In Ellen Van Dusen’s New York, almost nothing is rigid or gloomy. No just one is bored or suggest-spirited. There’s not one particular swatch of monochrome black to be observed. 


On the contrary, Van Dusen’s New York arrives ornamented in a major yellow. It’s whimsy, manifest a veritable fruit salad of colliding hues, styles, and weird textures. It’s an eternal day party in a children’s zoo, but for developed ups. “I stay in my own aspiration home in the world’s greatest city” states the Mattress Stuy-based textile and dwelling products designer. “Why would I at any time depart New York?” If you lived in her brownstone, you might really feel the very same. 

Van Dusen’s outfits and homeware label, eponymously named Dusen Dusen, could be explained as an act of insurrection in opposition to minimalism. Her pieces, which selection from towel sets and quilt addresses to loungewear and geometric puzzles, are an homage to the electricity clash — marked by intersecting stripes and loud, mismatched hues. And her home, a superb hodgepodge of tailor made tiling, statement vintage decor, and lound, lively palettes of Caldrea merchandise, follows suit. “I in no way actually recognized why all the entertaining hues ended up designated for children’s goods,” she suggests. “Color is so very good for our brains, it makes us satisfied.”

She’s not exactly talking off the cuff, below: As a college or university university student, she developed her thesis close to neuroscience and shade idea, inspecting the ways we understand color in the mind, and in convert, why that draws us to certain is effective of artwork. According to her analysis, for millennia, ancient cultures have been practicing forms of “chromotherapy” — and though there are no tough and rapidly principles all over the color-mood-marriage (getting that a good deal of us will understand shade in different ways), it has been demonstrated that shade at large can effect our moods. 

The little one of two architects, Van Dusen grew up in Washington D.C. in a dwelling in which just about every home was painted a distinctive colour — so it arrived as no surprise when she made a decision to study neuro-visual stimuli. “I’ve generally gravitated in direction of definitely brilliant hues and I wanted to realize why that was,” Van Dusen points out. “So the moment I started developing, that colour philosophy became the guiding theory driving what I was earning. I desired to incorporate the colors that introduced me pleasure, with out reservation.”

Van Dusen’s 1st foray into the design and style entire world, however, was not via decor. Contemporary out of faculty, she moved to New York Town, exactly where she held internships underneath a shiny roster of capital-F Trend designers (think: Norma Kamali, Jill Stuart, and Proenza Schouler) just before launching her have garments label — also named Dusen Dusen — at age 22. You may well remember the stunning yellow get-ups donned by Greta Gerwig’s entourage of 5 at the 2018 Oscars ceremony? Yeah, these were Dusen Dusen. 

I was truly exhausted of on the lookout at the very same minimalist arrangement of white items.

Following five many years spent in the trend room, she began to clock a recurring dilemma: The globe of dwelling textiles was markedly boring. It appeared that the style planet experienced produced place for a new edition of maximalism, but dwelling decor hadn’t adopted go well with. “I preferred to enhance my bedding and my towels and I could not obtain everything I preferred out there in the environment — like at all,” she claims. “I was seeking for printed bedding in certain — anything loud and entertaining like I experienced when I was escalating up.”

The response became obvious: She would design and style textiles herself. “After doing the job with clothing for so several many years, I recognized that my favorite thing about building garments was developing the prints,” she points out. “At the time, I had just moved into a new location, and I was actually fatigued of wanting at the identical minimalist arrangement of white factors.”

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Currently, you will discover Dusen Dusen’s signature pinstriped towels all over the place from upscale fashionable residence retailer Style and design In Achieve to division shop chain Nordstrom to hip boutiques like Coming Soon in NYC’s Chinatown. And as the brand’s good results proceeds to mount, Van Dusen’s guiding impulse stays the very same: Shade breeds joy. Use it, unabashedly. 

