About the Author
Host of The Chaise Lounge and The Business Brush Podcast, owner of Walls by Design, and Creative Director for iMayMedia LLC.

160 – 3D Rendering and Social Media

3D Rendering and Social Media

Today in The Lounge, we are joined by Carla Espino, project manager of the 3D Rendering Department for Porcelanosa and Natalie Reddell, Commander In Chic. Nick and Carla discuss the process of having a 3D rendering made from Porcelanosa. Nick and Natalie talk about her start in interior design and how she got her nickname. They both let us know what they will be doing at High Point Market.

Getting to Know Carla

Carla works in New Jersey at Porcelanosa’s corporate headquarters. She works with everyone, from retailers, designers, to contractors. Carla went to school for Architecture in the Dominican Republic. She has worked for Porcelanosa for two and a half years.

Porcelanosa’s FREE 3D Rendering Services

3D renderings are a complimentary service Porcelanosa offers to customers to visualize what a project will look like before it’s completed. Their products include cabinetry, plumbing fixtures, bathroom furniture, ceramic tile and flooring. Walk-in clients can go to the showroom and sit down with a design consultant who will talk them through products, materials, and finishes. It can be hard to visualize what a room is going to look like once everything is chosen, so a rendering is put together a with a few different options, such as vanities or countertop finishes. This helps the client make up their mind about what they want their space to look like. If you’re a designer, an architect, or anyone with a client, you simply send Porcelanosa your floor plan, elevations, and finishes, and they will send the rendering back to you and your client. It’s as simple as that.

Nick’s OWN 2D Rendering Designs

Nick sent in the floor plan and dimensions for his Master Bathroom and Porcelanosa sent back two potential designs to remodeled his bathroom with Porcelanosa products. Check them out below!!


AFTER!!!!!!!!!! <—

Getting to Know Natalie

Natalie Reddell is the owner of Commander in Chic. Her favorite fashion accessory is handbags: if it’s sparkly she loves it! Natalie’s favorite room in her home is her dining room because her walls are Greece-ocean blue. Natalie loves decorating for her guests. She is from central Florida and now lives in Virginia. When asked beer, wine, or cocktail, she doesn’t drink so she prefers diet coke.

Natalie first got into interior design when she started remodeling her dollhouse at the age of four. She even used toothpaste caps as lampshades. She was also fascinated with psychology as a kid so she went to school with the intent of getting a psych degree, yet always found herself in design stores. Natalie is glad she studied psychology first because a huge part of design is taking mental care of your clients. She puts her heart into her designs and her clients love that. Natalie received her interior design degree at Florida State and did a Parson’s program in Paris for a semester. She works for herself and loves designing entire homes.

Commander In Chic

Commander In Chic came about as Natalie started reviewing products she’d bought on her  Instagram account, which gained a following. She got the name from a nail polish that she loves.  Her friend convinced her to start a blog and Natalie began using the hashtag #CommanderInChic. The rest is history: it’s been her brand ever since and she’s even trademarked it! It’s always the first hashtag she uses, so you could say it’s her signature too. Natalie loves hashtags so much that she bought a hashtag which appears in her posts quite often. It was rusty at first but she spray painted gold and put sequences on it. This is how her hashtag, #thegoldenhashtag, got its start.

The Business Today

Natalie has two businesses: her interior design business and her golden hashtag business. She currently has about ten products, works on vacation homes and mostly does residential projects. Natalie will be at High Point Market for about a week but while she’s there her projects don’t take a backseat. She multitasks by planning around it, creating installation dates prior, and always being available to her clients, even when she’s out of town.

Natalie at High Point Market

Natalie is doing an Instagram takeover for Highpoint on Friday, October 13th. Natalie will also be sharing her design expertise at a panel called Bold Color Pattern on the 15th and doing a tour on the 16th, click here for more information, and don’t forget to RSVP. Natalie’s favorite vendors at High Point are CR Laine, Gabby, Woodbridge Furniture, and Universal Furniture. She loves Universal furniture because they have a quick turn around time, about two weeks, which is great for clients. She also loves it because at Market she can see their furniture and then relay information about a certain piece to the client. Natalie is an antique junkie and loves shopping product in all the showroom at High Point.

Natalie also recommends the High Point Market App because it reminds her what events she is missing and might still have time to go to or if she forgot to visit one, she can put it on her schedule for the next day. 

You can follow Natalie on her Instagram and also on her website.


Design Manager is a great resource to track all of your business projects. It is an affordable system with easy to follow tutorials. Design Manager also offers a 30 day FREE and a 120-day MONEY BACK GUARANTEE, so there is nothing to lose. If you haven’t tried it yet go ahead and give it a go!

Porcelanosa offers FREE 3D Renderings services and also many other great products and services, so be sure to check them out as well and stop your local Porcelanosa showroom.

Benjamin MooreBenjamin Moore offers paints that are low VOC and they offer a very durable products, like the Advance Product.

