40th Anniversary Reflection With Paul Daniels

“ I never dreamed of owning a business; my dream was more of a complete fascination with the emotions and sense of adventure that I experienced when I saw cool rooms and places. I longed to experience what it would feel like to be there.” – Paul Daniels


Take a moment to close your eyes and picture yourself in your favorite room; maybe it’s in your house, maybe you’re taken back to a room in your grandma’s house. What comes to mind?

Most likely, you’re remembering the feeling you had when you were last in that room. The way the lighting calms you down and the smell of your mother’s Chanel No5 perfume roaming through the room.  When we walk into a space, a feeling is created. The man who started Paul Daniels Interiors wanted to capture just that.

“I remember sitting for an evening meal at Disneyland surrounded by twinkling fireflies dancing across the dark evening water, the smell of the brine hanging in the air and the sound of the water lapping at the stanchions of the pier.  The rough weathered wood seemed to be holding stories of drunken pirate revelries.  I thought as I did of so many places I visited, ‘If I could only capture this feeling and share it with others it would complete my dream.’ This became my passion.”

That dream started when Paul was in college and happened upon some classes in the Theater Department. This is where he first came in contact with stage lighting and he was amazed by how drastically the atmosphere of the stage could change just by changing the lights. He knew that this element of design would be a major component of his work with interiors. Paul also knew that even though design styles and trends would change, the ability to use lighting to create moods that satisfy our emotional desires would never fade.

After Paul fell in love with designer lighting and creating a mood with interiors, it was time to move the interior design shop from Paul’s basement to a real studio. The big move happened in 1978.

Paul reminisces, “While much of it is a blur, I do remember the fun of buying merchandise at Market and the excitement of coordinating it into our new studio space.  The studio was located at 27th St across Capitol Parkway. One of our first “life or death” moments came early when the city, without any notice or warning, tore up 27th Street in front of our studio, removing our front steps, and making access impossible without a ladder.  We had new merchandise inside needing to be paid for in 30 to 60 days and no way to show it.  That long street replacement project tested our mettle and strengthened our determination for the long haul.”

Although there were some setbacks along the way, the design team at Paul Daniels Interiors stuck together through the years as well as through the trends that didn’t make it very long. “One trend that I got a little ‘over-involved in’,” Paul recalls, “was patterned wallpaper.  I did not realize at the time that it would become very dated very quickly.  Just as bell-bottomed pants would be gone in 5 years, so would most of the patterned wallpaper.

While the last 40 years at PDI have been an incredible journey, Paul thinks that the last ten years have been his favorite decade for design. “To see what PDI has done the past 10 years is truly amazing.  The designs just keep getting better and better. In another 10 years, I suspect my favorite decade will be the one we are in now.  The products and design talent are incredible and getting better all the time.

We are so thankful for Paul’s innovative work in creating a company that has touched so many people’s’ lives. We are inspired by his eye for design, his unique ability to create an unforgettable feeling when you walk into a space, and the legacy he’s left at PDI.