Today we’d like to introduce you to Lorell Frysh.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was born and raised in South Africa and lived there until I was 24 years old. I have lived and have traveled extensively in many parts of the world, and moved to the USA in 1981. Through my experiences of many cultural viewpoints, and from my own inner journey, I have developed a deep awareness of the interconnection of all things.
In the late 1980’s, I studied Interior Design at the American College of Applied Arts in Atlanta, Late one evening I was working with a client who called to talk, not about one of the 5 beautiful tiles she had to choose from, but about difficult inter-personal dynamics she was having with both her husband and her builder. We were on the phone for an hour and a half. When I finally put the phone down, it was to realize that if I were to address her needs with any integrity I would have to go back to school.
What followed was a Masters Degree in Transpersonal Psychology from the State University of West Georgia, and a Doctorate in East-West Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, CA. I have lectured at the Denver Design Center in CO and have taught in Sarasota, Austin, Boulder, Denver, Atlanta and South Africa over the past 15 years.
In addition to my academic education and training, I have spent more than thirty-five years exploring and studying the great spiritual, mystical and healing traditions of the world. And learning all about the elements of design from both an Eastern (Feng Shui from China and Vastu Shastra from India) and Western perspective (Sacred Geometry).
It may seem odd but much of my perspective comes from a people who have no houses in the typical way we think of them today at all. I have spent time in the Kalahari Desert with the KoiSan Bushmen, and through them, I have learned a great deal about those ancient memories of home buried in my own psyche. I learned a lot about what it means to be truly “at one” with one’s self, and one’s environment. The Bushmen’s way of living epitomizes love, harmony and beauty!
Aside from the occasional grass lean-to, seldom made and even more seldom used, the Koisan Bushmen actually live outside. They survive the harsh elements of the Kalahari Desert with a joyful natural flow that is nothing short of admirable. While I was there I saw their amazing communion with all of nature – with the flora, the fauna, and their fellow human beings. Life for the Bushmen is joyous despite the lack of anything we would think of as comfort.
Life for these nomadic desert dwellers means moving with what the earth and the universe provides. They are a community that value co-operation, sharing, caring, simplicity, laughter, an essential creativity and a powerful resilience. Because their lives depend on it, they know what is important; and they live what is important. It was an amazing reminder of the many essential things we forget in our busy 21st Century modern life.
Now, what has this all to do with our homes? On the surface, not much. But it has everything to do with being at home in the sacred heart of the world. I learned a lot from people who own nothing, what it means to have everything. I learned from them and from others like them who live from a deep heart space how to create that sacred heart in ourselves and how to create that sacred heart in our homes.
Great Design, I know, is about much more than color, pattern and style. It’s also about expressing our dreams, about comfort as well as being comforted, about a sense of refuge, a place for inspiration and a place for the unique way we inhabit the world.
Today, I continue to embrace working with people who want to deeply enrich their daily experience. And I am writing a book on how to turn a house into a wonderful home!
Integral Design Consultant – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I have a unique combination of skills ~ I have Ph.D. in East-West Psychology and am Interior Architect and Designer. I work with private individuals, as well as architects, builders, designers, realtors and corporations in all facets of the design process.
Depending on the needs of the client, I may be involved in the initial consultation to hone in on and clarify what reflects and expresses their unique vision and dreams. Or I may work as a facilitator during the design/build process. Or I may work on the design from start to finish.
The results have been heart-warming and amazing and have ended up with very happy clients in beautiful spaces. As one client put it, because she really “saw me”, Dr. Frysh helped to create “a happiness that I call home!”
Could you give us an example of your work?
Well of course every client and every story is different but here is one example. I will usually help with their whole space but my clients, Michael and Jill only wanted help with one of the most important rooms in their house – their master bedroom. They had not been sleeping well and knew that changes were needed.
Master bedrooms differ from other rooms. They are the intimate heart of the household, the retreats that replenish our bodies and souls, the temples that honor our love. As such, they need to be beautiful containers if they are to that support our rest and our primary relationships.
I also reminded them to be aware that because we spend one third of our lives in bed, the energy of the Master Bedroom needed to be inviting, calming and wonderful. It needed to reflect both of their personalities as well as reflecting their combined energy. By creating their bedroom with awareness together, they had chosen to make an important statement to each other. A conscious effort to honor each other’s taste and needs as a testimony to their commitment to each other.
I explained that the process of designing their bedroom together would deepen their understanding and appreciation of each other and nurture them on many dimensions. They were up for the adventure! We started by having them think about the essence of what they would like to express in their space. Should it be luxurious, playful, sensual, simple, elegant, traditional, contemporary, cozy and womb-like, or open and Zen like? What were their favorite colors? What did these colors mean to them and why? What textures did they like? What was it about those textures that they loved? They were surprised at how similar their taste was. They both wanted a bedroom that felt sumptuous, luxurious and somewhat exotic.