  • Upcoming Events

High Point Market – Oct 14 – 18

BDNY  – Nov 12 – 13

KBIS – Jan 9 – 11

Atlanta Market – Jan 9 – 16

Dallas Market– Jan 17 – 23

Las Vegas Market Jan 28 – Feb 1

Wrap Up

If you would like to hear more episodes, please visit us on iTunes or on our website at 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!

159 – High Point Fall 2017 Market Preview

High Point Fall 2017 Market Preview

Today in The Lounge, we are talking all about High Point! Janine Wagers is the Creative Director and Showroom Designer of the Universal Furniture Showroom in High Point, North Carolina. She joins us to discuss the best ways to prepare for Market. Lisa Kahn of Lisa Kahn Designs is the keynote speaker for Gail Doby’s Interior Design Summit and gives us an inside look on what she will be speaking about. As always, connect with us on our website, iTunes, Stitcher, Facebook and Instagram @thechaiselounge.

Nick has been on a mission to uncover how the 3D Rendering software at Porcelanosa works. He measured his bathroom and sent in pictures to Porcelanosa to design 2 different remodel prototypes, and the process only has a two day turn around! On the next episode, we will share an interview with Carla Espino to learn more about how this product works. Additionally, we will include the BIG REVEAL of Nick’s bathroom BEFORE and AFTER. Utilize this free service by going to Porcelanosa’s website or by visiting your local showroom. 

During High Point, Nick will be moderating a panel, Passion Sucks. It’s All About the Money!, at the Universal showroom, Saturday the 14th at 11:00 am. All of the designers Nick has spoken to are passionate about interior design, but that’s not what makes it or breaks it for them. So Nick will be asking Nina Magon of Contour Interior Design, Steven Favreau of Favreau Design, Kellie Ellis of Kelli Ellis Interior Design and Chad James of the Chad James Group: What does it really take to become successful? To RSVP and for a FULL list of The Chaise Lounge High Point Market events, visit our events page

Meet Janine

Janine Wagers joins Nick from High Point, North Carolina, furniture capital of the world. Her work as Create Directive and Showroom Designer concentrates on displaying Universal Furniture’s products within the showroom in new and interesting ways. 

Market? WHAT DO I DO?

Here’s Janine’s advice: As a designer, you have to figure out what you would like to accomplish at Market. Ask yourself, What are you here to see? What vendors would you like to visit? Are you buying furniture? Are you buying accessories? Are you here to establish new relationships with vendors? Or are you meeting with your existing vendors? Maybe you’ve never been to Market and are just here to grasp, what is High Point? (It’s like regional markets….but on steroids). Think about what price points you want to look at and what styles. Anyone and everyone furniture connected is going to show at High Point SO you need to plan and narrow it down to what you want to focus on. There is no way you can make it to every showroom in 5 days, that’s 11.5 million square feet of showrooms!

High Point Market’s website has a full list of exhibitors so Janine says that you definitely want to prepare beforehand, look them up, and see which products fit into your style and price categories. You also want to target specific areas at Market, if one of your vendors is in an area, it’s likely similar vendors will be there too. Get your geography down! Market is very spread out. Nick Janine advise to make a list of the vendors you want to see, so you can plan each day accordingly by location.

It’s also important to know that there are accessory vendors that are preset (you go in and buy it like it is), but there are also places you can buy samples or one-of-a-kind pieces! You might want to take a day to just visit accessory companies EARLY ON and pick up samples or one-of-a-kind pieces, as those go quickly. It’s always fun to have a treasure to bring back to a customer. You get to tell them that you located it in High Point and it’s the only one of its kind. You’ll have a good story to help you sell a piece or to let someone know you picked it out special for them.

The Universal Showroom

Universal exclusively makes and sells furniture, but they shop Market too, for accessories for the showroom and to continue their relationships with vendors. They start preparing for the next Market, the month after Market, at least a 5-month procedure to get everything organized. When at Market, you will see Universal’s building, a fresh new look with brick and stucco and an outdoor covered patio with music playing. When you come in the front glass doors, it will be unlike any other furniture showroom you’ve ever seen before. They have three floors and 90,000 square feet of JUST furniture, from used furniture, Universal product, to designer lines and a curated area. There is also their To The Trade area SPECIFICALLY for designers with products that their brick and mortar stores do not carry. There is also a learning center where they hold events, a cafe area, and their offices. The cafe alone takes up 10,000 feet and Janine is pretty proud of their restrooms too.

When designing the showroom for Market, Janine tries to bring something new and fresh each time (not only furniture-wise but design-wise too!), as that’s what she always looks for when she goes shopping. If it’s not quite like it was last time, you are faced with new ideas to refresh your sense of style. Janine always does something a little out of the ordinary like penny, pallet wood, or scrabble flooring. 

