s taste and needs and work from that point forward. If they don’t have a style or taste and the palette is clean, then the approach changes.
I charge my clients by the hour and help them learn to make decisions timely. I get done in an hour what many people get done in a day so I’m pretty great value for the money! I like to watch my projects unfold and bring in components as we go along as opposed to having every little detail mapped out from the beginning. It allows for more flexibility and helps my clients to appreciate the reveal that much better.
I make the process fun and enjoyable…it doesn’t have to be a miserable experience just because you’re kicked out of your kitchen bedroom and bathroom for several months! C’mon…change can be an adventure!
What were you like growing up?
Curious, always asking questions… I believe I mastered the use of WHY! I liked many many things… I had lots of hobbies particularly arts and crafts and played sports. I played competitive tennis and was on the team in high school and college (Division III).
I was a leader, Class President, social, had lots of friends, babysat, loved all my little cousins, was a good daughter and sister, loved being with my family and hanging out with my friends. I had a full and fun upbringing.
- Address: 14011 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA
- Website: elleryandesign.com
- Phone: 818.986.0209
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: elleryandesign
- Facebook: Elle Ryan Design
Talia Myers Photography