Your physical environment can have an impact on you feel and how you show up in your business.
In today’s episode, I chat with Interior Designer, Donna Guyler, about how design affects your emotions and how you can create a beautiful home with any budget.
In this Episode:
05.26: The styling journey: how Donna worked with Clare’s home
08.00: Tips for styling your environment without the big budget
11.15: The power of design to evoke different emotions in your environment
15.06: Dealing with fears of investing in your physical environment
19.42: Dealing with mindset blocks and feelings of unworthiness when working with a designer
Armed with an almond milk flat white and a fierce commitment to great design, the majority of my professional time is spent designing for our existing ongoing Clients.
Throughout the year, I take on a limited number of Design Projects, and specialise in Full Service Interior Design for medium to large scale Renovation Projects.
In short, I re-connect people with their homes in ways they never thought possible, add serious value and make it look next-level great.
My talented Team and I have designed homes for clients locally, nationally and internationally — we regularly work with ridiculously awesome clients like you .. the ones ready to realise their dream and see a return on their investment.
Today, I am chatting to stylist, Donna Guyler, about the impact that your physical environment can have on how you feel and how you show up in your business. And she also shares some handy hacks about how you can create a beautiful home, even if you aren’t at the stage to invest in interior design yet. Let’s dive in.
Hello and welcome to The Clare Wood Podcast, where myself and incredible guests share about money mindset, financial successes, and how to manage your money in a fun and practical way to create wealth and abundance in both your business and your life. I’m your host, Clare Wood. I’m a business coach and a money mentor. I strongly believe that money has the power to positively change the world. I can’t wait to help you transform your mindset around money, create a love of numbers and build the business of your dreams so you can live a life of financial freedom, giving and global impact.
A big, warm welcome to the podcast, Donna Guyler. Donna, for those listeners who don’t know who you are, could you please introduce yourself and your business?
Sure. Hi Clare. Thanks so much for having me on today. My name is Donna Guyler. I’m an interior designer. I run a boutique interior design studio based on the Gold Coast, and we work with clients all over the country on residential renovation projects, where we just sort of add value to their homes and their lives.
Well, I’m really excited to have you here because I hired you as my interior designer, which sounds very high-end and probably something that even just a few years ago, I can’t imagine I would ever have invested in. But I wanted to bring you on today to share a little bit about my journey, why I decided to invest in this space, and also so that you can share a little bit about the impact that someone’s physical environment has on how they feel and how they show up. So Donna, you and I have known each other for many years now. I actually worked with you as a coach, I did one session with you as a coach, and I immediately fell in love with not only your sense of style and the beautiful homes that you create, but also with you as a person, because you are just so lovely, down to earth. And I had a vision from when we very first met each other that I wanted to work with you one day.
Well, how it all came to a crux, I had actually lost my voice. And you can imagine as a coach, losing your voice is a big deal. And I had no voice for 10 days and I was working with my coach at the time. And she said to me, journal out, there’s somewhere you’re not speaking your truth. And I was like, what does she mean? Like, I’m a pretty truthful person. I don’t even know what that means, but apparently when you lose your voice, it’s a sign that you’re not speaking your truth in a particular area. So I kept journaling and journaling and nothing was coming up.
And then one day, all of these words just came pouring out and it was like, I hate my home. I feel so uninspired here. Every space that I’m in doesn’t light me up. And what essentially came to me was that I needed to change my environment around me. And that was when I reached out to you. And I reached out and said, “Hi Donna. I’m ready to update my home.” And I actually said to you at the time, “Can you recommend another stylist?” Do you want to share with the listeners what your reply to that was?
Well, having worked with you, I guess I knew that you knew that my schedule is always jam packed. So I guess I was prepared for the question, but you know what? To be honest Clare, we wanted to work with you. Obviously I’d worked with you in the past and just on that note, it was extremely beneficial working with you. I got so much out of our session, but yes, of course I wanted to work with you. So even though we do have a jam packed schedule, we certainly wanted to find a space to be able to work with you and I’m so glad that we did.
It’s been so interesting, this whole journey, as a mindset expert, observing all the mindset stuff that came up for me because when I reached out to you, I thought Donna’s not going to want to work with me. She works with all of these beautiful multimillion dollar homes. And I guess I had this sense of a lack of unworthiness to be working with you. And I was also really fearful, I guess, that I wouldn’t be able to afford the investment. And when you said that you would make space to fit me in your schedule, I was just beside myself. I was so excited. So maybe if you could share from the beginning a little bit about the journey of styling my home, like what you thought when you first came here, what some of the opportunities that you saw were for my home?
