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Meet Heather Giovannelli of Ritual House in Porter Ranch

Today we’d like to introduce you to Heather Giovannelli.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Heather. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I am a native of Los Angeles and a graduate of Interior Design at FIDM in DTLA. I got my start as a Junior Designer for F+ A Architects, a commercial Architecture firm in Pasadena, CA. while I worked hard as a student full time in school.

At F+A Architects, I gained extensive knowledge in large scale projects such as the Mall of the Emirates in Dubai, UAE, and The Agora in Jumeirah Beach, Dubai. However, my heart was always in my love for personal space, comfort, and living well. I soon turned my eye toward Residential Design and quickly launched my career eventually working with high-end Design Firms such as RA Design Group, Commune, Boffi Los Angeles, Hawk & Co, and House Of Honey where I lead large scale Residential and Mixed-Use developments.

Looking back at my body of work, I’d say that RA Design Group was the most influential part of my carrier. This is where I gained my knowledge of the building and construction aspect of Interior Design. In my view, understanding construction is the most important part of being an Interior Designer.

In 2006 I started my own Interior Design firm with a partner. We had a cute little office in Pasadena off of Colorado Blvd. It was pretty amazing and completely crazy that after a few short years of being a Designer, I had my own business. However, the Great Recession had other plans for us. Unfortunately, in 2008 after a couple of years, we had to close our doors and figure out the next steps. It was pretty devastating financially. My partner moved to Pennsylvania and I interned at Commune while working at my boyfriend’s family Italian restaurant to make ends meet. I eventually found a job with Boffi Los Angeles. An Italian Kitchen and Bath Showroom and Design firm. Honestly, I never wanted to work in a showroom, but Boffi was great in terms of building my understanding of millwork and working with high-end clients and celebrities. I ended up spending almost five years with Boffi. I got married and had my son while I was there. So there was a lot of growth within myself and as a Designer at my time with Boffi. It ended up being a lifesaver of a job and for that, I am grateful.

In 2014 the calling for going back to work in a Design firm was strong and I found myself working as a Senior Designer for Hawk & Co. Here I designed extremely large scale residential homes and honed my skill in Interior Architectural Design. The company had some financial issues that led me to eventually work with House of Honey whereas I mentioned became Senior Lead Designer on several large scale residential and commercial mixed-use projects.

After 15 years of being an Interior Designer, and many ups and downs, I took the leap and started my own business, Ritual House Inc. This has been the most rewarding season of my carrier.

Throughout the years, I have designed countless homes, hospitality, and commercial spaces throughout Southern California and St. John, USVI. I am currently working on custom homes in the Virgin Islands and collaborating with Martha Mulholland on several of her residential projects.

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?
It has not been smooth, however, I have never let the negative down moments of my carrier sway my love of Interior Design or my belief in the fact that I have something to offer to this world.

From the Great Recession to working for companies that eventually can’t pay you, and now, this pandemic, I have always found a way to keep going either by learning a new skill that will give me a leg up on the competition, to always keeping positive, and helping other designers on their work if they need someone like me that understands construction and architectural details.

The key is to be indispensable and never be stagnant in learning new tricks of the trade.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Ritual House – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I’ve always felt that Interior Design is not only visual but also the practice of designing for the senses by paying close attention to how the built environment makes you feel and react.

After all these years of having this belief and trying to talk my bosses into invoking more feeling and nature into their design, I’ve finally found my voice and my calling with Ritual House by focusing my business toward Biophilia.

Biophilic Design is a love of life and love of nature. It is the fundamental fact that we as humans seek nature for our overall wellbeing. It is bringing the outside into our homes, offices, and commercial spaces. It is metaphorically (or not) breaking down the walls of our built environment and seamlessly experiencing the ebbs and flows of nature even though you are indoors.

To me Interior Design is more than pillows and drapery, it is the bones of the home, the health of the clients and the walls around them, and how the layout allows them to move throughout the space in a natural more organic manner.

Along with Biophilia, I am known for having a deep understanding of construction. This is how I can effectively communicate and act as a team with Architects, Engineers, and Contractors. Construction is where I get to be the most creative and speak loudest through details and materiality. Interior Design is 90% problem-solving. Understanding construction and architecture gives me the skills and ability to think 20 steps ahead and has proven to be a great asset on projects that require the most meticulous detail and execution.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I am looking forward to implementing more natural, sustainable products in my client’s homes and aligning Ritual House with the Wellness community. Given the state of affairs, I really believe people will start to understand that the spaces we live in, or work in are meant to be a refuge, a sacred space that shields them from the stresses of everyday life. I am excited to help my clients work toward achieving that very essence within their residential or commercial spaces. Keeping that in mind my long-term goal is to have a storefront studio that has both design and wellness combined.

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