“I’m sort of in a inexperienced section. But when I was developing my house, I was in a yellow section,” she explains of her latest brownstone — which she’s used the past 3 many years curating specifically to her liking. “It’s maybe my all-time favourite coloration — I even now adore yellow. I have a yellow entrance door, a yellow stove, a yellow chair in my kitchen. Proper now specifically, it aids to make up for the deficiency of vitamin D.”

a vase of flowers on a table

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For all of us, it’s been a year of interiors. The much more time we devote indoors — waiting out shelter-in-location mandates, operating remotely, socializing by using Zoom calls — the additional discerning we’re starting to be about our decor. “I’m really certain about my things, but nevertheless, I constantly glance all over and assume about what alterations I could be generating,” Van Dusen suggests.

For her, “home” is never a completed project. And that’s neither taxing nor complicated — it is exhilarating. As she sees it, there’s a thrill in the continual unfolding of a vision in just the context of your very own space. Be it a matter of introducing at any time-louder prints, or investing an aged scented candle for a new olfactory encounter, it’s the perpetual updates that preserve her property abuzz with energy. “It’s a good issue to be eternally engaged in the challenge of planning one thing you care about — and a area, in particular, that you live in,” she claims. 

It is a nice issue to be eternally engaged in the venture of developing anything you care about — and a room, in unique, that you are living in.

Her most modern home enhance took put in her downstairs rest room — which she calls “the powder space.” Inside, the walls are spotted with handmade illustrations painted by shut mate Lorien Stern. “She protected all the partitions with these special little characters,” Van Dusen points out. In her upstairs toilet, on the other hand, a chessboard of black and white tiles clash brilliantly with signature Dusen Dusen towels in a square, geometric pattern reminiscent of a website traffic jam, all offset by a row of vibrant Caldrea items lending staccato splashes of colour — and an equally energetic slew of scents — to the area. The outcome is rather mesmerizing: Below, the deeply unsexy act of, say, washing your fingers results in being a whimsical, sensory encounter.

a toy on a table

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A single flight down, on the brownstone’s floor floor, the piece d’ resistance is an authentic fireplace ornamented in bits of broken ceramic tile Van Dusen cemented into area, herself — and the patchwork collage of pieces, like all the things in her line, feels nonsensically perfect. Up coming up, she intends to tackle the yard: “I can just photograph it,” she points out. “The complete factor protected in damaged tile in this weird, magic mosaic.” 

Walking via Van Dusen’s residence is like traipsing through a 3-D rendering of a children’s reserve. It’s a testament to the bliss that accompanies abandoning minimalism in favor of character — from the personalized kitchen area cabinet detailing and the hand-carved eyeball doorknobs, to her dwelling place shelf, Macgyvered by a friend to “suck” her Tv out of sight when not in use. “It’s important to have things around that can make you delighted, and for me that is coloration and plenty of it — but for someone else that may be a bunch of concrete slabs,” she describes. So, alternatively than chase some grand, glossy design magazine minute, she thinks our spaces ought to be dressed to mimic the interiors of our have brains. Each contact — be it a concern of scented soap, or textured bathtub towels — really should be own.

I generally convey to people today to just think about what is crucial to them and how they can manifest that physically in a place.

“Over the a long time, I’ve gathered a good deal of issues I genuinely love from buddies and loved ones — those people are things that make me sense definitely uniquely at household,” she says. “So, as considerably as decorating assistance goes, I generally explain to people today to just feel about what is important to them and how they can manifest that bodily in a space. Let’s say you love frogs, possibly you ought to get a frog poster. Possibly you ought to paint your own frog.”

Positive, all the cleanse corners and conservative sand hues of “adulthood” are a lot enticing, but Van Dusen would argue that there is no rule declaring that, with maturity, comes eggshell paint. “People can be so apprehensive in the decor area to lean into childlike things,” she claims. “But the cause we even affiliate pleasurable, thrilling shades and prints with childhood is just that kids are authorized to come to feel additional free in their artistic choices.” Perhaps, if we deserted our panic of so-identified as “childish” touches in our “adult” homes, we might all be a small additional capable of accessing the joy of Van Dusen’s New York — most important yellow and all.


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