The styling journey: how Donna worked with Clare’s home
Sure. Well, I guess I can start by saying we take on projects of all different scales and all different sizes. And good design is not necessarily about square meterage or the size of the home or, or even the size of the budget. I mean, obviously it is an investment, but good design is really about exploring what you’re looking to achieve from your home and really working closely with you to achieve that. So in your case Clare, obviously I came to meet you and Shannon for the initial consultation. I could definitely sense some apprehension, some trepidation there which is not unusual. You’re about to embark on a long process. It is an investment. It is a leap of faith hiring an interior designer. And I remember you saying to me, that right from the get-go that you were not naturally a visual person which is very normal as well. So you were about to embark on a journey that is very visual. And I guess that’s how we communicated all of our ideas and our concepts and our thoughts to you.
So I could certainly sense that that apprehension from you, but we worked through the process together and we got beautiful results in the end, which we’re very proud of. And I know that you love your home and the fact that you and Shannon love your home and love the results is just yeah, everything to us. And the reason why we do what we do.
Yeah. I still remember the photos that we had taken on the day. We’ll have to create like a story portal on Instagram or something so that the listeners can go and check out some of the before and afters. But I still remember I walked into the room and I literally, I burst into tears, didn’t I?
I was just blown away by how beautiful the place looked. One of the things that I want to talk to you about today is the impact that someone’s environment has on how they feel. But before we dive into that, I guess I just want to talk about a bit of an elephant in the room, which is that I’m very blessed at this point in my life to have been able to work with an incredible interior designer like yourself. But a lot of people probably might not be at the stage where they are able to afford to work with an expert such as yourself. What are some tips that you’ve got for those people?
Tips for styling your environment without the big budget
Yeah, it’s a great question. And there’s lots that you can do as a homeowner to refresh your home. I guess the most important question, which is really at the core of interior design, is that you can ask yourself as a homeowner wanting to elevate your home or your office even is, what do you really need from that space? What is it that your home is not delivering to you? What is not working about your home? What do you need from your space? Because interior design at play, it goes so much further than having a beautiful sofa with lots of lovely scatter cushions and beautiful furniture pieces. It’s very much about diving deep into the purpose of your home, how you live in your home, how you want to live in your home, how you want to use that space. And then really customizing that space beyond just a functional kitchen or the basic furniture requirements. It’s really about creating an experience for yourself within that home, within your home, commensurate to what it is you need from your environment.
So it’s been interesting during this time of the pandemic, we’re retreating to our homes more than ever, our homes are no longer just our homes. They’re now our homes, our offices, a gym, a classroom. So I guess it’s really, yeah, it’s understanding what you need from your home and then customizing it to suit. So if your home is feeling cluttered, it’s about decluttering. If your home is feeling sparse and you want more warmth and depth and security, perhaps, well, maybe it’s about getting rid of the old furniture and introducing the new furniture. Planning is key. So think about what you really need from your home, make a plan and then execute from there.
Yeah. I love that. And I think it was really important to have that conversation, because like I said, I’m feeling extremely blessed to have had the opportunity to work with you, but I do realize that a lot of people don’t have that opportunity. One thing that I do want to add to that. If it’s something that you do dream of, if you would love to, whether it’s buying a new home or refreshing your new home or fitting out your place with all beautiful new furniture, work out what it is that you desire and allow yourself to feel that desire, put it on the vision board, like I did. And even if it seems like something that might be a long way away, when you create an intention, set the intention with the universe and say, this is something that I desire, this is something that I want. That is the very first step in starting to bring it into your own reality.
So just a tidbit, but let’s get back to what we were talking about in the episode, which is about the impact that your environment has on you. So I had my big aha when I was journaling, but I imagine that lots of people have moments where they have their big aha moment when I realized that our environment is affecting how they feel. So what are some of the ways that your home can make you feel?
The power of design to evoke different emotions in your environment
Oh my goodness Clare. There’s so many ways. And the interesting thing about interior design, I guess, is that the outcome of good design almost underplays their thought process and the planning and the execution of the process that actually goes into achieving that seamless outcome, if that makes any sense. So interior design, good design, I guess in terms of achieving good design is it’s really about working with an existing space, applying the elements of design and natural light, proportion, scale, repetition. I guess that’s the practicalities of design, but what it can really do is evoke deep emotions in us. And sometimes there’s, I guess that connection is sometimes not lost, but perhaps, you can’t actually register the connection between how you’re feeling in a particular space and the fact that it’s interior design at play. So when we’re working with our clients as we did with you Clare, it’s really about understanding yeah, what our clients need from that space. And then delivering a concept and a design that is really going to tune into that need and evoke that emotion that they need. And it’s all different things. It can be creating sort of warmth and security and safety, as I mentioned before. Or it could be about increasing productivity and inspiring confidence and energy in a home office space or even an office scenario. Or it could be about just creating solitude and calm.
