The Home Trust International (HTI): What first compelled you to become an Interior Designer?
Anelle Gandelman (AG): I’ve always been attracted to creative fields, but also enjoy client services and the business side of things. Running an Interior Design firm is the perfect left brain meets right brain career. I also thrive on providing tangible value in people’s lives. Creating a beautiful, functional home can have a huge impact on someone’s happiness and lifestyle.
HTI: Who or what has been the strongest influence on your career and why?
AG: My father and my husband have been my biggest cheerleaders, both encouraging me in every endeavor. My father encouraged me to leave South Africa after high school and pursue my dreams, while my husband has supported me through every crazy idea I’ve ever had. I can’t imagine starting A-List Interiors without their encouragement and absolute faith in me.
HTI: If you could have told your 20-year-old self one thing, what would it have been?
AG: To slow down and enjoy those relatively carefree years.
HTI: Please tell us about your family and your personal life.
AG: I was born and raised in South Africa and moved to the US at 17 not knowing exactly what I wanted to do, but that I wanted to live in NY and pursue a creative career. Fast forward a little more than two decades later, I have an office on the Upper East Side, and live in Westchester with my husband, two young boys and a little white dog named Coco.
HTI: What is the best advice you have received and who was it from?
AG: A few years ago I hired a business coach who gave me tons of good advice, but I think the most valuable thing she told me was to avoid comparison. Comparison is the enemy of creativity.
HTI: Is there a common thread that runs through all great products?
AG: Quality and attention to detail.
HTI: Do you prefer the country or the city?
AG: The city, especially Manhattan, London and Paris
HTI: What recent project or transaction are you most proud of?
AG: We recently completed an apartment combination on Fifth Avenue, overlooking Central Park. The project was full of challenges as Manhattan buildings are especially restrictive, but we managed to incorporate all our client’s wish list items and create a breathtaking home for them in the end.
HTI: In what ways has your company or your industry changed over the years?
AG: Our company has become much more tech savvy in recent years. When we first started in 2012, we ran all our projects on spreadsheets, project binders, printed tears sheets and masses of printed paperwork. Today we utilize dropbox and other online project management software daily. Instagram has also become an invaluable tool for connecting with potential clients and staying connected with past clients.
HTI: The one thing I’ve had forever is:
AG: An appreciation for beautifully crafted things, whether that’s furnishings, architecture or even shoes.
HTI: What do you miss the most?
AG: Time to daydream
HTI: What is your favorite object that reflects extraordinary design and why?
AG: I can’t get enough of hand painted wallpaper. Not only does wallpaper add an extra layer of detail to a room, even a simple textured wallpaper can enrich the feeling of a room, but with hand painted wallpaper you are essentially applying original artwork to your walls. I love the artisanal nature of it, and the way it can be customized for individual spaces.
HTI: What makes a room sing?
AG: Original Artwork.
HTI: What place most inspires you?
AG: I have so many favorite places; Paris, Italy and Morocco…I’m inspired by places with a long design tradition and classical influences.
HTI: Please tell us about your taste in music or books.
AG: I’m a fan of music by singer songwriters and I love a harmony. When it comes to books, I like something escapist, like historical fiction, although I have been known to read a business book or two.
HTI: Do you have a favorite museum?
AG: The Isabella Gardner Museum in Boston. The building was designed to emulate a 15th-century Venetian palace so it doesn’t feel like a museum, despite a very impressive collection. I could sit in the central courtyard for hours.
HTI: What is your favorite brand and why?
AG: Chanel – it’s the ultimate luxury brand that is both timeless and trendsetting at the same time.
HTI: When you’re not working where are you most likely to be found?
AG: I live for Travel. If I’m not working I’m most likely off to some exotic locale.
HTI: What makes a great organization?
AG: Customer service, a commitment to excellence, and organized, internal systems. You can be the most talented interior designer in the world, but that means nothing if you can’t execute your vision well.
HTI: Why The Home Trust International?
AG: I was attracted to the philosophy and standards of the Home Trust. There are so many organizations out there who use the word “luxury”, but The Home Trust understands that true luxury is not just about what things cost. Luxury is time, service, quality and the ability to create or experience something that is perfectly tailored to you.
HTI: If you could be granted one wish. What would it be?
AG: Can I wish for more wishes? If not, my wish would be to live life to the fullest and see my children grow up to be happy, kind, successful individuals in their own right.
HTI: If you weren’t in your current field, what would you be doing?
AG: I was tempted to try out for American Idol when I was younger. In an alternate reality, I would have been a professional singer.
HTI: Thank you. Please share some parting words:
AG: Life is too short to worry about what everyone else thinks. We should all aim to be the best version of ourselves and live our best life!