Universal Furniture really tries to make their showroom a home away from home for designers. You can come in, put your luggage or briefcase down, check in, go to the designer lounge, hang out, relax, charge your phone and use their iPads. Most importantly though, you can hang out with #TANKtheshowroomdog. Take selfies with him while at market and TAG NICK. Universal will have breakfast at the cafe every day of Market and Nick will be there on Sunday at 9:00 am so come join! You can find a list of Universal’s events during Market here.

We love Benjamin Moore Paint, not only their products but the customer service that they give too. They just launched a new product: dry erase paint that you can put anywhere!!! SO COOL. You can turn ANY service into a dry erase board. It’s called Notable by Benjamin Moore. 

Getting to Know Lisa Kahn

Gail Doby’s flagship event the Interior Design Summit (IDS) is the day before Market, on Friday, October 13. Lisa Kahn will be the keynote speaker.

Lisa’s favorite magazine is Miranda and on the weekends her and her husband like to pursue their creative endeavors such as a writing, painting, playing music and having spontaneous relaxing time. She is currently in the midst of renovating her husband’s music studio. When Lisa is asked, beer wine or a cocktail? Her answer is “Yes.” Right now she’s in love with champaign and intrigued by experimenting with bitters in a good old-fashioned.

How Gail Got Her Start

Lisa’s mom is an interior designer in Ohio and at one point her family owned a commercial firm, which was a great training ground for Lisa. It was fun working with her mom growing up, but when it was time for college she told her mom she was not going to study interior design. Lisa really wanted to do something else so she started studying marketing. After the first semester though, she decided she needed hands-on creativity every day to really feel challenged, so she switched back to interior design and graduated with her degree from Miami Ohio.

Lisa’s dad told her she could always come back and be the corporate designer at her family firm, but he wanted her to go out in the world and spend at least one year working in a business outside of Ohio first. Lisa took a position as the corporate interior designer for Lutron Electronics in Pennsylvania, where she spent the first four years of her career. It was an interesting job out of school when you want to be working at a design firm but instead, you are interfacing with design firms all over the country. Afterwards, Lisa relocated to Florida where she worked in residential design and then started her own firm, Lisa Kahn Designs, in the 2000s.


While working with Gail for the past few years in a coaching capacity, Lisa found the real meaning behind the work that she does. She has come to embody the concept that our spaces are sacred sanctuaries rather than just rooms or houses. Furthermore, what this means is how it translates into her brand and deeper, into her lifestyle. Gail told her, if you are going to sell your brand, you need to live it first. Lisa spent a lot of time thinking about what this meant and looked like because it sounded inspiring and wonderful. She thought she was going to get a massage every day, eat the healthiest foods, and be the most enlightened version of herself….but life has other plans. Lisa has a special needs daughter and began to face some big challenges in her business and her life. All of her problems were rising to one culmination of unpleasantness. Lisa learned that living a sanctuary life doesn’t look like being a victim of your circumstances but instead using them as a catalyst for your own growth. The journey from big personal challenge, to wonderful personal and professional success, while using her sanctuary lifestyle message and truly living her brand, is what Lisa is going to be talking about at IDS. What does it mean to create a brand that you can live, woven both into your life and your business?

If you are the first person to message nick on the website with the questions tab nick has a FREE IDS ticket to give you to attend on Friday!!!!

  • Upcoming Events

IDS – Oct 13 – 16

High Point Market – Oct 14 – 18

BDNY 2017 – Nov 12 – 13

KBIS – Jan 9 – 11

Dallas Market– Jan 17 – 23

Wrap Up

If you would like to hear more episodes, please visit us on iTunes or on our website at Lastly, find The Chaise Lounge on InstagramFacebook, 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!

158 – Las Vegas Market Live: Christopher Kennedy

Las Vegas Market Live: Christopher Kennedy

Today in The Lounge, Nick talks with Christopher Kennedy LIVE from the Las Vegas Market in the Zuo Decor Showroom. Christopher and Nick discuss Christopher’s interior design past, how he runs his business with a team of four and advice for aspiring interior designers.

Getting to know Christopher

Christopher’s dream car is a Range Rover but right now he drives a Mini Cooper. His favorite color is green and his favorite fashion accessory is shoes. He also loves pocket squares. When he’s asked “Beer, wine, or cocktail?” Christopher responds with “a vodka soda.” Some of his favorite vacation spots are Jamaica, Aspen, Breckenridge, Hawaii and Puerto Vallarta. His favorite book he’s read in the last year is, The Magic and The Secret. Christopher’s dad gave him a lot of books before he passed away which he enjoys very much because it makes him feel like his dad is still with him. Christopher has recently launched a new art collection with Wendover Art Group which includes photography, paintings, collages and mixed media.

How Christopher Got His Start

Christopher wanted to be an Architect ever since he was about six or seven years old. His dad gave him his first book on Frank Lloyd Wright when he was about eight or nine. He was always drawing floor plans and elevations. Christopher went to school for a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture but about three years in, he realized it wasn’t exactly what he wanted to do. So he became a Disney Imagineer but, that didn’t work out either… After Christopher graduated, he was a stockbroker. He did that for a few years but wasn’t passionate about it either. So finally, in 2005 he moved to Palm Springs and reinvented himself. He went back to his roots in design and architecture.

