Desk-Side—How This Celebrity Esthetician's European-Inspired Studio Influences Her Work

Research very clear states that indoor environments in an office has a great influence on employees‘ attitudes, behaviors, satisfaction, and works performance. Workspaces that lack consideration for temperature, water quality, lighting, and noise conditions can expect to see a decrease in employee happiness and productivity. In our series, Desk-Side we peek inside the offices of businesses that marry the basic essentials with elevated aesthetics to keep both their staff’s passion and performance at 100.

If you haven't heard of Shani Darden (which we find it hard to believe) then we can guarantee you've heard of her clients—Rose Huntington Whitely, Jessica Alba, and Chrissy Teigen to name a few. For years, the expert esthetician has been Hollywood's biggest skin secret sending out an army of glowy, dewy skin disciples from her own home. She ran the entire operation herself, answering emails, phone calls, and even the front door. Darden even developed and launched a self-titled product line which unsurprisingly was a sell-out.

So when she finally opened her own studio in Beverly Hills we knew it would be nothing short of spectacular—we weren’t disappointed. Darden worked with celebrated designer, Jake Arnold (he designed Who What Wear co-founder and CEO, Katherine Power’s home) on the moody, French-inspired 2300-square-foot sanctuary complete with Calcutta Viola marble reception desk and pink curved sofa.

Read on to learn more about the space and how the design direction was influenced by her work, and vice versa.

Shani Darden Studio - Hallway

“I wanted to create a space that was calm, serene, and chic.”

Photo: Michael Clifford

What was the vision/direction for the space? What did you think about when decorating?

“I worked with one of my great friends who happens to be a designer, Jake Arnold. I wanted to create a space that was calm, serene, and chic. Jake is very inspired by European sensibilities and loves to use natural, raw materials. It was designed with a mix of clean lines, natural materials and polished finishes. He did a really incredible job of bringing in elements of my personality. I love the Calcutta Viola reception desk and powder room sink. It really brought the whole space to life.”

How important is the design of your studio for conjuring the creativity and inspiration for your work? 

“It’s beyond important to me to have a clean, beautiful environment where I work. When the space is in impeccable shape and I have fresh flowers, nothing makes me happier! I have these amazing florists, A&J | Los Angeles @aj.losangeles, who do a hanging floral installations in the entry that I die for. In addition to the spa portion of this space, I also have an office for the skin care team. It’s where product development, testing, and planning all happens. We have several innovative products soon to be released.” 

Photo: Michael Clifford

What is your favorite piece/place in your studio and why?

“I love the entry. You walk in, and there’s a fountain that I always keep fresh flowers in. You then walk through an arch into the reception area and it’s just such a calming, serene moment to enter into.” 

How did you decide on the color scheme?

“I knew I wanted it to be minimal and neutral to keep it very high end and chic. However, the reception desk is a very bold marble with white, black, and purple. It pairs super well with the neutral lime wash finish on the walls.” 

What’s your favorite thing about the space? 

“I couldn’t be more grateful to have a space of my own. I didn’t know that this would ever be a possibility, so it’s just such a dream come true.” 

What is your biggest inspiration and how does that factor into your work?

“I am a mother of two girls, and they are always my inspiration and motivation. Everything I do is for them. I love that my girls get to watch me build my business, and know that chasing their dreams is entirely possible.”


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What was the biggest challenge of this project?

The biggest challenge was finding the right spot. After a long search, we found a spot in Beverly Hills that had great bones, but it had to be completely gutted and reimagined.