Anna Lobell wants you to make space—for your authentic self to shine through.
The LA native and sought-after interior designer felt the magic of metaphysics from an early age, but resisted those urges in honor of a more protected existence. When she finally rediscovered that more intuitive side of herself, it opened up her world in a brilliant way.
An impulse to help others grow in the same manner began seeping into client consultations about everything from couches to sconces, and she began to realize that the pursuit of change in one’s environment is often a sign of a need for change in one’s life (or is a natural side effect of inevitable shifts). So, she began offering a new, more spiritual take on the process of interior design, linking energetic healing practices and intuition with aesthetics to create environments that support people on every level.
Here, she talks Danish heritage and the influence of the outer world on the inner psyche:
Live The Process: Can you tell us a bit about your upbringing and how that shaped your aesthetic and understanding of spaces?
Anna Lobell: I love this question! I think there is so much to mine from going back to our childhood influences. It’s like a mini-archaeological dig we all get to go on and, each time we venture out, we find new pieces of our puzzle.
My work is very much influenced by my upbringing. We moved around quite a bit when I was young, which I don’t remember being traumatized by at all, because my mother has this innate gift for instantly transforming a space into a home. Even places we only lived in for months a time, when my father was shooting a movie, quickly felt safe and cozy. We are all Earth signs (my mom’s a Virgo, dad’s a Taurus, I’m a Cap), so nesting is very important to us. We all need a stable home base to alight from.
Additionally, I think the fact that my mother is Danish played a big role in how I experience and value space. Not because of the whole Danish modern thing (which is great, obviously), but because of the cultural value in Denmark of having a cozy, welcoming home. I remember going to visit and, regardless of how much money they had (lots of people we knew there didn’t have much), people took pride in their homes and really took the time to personalize them. It’s the land of hygge—it gets real cold there, so you want to be able to get cozy with your loved ones!
I think growing up on movie sets was also a big influence—this idea that you are creating spaces in service to a story and that every interior has the potential to support and gives clues to who the characters are. It taught me about the importance of visual space.
LTP: When did your connection to the metaphysical develop? How did you come to link that energetic intuition with your interior design expertise?
AL: I could talk about this for days, but I’ll try to keep it short: My interest in the metaphysical and esoteric has been with me since childhood (more influence of my Danish heritage). I just always remember scrambling around in nature looking for fairies and being obsessed with Greek mythology and all things fantastical. It was all very real to me and made more sense than the “real” world.
That part of me never really disappeared; it just got hidden by an ever-deepening wall of protection that I needed to build in order to be able to survive in the world. I came to find out years later that this is a common experience for empaths, but, until I had a name for it, I was spending all my energy trying to be “normal” and “tough” and hustling through life—the way most of us are told to do it. This inevitably led to a healing crisis, which led me to a shaman who completely changed my life.
I had continued to be interested in occult teachings, but working with her made me realize that it was not only possible, but absolutely necessary to bring those esoteric teachings into daily life and allow myself to soften into the messages and magic that are everywhere when we allow ourselves to open up and listen. So, that just became a long process of dismantling the protections I had built, rediscovering the gifts and knowledge that I had held as a child and learning how to manage the messages and intuition. And that led to more teachers and more experiences of feeling confident in the truth of who I am. If I’m being honest, I’m not sure that process ever ends, and I am always focusing on surrendering more, opening more, to my true nature and allowing myself to live from that space.
So, while all this was going down, I was living my “muggle” life as an interior designer, super super sensitive to clients emotions and the stress of the job, but really enamored with the journey of creation and transformation and beauty that the work entailed. And slowly the two began to dovetail because—as I began to acknowledge and honor my sensitivity and learn how to tap into the energetics of different environments—it became so clear that the environments we are surrounded by are constantly influencing us, for better or worse.
We are, whether consciously or not, in constant energetic conversation with the spaces we exist in. And, while it’s unfortunately not always easy to control all of our environments, we definitely can put time and focus on creating supportive space in our home environments. Even if it’s only one room, having space that is dedicated to supporting us and our needs is crucial. Virginia Woolf knew what she was talking about! So, I began to feel a new sense of purpose and direction in my work with the desire to dig deeper into the emotional and metaphysical process of creating change (or up-leveling; or moving from one place to another), which is essentially always what’s happening when clients decide that it’s time to change their space. I just wanted to bring that more into the open, hold it up to the light and see what would happen if we did a deeper examination of the process.
LTP: How did you develop the concept of “intuitive interiors”? Is that what you’d call what you offer?
AL: I mean, I don’t even know if that’s what it is—there’s such a push in our society to brand things and name them. But I am intuitive, and I work on interiors, and people like alliteration, so there you are. It’s something I had been playing around with for awhile in my work, but was kind of doing under-the-radar, which starts to get murky in terms of boundaries and exchange. So, I finally realized that it had to be something both the client and I understood we were signing up for, and that I wasn’t trying to do “stealth healing” while we were talking about window treatments. So, now it’s a stated agreement that we are not only going to work on transforming and creating the space, but we are going to examine the motivations behind the need for change, the direction that the client is hoping to go in and what environment will be most supportive of that direction moving forward. There’s lots of talking and some energy work and breathwork, as a way to encourage clients to go deeper into their own self-awareness. I want them to look at not only what’s driving the change, but what the resistance is to actually allowing the change to unfold—because there’s always resistance.
LTP: Do you have personal wellness rituals, practices or products that keep you feeling balanced and relaxed?
AL: Oh man, this list is long and ever-evolving, and oh so necessary:
Hot baths are medicine. I mix my own bath salts using essential oils (depending on what my body needs that day). I have been taking adaptogenic herbs for awhile now and absolutely feel the difference in the way my body handles stress. Sun Potion and Healthforce are my favorite brands. (I make a tonic every day.)
Breathwork meditation is invaluable in terms of moving stuck energy. I love any form of embodied movement, but right now the two big ones are Kate Shela’s 5 Rhythms dance class and GST body in LA. Spending as much time as possible in nature, which I haven’t been doing enough of recently, is key. Also, sessions with amazing, next level healer Dr. Christine Surrago help me stay balanced—mind, body and soul.
I do regular sound baths and acupuncture to smooth things out. I have an infrared heating pad with jade and tourmaline stones that is my new best friend; I don’t know how I survived this long without it. And, right now, I’m really focusing on community and nurturing my relationships. As an only child, it’s very easy for me to kind of zone out and go into isolation mode, and I’ve been finding so much healing lately in nurturing and honoring my support systems.
LTP: What does happiness look like to you?
AL: Peace. Freedom. Stillness. The unfettered expression of my authentic self. Holding space for others to find theirs and do the same.
LTP: What does it mean to you to “Live The Process” and how can we all do that more each day?
AL: It always sounds too simple, but the answer is mindfulness. Get out of your head and pay attention to what’s going on around you—and what’s going on within you. How do you feel around certain people and certain situations? Allowing the truth of that to come forward, letting go of programming and “shoulds” that keep us stuck in looped behavior. Always remember that it is a process, that each day you have the potential to grow, learn and stretch further into the truth of who you are, one step at a time.