Designer for Hire

Pleased to Meet You

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Landscape designer Elizabeth Przygoda-Montgomery on noise, lack of sleep and her new online venture.


Photo by Emily Jones

Early bird or night owl? “I’m naturally a night owl. Right now I have to get up early for my 18-month-old daughter, but it’s by force. It’s definitely for the love of my daughter. Then when she goes to bed at 7 pm I get a lot of work done. I usually schedule my emails to be sent in the morning so I don’t look like I’m being unprofessional and working odd hours. I’m in bed at 10 pm or if I’m working, probably midnight or 12.30 am.”

Favorite accessory? “My iPhone. I even have a booster charger for it, I use it so much during the day. I pay bills with it, there are apps for designing, I can measure with it, I can even print from my phone at my doctor’s office…”

Favorite faux pas? “My husband and I went to Turkey. We decided to take an Ambien once we got on the plane so we could sleep the whole way. I’d never taken it before and it had the opposite effect on me. I finished two novels,  I couldn’t sit still. I was wired.

“So there was 36 hours of not sleeping, and then we got to the hotel in Istanbul and went to the rooftop bar. It was the time for the call to prayer and the whole city’s mosques have loudspeakers. All I heard was this music and, still wired myself, I said to this waiter ‘Is there a party happening? Is there a parade going on or something? It sounds so pretty!'”

Who is your dream customer? “With my new business, an online curated store called Boxhill, it’s someone who’s interested in authentic and appreciates handmade items. Eighty-five per cent of our products are made in the U.S.A. and 40% are being made to order. Sometimes it will take six weeks to get to you because it’s being made for you. So my dream customer is someone who really cares about quality over quantity. That doesn’t mean everything is expensive. We have items that are $5. But I try to do a good job of being selective.”

If I weren’t a landscape designer I would… “When you’re a designer you’re always going to design. You’re going to find a way to create. But I do have a passion for history. I like reading about why something is made, the reason why this trellis is designed that way because women wore these skirts in those days with bustles, and it was so they wouldn’t get caught in them. So I would be some sort of nerdy history geek.”

If I could change one thing I would… ” “I would have started earlier with having kids. As women we want to make our lives better and we want to feel self-fulfillment. But I’m so scared of being the mom who was always on her iPhone. I’ve been really trying to create a balance. But it’s hard, trying to keep all the balls in the air.”

* Elizabeth Przygoda-Montgomery is a landscape designer and owner of online store Boxhill. Visit her store and blog at


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