So really for us, we really try to understand and to determine what our clients need from their homes. And then that is the core of any concept that we put together. So as I said, it goes far beyond the selection of furniture and fittings and decorative items. It’s really about the layout of your home, creating flow and ease, spaces that are conducive to the outcome, whether or not it’s going to be a space for entertaining or just a space for family gatherings. Good design really has the power to really evoke those emotions.
Oh, I totally agree with all of that. And I guess that’s the reason that I decided to make the investment is because I felt like my home wasn’t my home if that makes sense. I used to be embarrassed to invite people over. I didn’t want to record videos in certain spaces in my house because there was just, there was never nice background. And so I was finding that I wasn’t wanting to show up in videos, in my social media, because I didn’t want to show the space. And now having a really beautiful home that I am so proud of, it literally makes me smile when I walk into a room, it makes me feel comfortable, it makes me feel proud of my space, it makes me feel inspired as well.
So there are so many emotions that beautiful design can evoke in emotions. I wanted to talk a little bit about my money mindset journey along the way, and I’d be really curious to know as well, if it’s something that other clients of yours experience. I imagine that I probably, am not in as strong a financial position as a lot of your clients, but I’d love to know is the feeling, the fear of the investment, something that a lot of people experience when they go to make a large investment in their home or their physical environment?
Dealing with fears of investing in your physical environment
We work with such a broad spectrum of clients, which we love because every project that we take on presents a different challenge. As I mentioned before, our projects vary greatly in scale and budget and investment and timeline. But certainly for us, we have a process and we apply that process to every project regardless of the square meterage or the budget. And that process is really to achieve the design brief and really specifically achieve the outcome that our clients are looking to achieve. Obviously some projects require a larger investment than others. And yes, it’s not unusual for our clients to be looking for reassurance that the investment in the process is going to justify the outcome. And of course that is very normal. It makes commercial sense. Any investment requires thought and consideration, and a level of commitment and knowing that that investment is going to reap results. So yes, we do work with our clients closely to, I guess, reassure them that it is definitely a worthwhile process relevant to their objective.
For example, sometimes clients will come to us and they’ll be looking to perhaps ready their home for sale. So I guess their commitment to that investment is sort of financially driven. So they’re looking to get an immediate return on that financial investment, they’re looking to get [inaudible 00:17:06] capital gain. So, I guess the results are then measured by the financial gain at the end of that project. So I guess in a sense, it’s easy to measure those results. Whereas clients like yourself who come to us that are looking for an intangible outcome where we can’t necessarily measure the gain via the numbers, that can be a much more challenging investment. So we really work with our clients to, visually, we put concepts together, we put design schemes together, we document everything along the way. We present everything as clearly and with as much clarity as we possibly can. But it’s, yeah, certainly it’s always about providing our clients with a level of comfort that this investment in the process all the way along is absolutely going to achieve the outcomes that they’re looking to achieve.
Yeah, no, I love that. And I definitely noticed myself along the way, a couple of my mindset challenges that popped up. Firstly, I guess I’ve never been someone to invest in material possessions. I spend so much money on travel and experiences, but I certainly don’t spend much money on clothes or I’ve never really spent any money on my environment. And I wasn’t even really sure on the price of a lot of things, but I know that for example, some of the cushions, I was like $200 for a cushion. I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I said Donna, can’t we just like go to Kmart and get some cheaper ones. And I loved that you hold me to account. You said, “No Clare, this is why you’ve chosen to create a really beautiful, high-end environment. Like you do need to invest in quality products.”
And the other big mindset block that came up for me was I really struggled with the worthiness. And again, I don’t know if this is something that you’re able to comment on or not Donna, but I think for me, I grew up in a very humble beginnings and for me to be hiring a stylist and to be buying all of these beautiful things just felt so, I felt really unworthy of it.
Yeah. I am really privileged. We’re so privileged to live in the country that we do. And also I acknowledge that I’m incredibly blessed to be in the position that I am, but it did feel like a real sense of privilege. So I’d love to know any thoughts that you have about that and about that sense of worthiness.
