There’s not a single person that we know whose life hasn’t been affected—or even upended—by COVID-19 pandemic. But we keep wondering: What are some of our favorite designers doing while sheltering-in-place, quarantined or staying appropriately socially distant? Between rounds of washing our hands, we reached out with some questions.
Ryan Saghian found his calling as an interior designer at just 15, launching his own design firm the same year he could legally drink. With that kind of early trajectory, perhaps it's no surprise that the L.A. native’s rise stardom has been fast-tracked from the beginning: to date, he’s the youngest designer ever named the Interior Designer of the Year by the City of Los Angeles, has competed on Bravo’s Best Room Wins and already boasts signature furniture, wallpaper and tabletop collections. The millennial designer even has his own scent (a true sign of making it as a celebrity), a candle created in collaboration with Scented Treasures, that’s wrapped in his Lucerne wallpaper design. Oh, and along the way he’s completed plenty of notable interiors in the striking black, white and gold palette he loves, racking up more than 111K fans on Instagram who adore his aesthetic...and his #nofilter commentary.
We caught up with the designer through an Instagram live chat, as he—like everyone in California—is currently sheltering-in-place and working from home. If you missed the live conversation, check it out captured in full below. Chatting with design writer Kelly Phillips Badal, Saghian not only tours us through his West Hollywood home, he talks about what he misses most about the days before the onset of COVID-19, his new appreciation for his mom, his muse and how he’s handling his workload while quarantined. We’ve broken out a few key thoughts from the conversation below (slightly edited for clarity).
Snyder Diamond: How are you handling working from home while staying creative?
Ryan Saghian: The first few days I would sleep in, I didn’t know how to navigate this whole thing. I used to wake up at 6:30, now it’s more like 8:30 or 9am. I do pushups in my backyard, I drink coffee and I’m just on my computer, FaceTiming with everyone in the office, getting everything going. When I’m designing I have two different phases, construction phase and furniture phase. All of my construction projects are going, and thank god for those because I’m busy. Everything else is paused. I’m at six construction and seven furnishing projects, so 14 projects total—and 7 of them have been halted.
I’m creating a lighting collection, so I’ve been sitting here sketching lighting designs. I’m creating a rug collection, so I’ve been sitting here sketching new rug designs. Anytime something hard has happened in my life, I’ve buried myself in my work. It's been my salvation and my savior, it’s what’s given me purpose...and kept me distracted.
SD: What are you feeling grateful for right now?
RS: My house was always filled with friends, parties, there were always people here, I’ve never had alone time. Now I’m feeling things that I may have covered up with work or my social life. Everything in life is connected, every single thing is connected. I think this is the universe trying to snap everybody back to consciousness—like, we have no idea what’s really important.
I’m feeling a lot more authentic to myself. I think of myself as a grounded person, but I find myself completely driven by my ego. Right now, there’s no ego here, there’s no judgment here, there’s nobody to say anything here, the only other person here is me. It's just me and me, there’s nobody else. And it’s just beautiful. I don’t have to worry about wearing the right outfit, I’m appreciating the fact that my mom lives so close that I’m seeing her everyday, she’s been bringing me lunch daily. I’ve gotten closer with my sister, who also lives in L.A.
I personally love this time. I mean, I miss getting dressed up, I miss going to bars. The only bad thing is that my boyfriend won’t come over! But those who are spiritual and connected are really going to appreciate this time as reflection.