San Diego and Bali’s coveted residential and commercial interior design team, 4 CORNERS International Design Concepts is a sister duo lead by San Diego natives, Elaina Myers and Susanna Samaniego. Splitting time between North County San Diego and Bali Indonesia, the sisters boast a portfolio of award winning designs from beach bungalows in the far east to million dollar estates on the west coast. With access to imports from the unique markets of Bali, the sister's effortlessly illustrate worldly travel to local living—a signature look seen frequently on Fox 5 Design Segments, style blogs and numerous interior design publications.
What inspired you to create 4 Corners?
Susanna: I was looking for something to fuel my passion to be creative! I needed something a little bit more than what working for "the man" was providing for me. I always saw myself owning my own business and when the stars aligned for my sister and I to take this leap of faith, it was a no brainer. We have been on a creative roller coaster ever since, and I couldn't be more happier about it!
Elaina: The desire to be my own boss and make my own rules and a love for design and the creative process.
How would you describe your dynamic as sisters and as business partners?
Susanna: A popular question for us sisters! I would describe it with one word: Diamond- interesting in shape, sometime rough, mostly smooth. Transparent, strong and beautiful! Rare too! (We're lucky!)
Elaina: We have a healthy dynamic. As sisters we do the usual sisterly things- borrow each other's clothes, tell each other straight up what we think, laugh over silly things and argue over silly things. As business partners we're supportive of each other. There is a loyalty there that is very comforting and makes me feel more confident in my work, knowing that Susanna has my back no matter what.
Where/what/who is your main source of design inspiration?
Susanna: I find design inspiration in a lot of places. My hometown, San Diego inspires me (the beach, the sand, the sunsets, the hikes). I also refer to design magazines and websites quite often for inspiration. And then my boyfriend Tyler inspires me daily. He, too, is a designer and the way his brain works is amazing!
Elaina: I love looking at magazines and design books and I'm a big Pinterest girl. I love studying images of different spaces, seeing what other people are doing. Nature is also my big inspiration. I live in Bali where there is amazing natural beauty. The rice paddies, the beaches and the volcanoes. It's such a dynamic island. I'm also inspired by certain people in my life, their spirit and energy. I'm very blessed to have wonderful friends and family that inspire me daily.
What have been the biggest opportunities and challenges starting your own business?
Susanna: Lots of up hills and down hills!! We are still walking it through. The tough parts for me is staying afloat and believing in our long term vision. There are days that I want to quit, but I am quickly reminded of my freedom, creative opportunities and awesome partnership! The opportunities that are presented to us daily are still blowing my mind. I some times find myself in situations or moments during my day where I think to myslef, "Ha! This is so much fun! Sure beats sitting behind a desk!"
Elaina: Moving to Bali and starting our business both in California and Bali was a huge opportunity and a big challenge at the same time. I was dealing with language barriers and massive cultural differences and I just had to figure it out. I learn best by diving in and making mistakes and learning from them. I now speak the language and I have wonderful relationships with the beautiful artisans here in Bali. That's been a huge opportunity for us.
As female entrepreneurs, what's the most important piece of advice you can impart to other women who want to accomplish their goals and follow their passions?
Susanna: This may be the obvious, but it's SO true. Dont Quit! Keep at it! Work hard and be nice.
Elaina: First you have to recognize what makes you happy, be clear about it and then you have to let go of any fear and trust in yourself. It can be scary and difficult at times but just keep at it. It takes time to build something. See it through.
If you could have lunch with any female past or present, who would it be and why?
Susanna: Audrey Hepburn! She has always inspired me not only with her talent, but with her delightful presence she always had! She is a style icon in so many ways and to sit for an hour and have lunch with this woman would be dream come true! The way she carried herself was impeccable and still in style!
Elaina: I would have lunch with my great grandmother, Bibi. She died when I was too young to know what I know now. She had such beautiful style and her home in Mexico City was incredible, I still remember it. I would love to sit down with her and hear her stories. Hear what inspired her. I think knowing about your ancestors is important in better understanding yourself. I like to think that she and I have a lot in common.
What does "Be Bold" mean to you?
Susanna: Being bold to me is breaking the rules, and thinking outside the box. Using statement pieces in my work and making statements in my life! Not being afraid of what the masses will think. This was hard for me when I first started our business. I am still working on it. But I have gotten much better. It was once I started peeling back the layers of what others thought when I slowly started to feel bold and brave and discovered my own self worth. That's also when good design happens!
Elaina: Be Bold to me is to be fearless. To do the wild things that you think about doing with no care as to what others may think.
What does "stepping out of your comfort zone" mean to you?
Susanna: It was once I started to realize my value and worth, that I was finally confident with stepping out of my comfort zone. Again, I feel like this is when good things happen.
Elaina: It means doing something in a way that feels foreign and a little scary but that you somehow know is the right way to go. It's inviting change into your life.
What LUNA flavor coincides with your personality & why?
Susanna: I'm a Honey Salted Peanut gal! I can be very nice and smooth but every once in a while I have a salty bite! (which is a good thing, right??)
Elaina: Nutz Over Chocolate. Sweet and salty in one. It's a balanced flavor, it feels healthy and naughty and the same time. A bit of both is important.