Dizzy Dwellings: Dani Dazey’s Modern Maximalism

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Dani Dazey, along with Drag Queen Trixie Mattell, designed the palatially pink Trixie Motel in Palm Springs; the whole process was delightfully documented on a recent reality TV series. Dazey is the reigning empress of colorful maximalism—the antidote to boring beige interiors. Everything she touches boldly explodes with color, a pure expression of her incomparable effervescence.

Kristin Farr: What were some early environments that influenced you?

Dani Dazey: My mom is from Palm Springs, born and raised, and came from a very creative family, so I was exposed to California design at a young age. I grew up surrounded by art and color—we literally had a raspberry-colored kitchen. My grandmother was an amazing artist and used the most vivid palettes when painting. She was a huge inspiration to me, and I have her art hanging in my homes to this day.

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For you, has there been anything better than mid-century modern in terms of design and color? 

I personally love all styles of bold design, but this is a special one for sure! It was such a great era because people were investing in creating beautiful spaces and things, but also not taking it too seriously and having fun with it. I’m actually most excited for design right now and where it’s going! People are starting to reject the notion that your space needs to stay neutral for the next inhabitant and are finally making it their own again. I just know it’s going to be a big time of self expression and mixing of all design aesthetics.

What are some of your own favorite contemporary twists on vintage style?

New takes on past design styles are my favorite thing. Feeling familiar yet fresh creates this cool mix of novelty and nostalgia. Right now, I’ve been super into what I like to call “traditional with a twist.” There’s a huge resurgence of decadent and ornate design reminiscent of the Arts and Crafts movement. Designers are bringing back detailed wallpaper and moulding, but with bold, funky colors and paired with more modern, abstract pieces. Even in my textile designs, I’ve been exploring classic motifs like scalloping, checkers, and florals, but with a funky and freeform look. 

How do you power clash successfully?

A power clash is all about color! There needs to be an established color scheme that brings the prints together and makes them make sense. I also like to have a primary and secondary print. The primary print is the main character and much more detailed, and then you pair it with a more simple companion. This helps them to not compete, but instead work together. And you can keep introducing new prints with things like curtains, rugs, and accents to see what works. The more prints you can make work in a room, the more they tend to neutralize the others. It seems contradictory, but it’s true!

What does maximalism mean to you, and do you feel uncomfortable in minimalist spaces?

Maximalism is a celebration of self and self-expression. It’s all about curating things you love that make you happy. The same way you get dressed to show the outside world what you’re all about is the same with building your home. There’s so many people who love color but are afraid to incorporate it into their homes. It makes me more sad than anything to see people live in such bleak and lifeless spaces.

Tell me about everything you do beyond your prolific interior design projects, like fashion, wallpaper and design… even your recent wedding was an iconic design event. 

Creatives are naturally curious and often have their hands in a lot of different mediums. I paint and also design textiles, fashion, furniture, products, and, of course, interiors. My main background is in fashion and print design, and I took that knowledge of print and color and applied it to interiors. 

I have a big love for design and want to design literally anything that I can. I have my own product and licensing brand, Dazey LA. It started off as my art-based clothing line and has been shifting more into interior goods. The opportunity to design the Trixie Motel has opened a lot of doors, and I’m super excited to see where else it takes me. Maximalism is a lifestyle, and I truly live it every day, down to my print and color-themed wedding!

How did you get so meticulous about detail?

I’ve always had an eye for detail when it comes to design. Detail is the difference between good and great!

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Tell me about your involvement with 2024’s Pantone Color of the Year announcement.

As a longtime designer, I know the weight that Pantone holds, and especially the Color of the Year. When I was asked to be involved in the launch, I was so excited, I knew my younger designer self would have simply died! It was so cool going to the launch party in NYC and seeing my designs and name on the walls amidst all the top color experts. I just launched my first wallpaper collection with Spoonflower, and it’s been amazing to start seeing it up and people loving it!

What’s coming up next?

I’m working on an amazing lake house project with the most wonderful client, Alex Miley. It’s going to be my largest and most colorful property yet! We should be finishing this spring, and I’m dying to share. There will be some fun product launches as always, and I’m excited to grow my offerings in the home decor and furniture space. I’m also getting started on writing my first design book, slated to launch in 2025!

What’s a dream project for you?

One of my favorite things about what I do is sharing design with others, whether it’s them experiencing my design in person and it bringing them joy or being inspired by what they see me share online. My ultimate dream would be to have a TV show all about maximalism and spread the gospel of self-expression and color! Really drive home how empowering and joy inducing design can be.

I’d be a fan! You were a natural on the Trixie Motel show. Tell me more about that project and the favorite room you designed.

My favorite room is the Flower Power room because it was so fun to design. It felt like my dream ’90s gal bedroom brought to life. Being able to design everything myself, from the wallpaper to the printed tile to even the bed, was so special. The whole project was such a designer’s dream to really go wild and not hold back at all. Having such an amazing collaborator as Trixie Mattel was so special, and our playful retro aesthetics are so well-aligned. Plus, it all being filmed and made into a funny, inspiring, heartwarming TV show? It was like a life goal I couldn’t ever have dreamt just fell into my lap!

How do you describe Dopamine Decor?

My personal take on it is to decorate your space with things you love. What can be more timeless than that? My home in Palm Springs is a great example. I just went with my gut when choosing colors and design details. After almost 8 years of owning it, I love these choices as much as I did when I first made them. 

Many of your projects are very DIY. Talk about how much you’ve taught yourself over the years.

When it comes to our own homes and projects, my husband, Phillip, and I like to do as much as we can ourselves. It’s great to share DIY content because it empowers people to make changes in their spaces too and helps them discover that barriers to entry can be a lot lower than they realize. We are paint and mural pros now, and I love sharing simple hacks on how something as simple as an accent wall can transform a space. We’ve resurfaced wood floors, installed intricate moulding, installed tiles, and, of course, put up copious amounts of wallpaper. Nothing makes you feel more accomplished than creating a beautiful space with your bare hands!

What did you end up doing with the secret hidden room in your new house?

We have exciting plans for that space, including a Murphy credenza, which is a credenza that folds out into a twin-sized Murphy bed. I love discovering practical items that also serve as beautiful decor pieces. Our new LA home is so quirky with so many little nooks and hidden spaces; we’re working away to get it all finished and reveal it soon on my socials.

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I know you already had your dream wedding so I’m wondering what your ideal party would look like, the entertainment and decor of your wildest dreams… 

Experiential design is something I’m actually super interested in getting into! Your environment absolutely affects your mood, and I think it would be super fun to create wild spaces curated around themes and events. I feel like my event design vibe would be all-encompassing—like overwhelmingly committed to a certain aesthetic and vibe that transports people from their everyday lives! 

Is it true that your favorite color is orange? 

I love all colors truly and simply cannot pick a favorite. But I do think orange is the most underrated – justice for orange! When people ask me my favorite color, I like to just tell them my favorite color scheme at the time, which usually involves a much more detailed answer and describing the exact hues. But one of my all-time favorite color schemes is the warm ’70’s hues, bright orange mixed with retro red and a mustard yellow.

This interview was originally published in our SPRING 2024 Quarterly

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