At the age of 37 certified interior designer Vani Maharaj has been able to accomplish a lot professionally and personally and there is a lot more in store for her. With eight years’ experience, resulting from hard work and mostly from the belief that the sky’s the limit, she has been successfully managing her private business, Divine Living, along with her team. The interior designer and her team do renovations, interior design and the construction of private homes. The ambitious Vani is driven by a passion for learning and a desire to succeed. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a major in Finance, as well as a Master’s Degree in Marketing, from the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business. In the last five years, she has also founded and successfully grown a Cake Artistry Business from specialty cupcakes and hand-crafted cookies to seven-tier wedding cakes. “I just love to make things pretty, and my passion will continue to teach me, and my ambition is what drives me. But above all, I absolutely love to make spaces beautiful” she said. Just in time for Christmas, the WE Mag team got a chance to hear from Vani and learn about her journey. She provided some amazing decorating tips for us to consider this Christmas as well. Check out our interview with her:
What are you all working on at present, what is keeping you excited?
Currently, we are really swamped, but we have it all under control. I’m a true believer of “If you do what you love, you never really work a day in your life” and that’s exactly what I am doing.
We have a number of projects in progress right now, namely; a beautiful residential property in Fairways Maraval. I am particularly excited to hand over this one as I am doing something a little different. It will be a gorgeous, modern take on a rustic design appeal with a breathtaking view.
We are also working on a number of other projects, just to name a few:
- The Renaissance at Shorelands
- Gulf View, San Fernando
- Lange Park, Chaguanas
- A beautiful commercial space in Woodbrook
What keeps me most excited, is the number of people who are inspired by what we do.
For everyone who truly knows me, I am very passionate about empowering young girls, in particular, and women to follow their true passion. I think that we need to do more to shine a light on the ambitious, successful women who dream big and achieve their personal and professional goals while staying true to themselves.
What are some of your treasured milestones thus far?
In my professional life, my most treasured milestone thus far has been the formation of my company, Divine Living Limited. Starting your own business is certainly exciting but can be overwhelming. However, milestones are certainly important parts of business planning and success, as they keep your business moving forward. I also was very fortunate to have been the Design Studio Manager for a beautiful contemporary home furnishings store in Trinidad, Dwellings Home Trinidad. While that experience was wonderful, and I got to design for a number of fabulous clients, running my own interior design company has always been a dream of mine. Another treasured milestone, while I was at Dwellings, was certainly when I got the opportunity to design a three-bedroom unit at the beautiful Renaissance at Shorelands for an amazing client. I got to use all of my creative juices on that one and the final reveal was stunning.
What is your ultimate goal or biggest dream for your future?
I started no differently than any other girl with a dream, with perhaps one difference, I was always told by amazing family that I could achieve anything I wanted to as long as I was open, hard-working and determined. However, my ultimate goal is to remain humble, stay true to myself and to help as many people as I can along my way. This profession allows me just that, in so many ways. My creative work is my ultimate passion of creating interior spaces that improve well-being through my interior designing and styling services. I founded Divine Living and have been helping many clients improve their well-being by creating a sanctuary where they can relax after a busy day. Ultimately, I would like to be able to teach/pass on my experiences and knowledge to inspire others to be the best that they can be in the creative process and any outlet that of which they are a part.
I think finding your passion is one thing, but following it is another. Two of my favourite quotes are: “Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs.” —Farrah Gray
“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” —Nelson Mandela
Why do you do what you do?
I’ve always admired how interiors reflect personalities and can alter emotions, and I love means of self-expression. I’m a very artsy person and I love anything that can allow me to express myself in the most “free” way; interior design, fashion design, marketing, cake design and dance are amongst a few of my passions that allow me true expression of myself.
My motivating factor for this career choice is the desire to help people, and to make them happy. Having my own business allows me to manage every facet of the process as I value customer service and relationships the most. The thing I love most and the reason why I do what I do, would have to be making others happy with what we could come up with. If I made their dream come true, then this is all worth it. The conceptual part of interior design is probably my favourite. How ideas stem from one point to the next is always fascinating to me. I am also a very goal oriented person, so I think that watching my visions turn into reality is incredibly rewarding.
Can you give us some decorating tips to consider this Christmas?
Christmas is fast-approaching, but there’s plenty of time to get festive still. While each year brings its own Christmas traditions, your decorations can always use a refresh. Whether you keep it neutral or lean into major glitz, I’m certain you’ll find something to make your spirits beautiful, bright, and merry.
I really like the appeal of a rustic Christmas more than anything else but even I make sure there’s some glitter going on. You can get glitter from candle holders, a bowl of glittery pine cones, wine glasses, crystal embellished accessories and more.
SCENTED CANDLES or plugins. If it smells like Christmas, it will feel like Christmas.
USE WHAT YOU HAVE
Create your own holiday palette using hues already incorporated into your décor. Ornaments you already own are the most inexpensive way to decorate. Put them in bowls, mugs, vases or baskets.
KEEP IT NEUTRAL
You don’t necessarily need colour to ‘dazzle up’ your home for the holidays. I actually like mixing a variety of finishes like gold, silver, and champagne to create a chic and elegant look. Neutral Christmas décor keeps the space soft and inviting, while still creating a festive atmosphere.
TRY A NATURAL LOOK
I like creating a cosy and rustic atmosphere with reclaimed wood accents, soft fur textures and a variety of greenery. Candle-filled lanterns also help make the space feel warm and inviting.
The most important thing to remember when you’re decorating for Christmas is that you really can’t go wrong. It’s forgiving and pretty hard to make a mistake. You really can’t mess this up. Just have fun, make it cosy and have a very Merry Christmas 2019.