Christopher grew up in San Francisco with his dad but later moved in with his mom who married a rocket scientist. They were transferred to Littleton, Colorado. Christopher still spent summers with his dad. Christopher received his first interior design job as an assistant to a project manager for Steve Chase Associates. While working for them he also worked a few side jobs and after nine months he believed he knew everything he needed to know to run his own business (at 28 years old). Thus, Christopher Kennedy Inc. was born. Although Christopher thought he knew everything back then, he says he’s still learning as he runs his business today.

The Business Today

Christopher Kennedy Inc only has four associates: himself, his husband David, his office coordinator Rosemary, and Joann who runs the retail division. He does have some part-time workers too. His retail location was added to the business three years ago. With it came added stress and extra expenses to Christopher’s life. On the other hand, the store attracted clients and made him more approachable. When the store first opened he stocked it with more of a couture collection, but now, he now focuses on design styles and affordable pieces. The store focuses all the little things people don’t realize that they need until they own a home. Christopher also has his own furniture line. He does about 80% of his projects in Palm Springs but also recently completed a job in Jamaica. His design aesthetic focuses more on a contemporary style with a twist of mid-century modern.

Christopher’s second book, Making Midcentury Modern was released in February 2017. It has 100 tips on how to bring style and ethos into your life. He was approached by a publisher who wanted a book on Midcentury Design. Writing a book did take time away from his clients, as well as money away from him that he could have been earning, but he’s proud to have his book published.

As far as marketing goes, Christopher receives clients mainly through referrals. Contrary to what you might think, his fame may have has cost him clients because people have told him they thought he was too busy or too expensive to do their home. One of his greatest marketing efforts is designing showhouses. Each year his firm renovates a classic Palm Springs property which is then displayed in Modernism Week in mid-February. It’s a fundraising event and all the money goes to the preservation of architecture. He’s done four showhomes so far since 2014.

Christopher’s Advice

Some advice Christopher has for interior design students is to take accounting classes, construction classes, and drafting classes. Being a working interior designer and serving your clients is a valid career path. There’s nothing wrong with being a designer and getting published every once in a while. The hardest part of running an interior design business is knowing how much to charge a client. There’s no standardized price and it can make both clients and designers confused. Christopher thinks that all designers should get together and create price points so everyone is on the same page. Some advice Christopher would give his younger self is not to give things away, “you are worth it.”

Keep up Christopher on his website and  Instagram. Buy his book and see his art collection on his website.

Wrap Up

If you would like to hear more episodes, please visit us on iTunes or on our website at 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!

157 – Las Vegas Market Live: Kelli Ellis

Las Vegas Market Live: Kelli Ellis

Today in The Lounge, Kelli Ellis joins Nick LIVE in Las Vegas at the Norwalk Lounge. Kelli discusses how she was constantly being called a rockstar SO she took it ran and now being a rock star is her brand! Kelli tells us about the projects she’s currently working on and gives advice on how to brand yourself. Kelli and Nick also talk about their time together in Spain earlier this year and how Nick got started with The Chaise Lounge Podcast.

Getting to Know Kelli

Kelli is from Las Vegas, Nevada. Kelli’s hair used to be brown, but in high school, it started changing to silver and white so, she decided to embrace the look. Now she is known for her iconic white hair, as well as having a pair of glasses and wearing bold red lipstick. Her favorite fashion accessory is the wrist cuff, like Wonder Woman, (as it’s her favorite movie).  When asked beer, wine, or cocktail, she chooses a cocktail… any cocktail with vodka. Kelli lives in Vegas, but does work in Orange County where she grew up, and where her dad was mayor. She loves Iris Apfel. Kelli’s guilty pleasure is that she’d rather pick up a fashion magazine before an interior design one. 

What’s New?

Kelli debuted a small art collection for Leftbank Art last year. Drawing has been a passion of hers since she was a little girl: she would draw all over the walls and anything she could get her hands on (including her dad’s law school notebooks). Kelli originally went to law school like her father, though the transition to design came about because she often decorated her friend’s and family’s homes in college. Thus, she decided to switch paths and go to the Interior Design Institute in Newport Beach, California. Her very first client now lives two blocks from her and Kelli apologizes constantly for the okay job she did fresh out of design school.

Kelli tries not to plan what is coming next but she does set goals for herself. She likes to live her career day by day and hopes to have a tv show where she can talk about design and travel the world while doing it. To get to where she is, Kelli has listened to her gut a lot!

Kelli has been working on some tv projects for HGTV on House Hunters Renovation. She is also currently working on two hotels, one located in Colorado Springs and another in Bend, Oregon. She has a fabric line as well as a lighting line that is coming soon! So be on the lookout. She’s scheduled to speak at Maison & Objet, in Paris AND to add to it all, Kelli is also working on some commissioned art pieces for Leftbank.