Dealing with mindset blocks and feelings of unworthiness when working with a designer
Yeah. It’s so funny, both sides of the fence. So for me as a designer, design is essential in everybody’s life. We look at it as a necessity more so than a luxury. And I would encourage everybody to explore the opportunity of good design in their life. I guess on the question of worthiness, I agree. I think it is a mindset game. Perhaps there is a perception that interior design is a luxury, working with an interior designer is a luxury. And we work hard and I love to try to change that perception. And I guess for us, it’s around value and the value that working with an interior designer, a good interior designer can really bring to your life and value means different things to different people. It’s not always about getting a financial return on your investment. It’s often about changing the way that you feel, the way that you behave in your home, how you feel about your home.
You have said to me also that us working together to up-level your home has really instilled a sense of confidence and pride in you. You love inviting people around now, whereas you didn’t want to do that before. So you can’t really put a value on that. That feeling is incredible. And for us, we just want everyone to feel that way. And we love going through that process. It is a very detailed process for us behind the scenes, it is a very detailed process. We dive deep into that process to really add that value. And I guess, yeah, I think it is accessible and it is achievable for everybody provided, I guess the mindset is that you understand, or that you’re open to how important good design is in your life.
Yeah, and I really feel that a lot of the work that I’ve been doing around worthiness, around the desire to have nice things, the desire to create an amazing and beautiful and luxurious life is okay, and that I am worthy of it. And a big way that I justify it to myself is that it’s almost that filling your own cup up first. And I know that when I feel happy and inspired, that that shows up to my audience, and it’s almost like this beautiful ripple effect that spreads across the planet when then the people who follow me on my social media or my clients can sense that, and they want to create more amazing things.
And when they are creating amazing results in their business, they in turn are making more money, they have opportunities to inspire other people to give to causes that they care about, to show up for their family and friends in a more powerful way. And I think that that’s one of the things, the ways that I justify seemingly luxury investments and how I really do the work on my sense of self-worth is reminding myself that when my life vest is on first, when my cup is full, it’s overflowing and there’s more to share with other people.
And can I just say on that note Clare. When I walk into your beautiful home now, it feels very much aligned with you and with Shannon. And I remember the first time I came into your home and I won’t cast judgment. We never cast judgment because we’re going to lots of different homes and lots of different circumstances. But I just know now that all of the work that we did together to achieve, which you now have in your home, it feels aligned with you. So when I come in, your home is now a reflection of you and Shannon, and it feels curated. It feels that you can see the evidence of the investment here. Yeah. It just aligns with you and Shannon now. And I can see that sense of pride in your both.
It’s so funny, you’re being so sweet Donna and talking to. I want to give the listeners a bit of context about what our home is like before you came here. So we were sleeping on a bed that, gosh, it must’ve been at least 15 years old. We didn’t have bedside tables. And I actually did a house tour of my home. And if you’re listening and want to go and check it out, it’s on my IGTV, on my Instagram at @Clare_Wood_Coach. And I posted a story, which was a walk around with my home. And one of my clients at the time messaged me and she said, “You look like you leave in a student flat.” And she wasn’t being nasty. It kind of did look a bit like that. We’d never really … I know that our coffee table, we’d found on the side of a road when people are giving it away, we picked it up and brought it in. We had bought a really cheap sofa intentionally because we had young babies and were getting vomit and poo and all kinds of things on the couch. So we deliberately, just chosen a cheaper option.
The fridge was 20 years old. Like a lot of the stuff that we had in our home was just really dated. A lot of it, really worn or second hand. And we’d just never really invested in having nice things around us. And I’d never really realized what an impact that was having on me until that moment when I was journaling that day. And I was like, whoa, there’s some deep seated resentment towards my physical environment going on here. And I was definitely finding that as I’m elevating in my business, as I’m creating a more amazing life, that this home was really not a reflection of who we are and who we’re becoming. So yes, it’s been an investment, but oh my gosh, it’s been one of the most worthwhile investments that I’ve made. It’s honestly been such an honor working with you Donna. And I’m really, really proud of the beautiful home that we’ve created. So thank you so, so much.
If people are loving listening to you and they want to come and keep an eye on your beautiful work, where can they find you?
Thank you Clare. Yes. You can find us online at donnaguyler.com. We are on Instagram at @DonnaGuylerDesign, and we have recently just released a webisode series. You can check that out on our IGTV.
Amazing. Well, Donna, thank you so much for coming on and sharing a little bit about the design process today. Thank you for helping us create a beautiful home, and I appreciate your time today.
Thank you Clare. It was a pleasure to work with you on your project and today, thank you for having me.
Thanks so much for listening. If you loved this episode, please share it with your audience. And don’t forget to tag me on Instagram at @Clare_Wood_Coach. And also make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss an episode. Have an abundant week. And I look forward to talking to you again next week.