Crafting the soul of place

A Q+A with Donna Mondi Interior Design

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Cory Phare

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Courtesy of Donna Mondi Interior Design 

Specializing in residential interiors and managing new construction builds, renovations, and home furnishing selections for clients across the country, Donna Mondi Interior Design has developed a winning formula for blending contemporary with classic and “aspiring to create spaces with soul.”

The design world has taken notice. Honored as one of the “Top 100 Designers in the World” by Andrew Martin, and featured in publications such as Architectural Digest, Elle Décor, Forbes, and the Wall Street Journal, Donna Mondi and her namesake firm’s accolades reflect an attention to craft, collaboration, and a resilience to turn obstacles into design solutions.

Mondi launched her enterprise in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood in 2001, embodying a dedication to both person and place that has resonated with both Windy City citizens and clients further afield—including those in Denver, where the firm now has a new location.

One recent win includes an Honorable Mention at the 2023 AIA Colorado Awards for the Cedar House, their first Mile High City project. In collaboration with BOSS Architecture, the property, nestled in a private Cherry Creek enclave, epitomizes modern living with Bauhaus-inspired simplicity and a seamless connection between interior and exterior spaces. 

Mondi’s personal touch is immediately apparent, including a custom bed wall, pendant lighting, custom furniture, and a compelling curation of artwork. Pieces from the firm’s collaboration with Material Bespoke Stone + Tile, and their own private label collection, grace the residence, showcasing a relentless dedication to high-quality craft.

To find out more, Modern In Denver caught up with Donna Mondi herself to talk about the ethos that drives her award-winning firm and their lauded Colorado premiere. 

Modern In Denver: Your website says you “aspire to create spaces with soul”—how is that aspiration reflected in your work?

Donna Mondi: Our approach with interiors is to blend different styles and eras together in a way that feels curated and collected, far from predictable or static. Our unique touch involves integrating furnishings, artwork, and accessories sourced from all over the world, as well as incorporating antique or vintage pieces. 

By filling interiors with elements that carry rich narratives, we believe we’re infusing soul into a space. This results in environments that are not only visually captivating, but also evoke a palpable sense of connection.

MID: A calling card of DMID is combining classicism with modernity. How do you walk that line and find elements that blend them together? 

DM: Finding this delicate balance is a dynamic process that evolves differently for each project. Our initial inspiration is drawn from the inherent architecture of the space, and then we delve into understanding the lifestyles and preferences of our clients. The true alchemy transpires in weaving those together to find a narrative that encapsulates the essence of the home and the people who live there.

For spaces that may lean toward starkness, we introduce elements like millwork, plaster, or distinctive wall and ceiling finishes to infuse depth and interest. Conversely, in interiors with a more traditional foundation, I embrace the artistic tension created when introducing modern furnishings, allowing a harmonious balance to unfold between the two opposing styles.

The architecture plays a pivotal role in guiding our design journey, often steering the project towards a more classic or modern inclination. What fuels my passion as an interior designer is the inherent diversity of each home—no two are alike and each presents its own set of challenges. Our role is to distill this information into a design that not only exudes livability and luxury, but also enriches the lives of our clients.

An important part of our methodology is the strategic use of both modern and vintage artworks and furnishings. The key is to carefully select pieces that carry their own narrative. When placed within modern architecture, one-of-a-kind, handcrafted or antique pieces feel both timeless and fresh. We are all for deeply appreciating design heritage while embracing and evolving with contemporary aesthetics.

MID: The Cedar House was your first Denver project. Tell us about the importance of place in this project, and how it influenced the biophilic, Bauhaus-inspired design?

DM: The significance of place in design cannot be overstated. This dwelling reflects the societal shift we’ve experienced in the past few transformative years, especially when it comes to how we think about home. As a society we’re embracing the appeal of cocooning and the emergence of the “hermit economy.”

With this in mind, the Cedar House by Boss Architecture embodies an internally-focused spatial plan with a pronounced integration of the outdoors. Given the unique architecture, it was apparent to us that we needed to honor the space by continuing the biophilic design with the interior. The concealed courtyard that’s linked to the main living spaces, and the home’s minimal exposure to the street, create a sanctuary conducive to cocooning. Despite its secluded ambiance, the design maximizes natural light, fostering a sense of connection to the external environment.

Biophilic design elements manifest in the thoughtful use of materials. Imported Italian brick and Accoya wood paneling traverse the windows, seamlessly merging the interior and exterior. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer panoramic views, blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor.

Our role as stewards of architects’ design, was to curate interior furnishings that struck a balance between relaxation and sophistication, beauty and durability. Drawing from our capsule collection of furniture and eclectic discoveries spanning Brutalist, Bauhaus, and Deco periods, the interiors convey a timeless aesthetic.

Originating in Chicago, our firm’s expertise spans diverse project types, from historic landmark homes and amenity-rich high-rise condos to suburban estate homes. Well-versed in design from across the country, each project, influenced by regional nuances, climate, and lifestyle variations, reflects our commitment to tailoring designs that resonate with the distinctive character of each location and client.

Learn more about Donna Mondi Interiors here.