The Business Today

Kelli only has a staff of one, which is her assistant. She is able to manage her business this way because she is very good at time management and is diligent about her calendar. Kelli and her team only check their email twice a day; she believes that taking a breather from work and not overdoing it is one best things you can do for yourself and your business. She even set up an autoresponder informing anyone who emails her that she is not available and will get back to them as soon as she can.

Kelli is a designer who is not afraid to say no to new clients, because she knows that she will not have the necessary amount of time to give them right away, so, she puts new clients off for about six months. She finds this to be a good strategy for her and her prospective clients, as it gives them a chance to wait for her services, really think about what they want, and research her better. Kelli books herself full. Right now, she has three new construction projects, two hotels, tv work, licensing, and traveling time she’s planning. Kelli doesn’t waste any time, even before the podcast she was picking out Kravet fabrics for a client!

Kelli is EVERYWHERE and she does it all without a PR agency. She handles everything herself. If you see a picture of Kelli out there it is because that picture speaks to her brand and who she is. She gets her name out there by calling up every head of marketing that she knows and telling them she will be in town. Kelli’s first market was only five and half years ago, and now it feels like she is everywhere. A piece of advice from Kelli is, “The connections that you make every second are ALL very important.” She also says that you need to make yourself memorable. Kelli’s brand is her look and it makes her stand out from the rest.  “Make yourself unique, so you will get picked for that job because you stand out.”

When you’re trying to figure out what your brand is, don’t rely on yourself to make it. Ask someone what it is that makes you stand out (but don’t ask your family members). Ask what your look and business card says about you and capitalize on that. Kelli saw that people were calling her a “rockstar” so she embraced it and it became her identity. Kelli loves being a rockstar and following her acronym for R.O.C.K. which is: Relations Opportunity Courage and Kick Ass. She forges the relationships, sees the opportunity, has the courage to move forward and then kicks ASS.

How It All Started

Before Kelli started doing television she wanted to be a teacher. At Design Camp is where she began delivering inspiring speeches. Kelli offers a class that can teach you how to become a speaker at Market. She will pick apart your website and watch reels of you speaking to see that you can deliver in front of a crowd. You can start out by just having your friends and family as the audience. Speaking engagements are how Nick got his start at doing podcasts worldwide! It all began with the idea to do live events in Denver, CO to market his painting business, and educate designers on how to grow their business. He did this for about a year, and it got a great response from designers all over! Nick also happened to have a small background in podcasts from school. It was then that his idea for the podcast grew. Now he gets to travel and go to markets around the world and interview HUGE names in the industry. It just goes to show that if you want to do something, just go out and do it; no matter how small you may start out!

Kelli’s first licensing deal was with Tile Bar, and she says it’s still one of the best things she’s ever done. Tile Bar actually pursued HER. When people look at you and want you to do something, they tend to look at your social media numbers. They want to see how and what you do on social media, who influences you and if you hustle to promote yourself. Dezign Wall is a platform that is free and will help you promote yourself and what you are doing for free! As soon as you can get a license out you get more under your belt. If you’re looking to start a line of fabrics, InstaLinen is looking for designers with distinct aesthetics to do fabric lines with. Kelli will also be designing for them; tell them that Kelli Ellis sent you! You never know if you might get picked to do a line with them. Kelli always shares her information with others who are looking to work with somebody she may be able to connect them with.

Did Someone Say Spain?

Kelli and Nick got to spend some time in Barcelona together on a trip sponsored by Porcelanosa. Three interviews about the trip are coming out soon for you to hear ALL about it so keep an eye out!! Kelli entered Porcelanosa’s contest to go and they called her to let her know that she was automatically going and that someone else should have a chance to win the trip. This was an opportunity for Kelli to go to one of her favorite places on Earth. She had so much fun at this event with Nick because she actually showed up! Showing up for an event is one of the best things you can do for yourself because it shows that you are committed; you don’t just show up and then go home. Events are where you meet market heads and get yourself out there. Kelli will be doing a spin-off of design camp called Design Mastermind at every Vegas Market. Go on Kelli’s website and opt-in to do the mastermind and get on the mailing list.

Dezign Wall is a great way to talk about your story. When you share your story, it’s up to you to make it different and stand out. Talk about yourself and get your story out there! That is how Kelli is her own brand. Talk about why is it that you do what you do. Talk about what makes you unique. If you don’t know what makes you unique, sometimes you have to ask people, not a relative, and be ready for some honest opinions.


Design Manager If you’re not familiar with Design Manager, check them out, they have tutorials and videos to help get YOU started.

Porcelanosa Get to know Porcelanosa by visiting them at their showroom or going to their website!

Benjamin Moore They have SUCH great resources people, so specify and use them!!!