And then there were the practical matters. Did they have specific requirements about the type of mattress, the size of the bed, reading lamps, the number of blankets, the type of comforter, the texture of the sheets? Was green design a priority? Did either of them have allergies to feathers or dust mites? Did they have back problems that need to address? Did they read in bed and need lighting for that? What intensity of light did they need? Did they need drawers in their night stands? What were their clothing storage needs?
Using the principles of Feng Shui and tuning in to the vibrations of the room, we paid attention to the energy of the space, allowing the room to indicate where the furniture should be placed. I explained that designing a room is like composing space. Just as music requires silence between the notes, making sure that the eye has resting places is imperative. We also used the ancient Indian art called Vastu Shastra which understands the energetic placement of the room itself, as well as the furniture in it. According to Vastu, the ideal placement for the bedroom should be on the South west corner of the house and the ideal placement of the bed has the headboard on the South wall. This is because that is where the earth energy is most strong and it helps ground the relationship. The only place for their bed was not in the ideal spot. So I made sure to honor the earth energy and ground it with a wooden headboard the color choices that referenced to nature in the space.
Because Master bedrooms are in fact sanctuaries, I taught them the importance of honoring boundaries. These include acknowledging the entry to the bedroom. Doors, I told them, are thresholds that invite a shift of consciousness. Each time you step through a doorway it is a highly symbolic act. You’re demonstrating a willingness to shift your energy. When you step into your master bedroom it’s important to release the tensions and impressions of the outside world. There are many ways to honor that shift by emphasizing the doorway with molding, paint colors, or by creating a defined archway. They chose to use double doors that clearly marked the entrance to their sacred space.
A well-defined central focus point also makes people feel safe. In a bedroom the bed is a natural focal point. Beds should be opposite the doorway if possible and not directly in front of a window. A solid wall behind the headboard will provide grounding and support whereas a window allows the energy to leak out, and energy from outside to invade the sanctity of the room and the relationship. The headboard also represents stability and support. Beds made of natural materials such as wood, bamboo or cane also bring in the grounded energy of nature. If their bed was made of metal I would have suggested softening it with fabrics such as soft cottons, floaty gauzes or rich velvets. Their choice of a beautiful wooden screen from India craved with intricate foliage answered their desire for a both grounding and an exotic-looking headboard.
Michael and Jill wanted sheets that breathe best to sleep on, and we found lovely cream-colored organic cotton ones. They found a beautiful silk throw for across the bottom of their bed and some lovely silk cushions to create a luxurious look. A beautiful soft-colored silk oriental rug completed the look.
And they were very conscious to adhere to the Feng Shui don’ts! No mirrors in the room because they are too stimulating for the calm relaxing energy required for a good night’s sleep.
Because TVs, radios, stereo equipment, electric blankets, cell phones, ipads and electric clocks all radiate electromagnetic energy that is detrimental to health, fertility and serenity, these were delegated to other rooms. They agreed that sleep is a time for deep integration and healing. And because bad impressions can have a negative impact on the psyche, they committed to reading matter that would be relaxing and conducive to a good night’s sleep. They also importantly committed to never go to bed angry, and always make up and make peace before they went to sleep!
Because Michael and Jill really approached their bedroom design with beauty, joy and reverence, they love their special space.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Of course, there have been a few times over the years when I have had difficult clients.
But the nature of my training means that I can be present to their issues and gentle with myself and them through the process.
One client comes to mind. She was a very difficult, argumentative, demanding design client who changed her mind about what she wanted many times a day. As I was doing extensive renovations to her home it was certainly a long process that required me to breathe a lot, stay calm and just carry on!
As a Psychologist, I soon realized that she had a Borderline Personality Disorder. She had not engaged me as a therapist, and I did not want to take that role. What I did instead, was realize that she needed strong boundaries in order to feel safe. So I beefed up the moldings around the doorways, the floors and at the ceilings.
I also painted rooms in different yet complimentary colors and made sure each room had its own defined personality. It was a large house and the lack of her own inner boundaries meant she was definitely not a client for an open plan house. But she liked modern design and I had to be skillful and subtle about creating boundaries for her.
What she ended up with was a home she loved, felt safe in, and really felt was her refuge, so despite the struggle, it ended up a happy story.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I’m always proud and delighted when I see my clients embrace their essence and choose to live with integrity and heart. And I am honored when I can help them create a space and a life that truly represents the best in them.
- The initial consultation is $200.00 an hour.
- Website: www.Integraldesignconsultant.com
- Phone: (303) 330-6453
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: Lorell Frysh Author
- Other: www.lorellfrysh.com