The Chaise Lounge is kicking off some fresh ideas for the weekly podcast including a format change. This week you get not one interview, but two different interviews with two very different design firms. We want to try to get you, as a listener, the absolute most content to you as possible, and with so many interviews coming up we’ve made sure to include the most important advice from each interviewee, and to edit out any unnecessary tangents that we can easily find ourselves on when speaking with successful designers! That said, we have two fantastic interviews for you today, Gil Walsh of Gil Walsh Interiors and Architect Chip von Weise of von Weise Associates. Listen in for some great advice from varying perspectives in today’s podcast!
Gil Walsh, founder of Gil Walsh Interiors is based out of West Palm Beach, Florida though she also has a second office and home out of Martha’s Vineyard. Interior design has been in Gil’s bloodline for many generations, her interest as a child was piqued by her families large collection of antique furniture, from there Gil took pursued many forms of design as a career from a fashion designer to a theatrical stage set designer. Gil has found that the basic principles she learned through those careers have helped her interior design business immensely.
Nick questions Gil about the most important things she learned through her design education, to which she answers, “The use of color, the use of fabric and texture, the use of scale and the use of layering.” Gil continues to highlight layering as the most important key to a dimensional room. Nick and Gil discuss the long educational road she took before becoming a licensed professional interior designer and the difficulties she faced through that process. Upon graduation, Gil apprenticed for some great designers based out of Ohio and before starting her own business, she worked primarily for large firms for more than 25 years. Gil talks to Nick about the tremendous amount of on the job training she received while in those positions.
When Gil started her own business, she had a total of three people including herself who “wore many hats.” Within a year, Gil recognized how fast her company was growing and the need to hire more staff and find a larger space. Today the business has 16 employees and is growing. Her staff is comprised of a variety of roles including project managers, project assistants, interior architects and marketing and PR personnel. At any given time Gil Walsh Interiors will have 10 large jobs going on, with many waiting in the pipeline.
Nick and Gil discuss how her business handles their marketing through social media. Gil discusses how hiring a professional to handle the social media aspect has been very successful for her company. Gil is excited about a very prestigious opportunity that her firm has recently received, designing a room at The Kips Bay Decorator Show House, which benefits the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club, a NYC organization that serves over 10,000 children in the Bronx, which Gil equates to receiving an Oscar in the design world. Gil is also proud to announce the arrival of her very first book, which will be available in September of this year!
In the second segment of our show, Nick has the privilege of interviewing Chip von Weise out of Chicago, Illinois. Chip is a professionally trained architect who grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. Chip’s early interest in architecture was through family members who worked in architecture and also carpentry and boat building. Studying Fine Arts in college at a small liberal arts school in Massachusetts, Chip was not originally intending to pursue a career in Architecture. After his schooling, Chip moved to Chicago and took a job in Advertising for a well-known firm. After about three years working for the firm, Chip had discovered that advertising was not the path for him and therefore applied and was accepted into one of the most prestigious design programs, the Harvard University Graduate School of Design where he finally decided to pursue architecture.
Nick and Chip discuss his early career in architecture and his very first paying job, which he actually worked on while still in school. Chip designed, start to finish, a home for his brother-in-law in Ohio. After school, Chip worked for a few firms but found that he was actually bringing in a lot of the business and wasn’t necessarily getting much of that money, so it was then that Chip decided to round up a few of his architectural peers and start his own firm.
As this is a show primarily aimed towards interior design, Nick asks Chip about the relationship between an architecture firm and an interior designer. As von Weise Associates does mostly corporate interior work, Chip has plenty of advice to dispense on how the two work together. Chip and Nick discuss the details of what Chip’s firm does for its clients. Tune in to hear Chip talk about some of his favorite projects he’s done to date, including a quirky office space for the popular card game start up, Cards against Humanity and a very important project von Weise completed for a law firm that focuses on civil rights litigation. Hear Chip talk about how he takes a concept from start to finish in his design, including designing corporate identities to logos and even presentation design.
Lastly, Nick and Chip talk about networking and Chip accomplishes that very important component of any career. Chip states, “If you are an architect and all your friends are architects, it will be very hard to network. My friends aren’t architects.”
Updates from The Chaise Lounge
The Chaise Lounge is so excited to announce that we will be starting a Webinar Series coming up in June, and the best news is, it’s free! Stay tuned for more information.
Do you have an event coming up for interior designers? If so reach out to Nick directly, we’d love to connect and maybe even speak at your event.
We’d like to give a shout-out to a couple of our current sponsors, VA Staffer, a company that can help you get your web presence to a level that will get you or your business found and Design Manager, an all in one project management software. Don’t forget, Benjamin Moore! If you are working with color, you need to be working with nothing but the best. The folks at Benjamin Moore are always ready to support you and your design business.
With more and more content coming up, The Chaise Lounge is looking to find two new sponsors to help us get even more content out to our audience each week. So if you work with a brand that would like to help the design industry grow, think about helping us by sponsoring this show. You can find more information here.
If you would like to hear more episodes, please visit us on iTunes or on our website at TheChaiseLoungePodcast.com. Lastly, find The Chaise Lounge on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter or post a review on iTunes, you may even hear your review read live on our next podcast. With that said keep dreaming big, and keep designing a great design business. See ya!