  • Upcoming Events

IDS – Oct 13 – 16

High Point Market – Oct 14 – 18

BDNY 2017 – Nov 12 – 13

KBIS – Jan 9 – 11

Dallas Market– Jan 17 – 23

Wrap Up

If you would like to hear more episodes, please visit us on iTunes or on our website at Lastly, find The Chaise Lounge on InstagramFacebook, 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!

156 – Las Vegas Market Live: Dann Foley


Las Vegas Market Live: Dann Foley

Today in The Lounge, Nick talks with Dann Foley LIVE from the Phillips Collection Showroom at Las Vegas Market. Dann talks about how interior design entered his life as a kid, about how he runs his business with a staff of three, and he gives YOU advice for a successful life and career.

Getting to Know Dann

Dann’s favorite fashion accessory is a blazer, he wears them all the time, even while living in the desert. His favorite vacation spot is Paris, which he calls his other home. To quote Audrey Hepburn, “Paris is always a good idea.” Dann has more than one room that he wouldn’t put on Instagram because he prefers his privacy… he doesn’t put any interior pictures of his home up on social media. When asked beer, wine, or cocktail, Dann chooses “none” because he doesn’t drink and he never has. Dann only drinks water: living in Palm Springs, where this summer the temperature reached 122 degrees, you simply can not leave the house without a bottle of water. Drinking water all the time is also really good for the skin.

Dann is gone for at least part of every month, traveling about 45% of the year. His favorite place to travel for business is Vegas Market because there is always something to do. When traveling, he can’t be without his shoes. Even though Dann has accomplished a lot in interior design, he believes that there are still more plateaus to climb and always more to do and learn.

How Dann Started in Interior Design

Dann has always had an interest in interior design. His mom loves to tell the story that when he was a kid, his parents were afraid to go out to dinner because he would always rearrange the furniture when they left the house. As a result, his parents made sure he went to design school and got his degree. Dann went to Drexel University in Philadelphia. The idea of design school there is:’ if you don’t have good taste, we can’t teach it to you.’ They show you everything you need to know in order to work as a professional in the industry. At Drexel, he went to school year-around and worked in the industry for a paid position. Dann was given an interview for this job through their placement office. He worked at the design firm while in school and when he graduated he was offered a job there, but turned it down to pursue his own business.

Dann has always looked really young. When he graduated from his university he met up with some clients, the builder and the general contractor, walked into the meeting and everyone’s jaws dropped. He looked too young to be the designer. His very first client was a friend of his parents whom he worked with while he was still in school to get extra credit for his degree. Dann’s first client outside of school was a developer, who built resorts. 

The Business Today

Dann’s firm is called Dann Inc., they are primarily an interior design firm, though today he would call Dann Inc. a lifestyle design business. Over the years, when you get involved in doing someone’s home, clients love having the full experience. Dann Inc. delivers a very personal touch, they weren’t just giving people rooms, they were giving them a whole new life. Dann has never just done a single room for a client because afterward, the client will want their entire home done, right down to their closet and the wardrobe. Dann Inc. will even plan the parties to show off the client’s new home, from designing the invitations to doing the catering menus and wardrobes. 

Dann launched his own product line, Dann Foley Lifestyle, about four years ago. It coincided with the NBC’s premiere of American Dream Builders, hosted by Nate Berkus. Dann’s first product launch was with Phillips Collection. He has a brand new collection being launched at High Point this October. His products are about people being able to take his pieces and layer them with your own pieces of art. These are collections you are supposed to play with and make your own.

Dann only has three full-time staff members and everyone else is on an ‘as needed basis.’ Dann does everything with his business partner Beau Stinnette. Beau works directly with the design clients and he allows Dann, to be Dann. About half of Dann’s job is public appearances. His line includes everything from accessories, to wall art, to mirrors, lighting, furniture, upholstery, rugs, outdoor furniture, and more! This year, Dann has made his first appearance on The Evine Channel. His third staff member is an assistant that they both share. Working with such an intimate staff things can get chaotic but, no matter what the situation is his team always stops working at 5:00, because there is no problem so big that can’t wait until the next day. He says this is very important because he’s worked seven days a week before, worrying about every last detail and things he had no control over, like delivery times. He figured out that there’s nothing more important in life than perspective.

As previously mentioned, Dann isn’t home most of the time, so he pays someone to clean his toilet but, when it comes down to it, and it has, he will clean his own client’s toilet to make a perfect reveal, making it his least favorite hat to wear at work. Dann’s favorite hats to wear at work are the presenting hat and the reveal hat. He still gets clients from knocking on doors, schmoozing, and kissing their butts. He says that no amount of advertising will ever make up for the one on one potentiality of getting a job. He can tell clients to go their website first, and then see if they still really want to work with him. Dann’s website shows a wide array of work from contemporary to modern to traditional or classic interiors.

He says that one of the best things you can do is align yourself with a really good realtor because they will always have a new client. If you want to do more and license yourself, the best thing you can do is attend markets. If you spend money in a showroom regularly, make sure they know who you are. Relationships and communication are key to succeeding in the business, Dann states. The easiest way to defuse any situation is to simply say, “I’m really sorry, I dropped the ball,” and give a sincere apology and move forward.

Dann considers himself a problem solver and he loves doing it in his job every day. Dann doesn’t believe in telling everyone how successful his business is because you never know when it could all just be taken away. He considers himself lucky to have all the business that he has and he really loves what he does. Dann trusts social media more than any ad out there when it comes to PR for his business. He is at the point where most of the PR comes to his business on its own, but his company doesn’t forget to mention themselves every now and then. He says the one thing you should know about social media is that there are more and more people using Instagram every day than there are on all other platforms combined. If you think you only have time for one social media, use Instagram. On Dann’s Instagram, they post about design inspiration and living well. Some of his tips to living are as simple as sweeping your doorstep and making your bed.

Dann’s Advice

Dann has been designing for 30 years. Some advice for his younger self would be to trust your instinct! There’s formula to design, you plan it and then you execute it. At first, Dann found it hard to say no to the client, but then he thought to himself… the day the client is okay with Dann coming into their office and doing their job, the client can do Dann’s job. Dann says, no one will ever fire you for doing your job the wrong way.

Advice for young designers is to always carry your tablet with your portfolio on it, no matter where you go. Whether or not it’s just a school project, post it on Instagram because that way you will always be ready to go and have published material in your pocket. A good way to watch trends in interior design is to keep an eye on fashion because it is constantly changing. Fashion will then influence the home. Also, it’s a great way to keep an eye on colors and patterns that will find their way to home design in 12-18 months. Everybody loves color but sometimes it takes a designer to get the client comfortable with it. If the client doesn’t like a paint color, it much easier to change out than a $12,000 sofa, so just change it. As designers, we make the choices to get the complete picture to come together, and if you don’t get that piece of furniture a client wants, just move on, so just keep moving forward.


Benjamin Moore If you need to specify a paint color or two, be sure to use Benjamin Moore and be sure that your contractor is using the correct color materials that you have specified.

Design Manager They will help you get all of your paperwork and invoicing together. It’s super simple, efficient, and low cost.

Porcelanosa They have showrooms all over the world! They are known for their ceramic tile products but they also have stone and LVT product,s as well as kitchen and bath products, faucets, shower enclosures and more.

Benchmade Modern You can order a couch by the inch and it will come to you within two weeks!!!

  • Upcoming Events

ICFF Miami – Oct 3 – 4

IDS – Oct 13 – 16

High Point Market – Oct 14 – 18 For a list of events Nick will be participating click HERE.

BDNY 2017 – Nov 12 – 13

KBIS – Jan 9 – 11

Wrap Up

If you would like to hear more episodes, please visit us on iTunes or on our website at 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!

155 – Las Vegas Market LIVE: Barrie Livingstone

Las Vegas Market LIVE: Barrie Livingstone

On this episode of The Lounge, Nick joins us LIVE from Las Vegas Market at Zuo Modern’s Tiki Bar with designer Barrie Livingstone. Barrie designs high-end million dollar homes and he LOVES his job: he was born to do it. On the episode, Barrie tells us stories about some of his celebrity clients, as well as about past projects he worked on around the world.

Getting to Know Barrie

When Barrie is asked beer, wine or, cocktail it’s always a cocktail; usually a clear drink like vodka or tequila. Originally from Manchester, England Barrie moved to Miami as a teenager at 14 years old. His career started in Miami Beach however he now lives in Malibu, California. Barrie also previously lived in Malaysia and Dubai for two years. He has been to 51 countries and 37 states and he always counts where he goes. Barrie loves to go back to the same places and finds himself a lot in the Caribbean, South America, and Italy. Capri & Amalfi are his favorite cities in Italy. Barrie’s favorite fashion accessories are shoes and socks. The most recent movie he’s seen is Best Friends with Burt Reynolds and Goldie Hawn.

Barrie’s favorite celebrity he has worked for is Dwayne Johnson, who he met in first class on a plane over Thanksgiving in Fort Lauderdale. After that, Barrie ended up designing his home. Barrie says that one of the best places to network and meet clients is in first class on a plane and this is where he’s met several of his clients.

How Barrie got into Interior Design

If you go to Barrie’s website it says “Barrie Livingstone since 1968” because he really feels like design is something he was born to do. As a child, he was obsessed with how people lived in Old English Manor houses with smaller furniture, smaller door heights, and smaller everything. Barrie thought he wanted to be an actor but instead, he acts out his fantasies with his clients doing interior design. He attended the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and got a four-year degree while he was working full-time. Barrie started working in January 1987 and his first day of school was in April 1987. This year he’s celebrating his 30th anniversary of doing Interior Design. Barrie’s first job outside of school was for a gentlemen in Parkland, Florida who owned those 1-900 and 976 “naughty” numbers back in the 80s.

After 7 years in Fort Lauderdale with the South Beach Design Group, Barrie realized he wanted to do bigger things out west and left for California. His dream was always to do television and movie star homes. One of his friends from design school worked on Versace’s house and then started working on Cher’s house, a 16,000 square foot home. Barrie went to visit the home and little did he know 6 months later he would be working on Cher’s house too, his first client in LA. He spent 8 months working on the home with 85 other people but working with Cher was easy, as she was very particular and knew exactly what she wanted. Barrie tells us that when working with a celebrity you feel very empowered because you’re at the beck and call of this powerful person.

The Business Today

One of Barrie’s current projects is for a friend who just bought a 9 million dollar home. Barrie also just got back from Panama working on a big project. He can’t say much about because he signed a non-disclosure agreement, but his work will be a global television project coming soon.

When Barrie was in High Point being interviewed for the “Ask a Designer” show with The Design Network, one of the questions he was asked was, ‘What is the craziest thing a client has asked for?’ This didn’t happen to him but to his assistant. Barrie was designing a penthouse for a client who happened to be gay and wanted a giant four post bed. There was some kind of material that needed to be dropped off at the house and Barrie told his assistant, fresh out of school, 22 years old, to do it. As she was walking in the client asked her to come up the bedroom and told her to tell Barrie that the bed needed to be screwed into the ceiling and the floor. Why? Well, because he needed to be able to tie people to it and restrain them so the posts needed to be bolted down. The assistant came running back to Barrie crying,” he’s a monster, he’s monster, he ties people to his bed!” All that can be said is his assistant was indoctrinated quite quickly.

What’s made Barrie so successful is complete devotion to what he does. He loves having design in his life and having nice things around him, whether it’s fabric, friends or people. When he first came back from Dubai, after a two-year hiatus from the U.S, he had no clients and didn’t know what to with himself. One day he went down to the Pacific Design Center to look at fabrics and had moments with all of this gorgeous fabric. He spent 3 hours there and it was his therapy. Barrie loves meeting people and calls himself a person addict.

Barries does real estate as well, flipping and staging homes. He only started doing this five years ago but it was the next natural process for him after being a designer and salesperson. Starting out in design, Barrie loves that he can tell his clients how much a flip its going to cost. One of his most recent listings is a 7 million dollar home that he did with his partner Andrew McDonald in Malibu. They went to the and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars buying furnishings and lighting and used Zuo Modern as well. He says it’s wonderful to create interior spaces and then sell them.

Barrie also has a book called, Interior Design Tips Every Realtor Should Know But Doesn’t. The book includes 68 tips on what to do with your home, based on Barrie’s expertise. One tip includes: cleanliness is next to godliness. If you take care of your property, treat it with dignity and respect, then it will treat you with dignity and respect all the way back. An example is with doorknobs, which are easy to change all the way throughout owning a home. Also, Lighting is expensive and you see cobwebs on it which is not a good look. Clean it. Simple as that. One of Barrie’s mottos, since he began designing, is a room should be beautiful without furniture. When you walk into space and fall in love, it should be with the floors, molding, and light fixtures. Furniture should be the accessory.

One hat Barrie doesn’t like to wear is the bookkeeping hat so he hires somebody to keep track of his figures. He knows what his weaknesses are and he knows he needs someone to watch them for him. His favorite hat to wear is the television and entertainment hat because he really does love entertaining people. Barrie’s dad would say that you always put yourself in the nicest home in the smallest area and that way you’re always surrounded by amazing people.

On top of doing residential, Barrie does Hospitality design as well. At the InterContinental hotel in Dubai, he got to design seven restaurants and four different room types. He worked 90 hours a week for three months to complete it. A future design project Barrie would like to do is a holistic spa that is a very [green]-friendly design.

Learn more at and don’t forget to say hi to Barry while you are there.


Porcelanosa carries everything from amazing porcelain tile to high-end cabinetry, furniture bathroom fixtures, faucets, toilets, and shower enclosures.

Benjamin Moore We apply hundreds of gallons of Benjamin Moore Paint to walls and cabinets every month. It’s our trustest product, why shouldn’t it be yours too?

Design Manager Use Design Manager to manage and organize your interior design business online all from one place, one platform.

Universal Furniture is our newest sponsor! Check them out!

  • Upcoming Events

ICFF Miami – Oct 3 – 4

IDS – Oct 13 – 16 *Put the code: CHAISELOUNGE to get a $100 discount through the end of September. For a chance to get a free ticket post an Instagram selfie in front of a showroom and have fun with it, tag it with #freedesignsummit.

High Point Market – Oct 14 – 18 *Sunday, Oct 15 Nick will be hosting a panel at High Point Market called Hospitality Insiders Share All: What it Takes to be a Designer in the Hospitality Sector

BDNY 2017 – Nov 12 – 13

KBIS – Jan 9 – 11

Wrap Up

If you would like to hear more episodes, please visit us on iTunes or on our website at 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!