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California Designer

250 – Barrie Livingstone: The Endless Horizons of Design

Hey everyone! Today in the Lounge, Nick chats with Barrie Livingstone for the 250th episode! The two talk about the growing Airbnb design market, Barrie’s new book, selling homes, and Luca Boffi’s new endeavor.

133 – Sanja Radovanovic: Home Staging from Rome

Sanja Radovanovic: Home Staging from Rome

On this episode of The Chaise Lounge, Nick chats with Sanja Radovanovic on home staging, her ambassadorship with IAHSP in Europe, and what’s next for her in the world of home staging.

Getting to know Sanja Radovanovic

Sanja Radovanovic, born in Serbia, currently lives in Rome, after residing in at least eight other countries. She met Nick at the International Association of Home Staging Professionals (IAHSP). Sanja speaks five languages and loves men’s watches, sunglasses, and high heels. She also enjoys Nutella and wine.

How Sanja got into design

Sanja states that interior design has always been a part of her. As a child, her mother’s job kept the family moving, which meant constant renovations and redesigns. Now, she is married to a diplomat, which keeps her family moving as well.

She has been involved with IAHSP over the last year and is on the board of directors. IAHSP is the longest running industry association and is dedicated to advancing the education for stagers and realtors. The organization provides ongoing education throughout the US and is expanding into Europe.

For Sanja, the switch from interior design to home staging came naturally. She was always attending open houses, though she mentions it’s a tough market educating clients on what staging is. She prepares a home to bring in top dollar in the least amount of time.

Sanja initially established her business in Chicago but has moved, again and again, restarting from scratch, feeling like she has to work twice as hard. She relies on social networks, industry associations including IAHSP, and professional relationships to build her business wherever she is.

What her business looks like

Sanja has never worked for someone else. She has always run her own firm. Interior design clients ask for home staging when selling, and then ask for help designing their new home after they’ve moved. Much of her business has been brought in through word of mouth.

Sanja mentions that interior design requires designing for someone else, which means you need to listen and understand what they need and want, whereas staging is for a home must appeal to a wide number of individuals, so it can sell, not the current owner.

What’s next

Sanja is investing a lot of time and effort with IAHSP expanding across the globe. In Rome, there is less design work currently due to economy, but IAHSP founder, Barb Schwarz, says, “The world is full of money, you have to find it.”

Learn more at Staged Homes and The Art of Staging.

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  • Wrap Up

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!

85 – Jenn Feldman: Accidental Interior Designer Killing it!

Jenn Feldman Designs

Jenn Feldman: Accidental Interior Designer Killing it!

Joining me in the Lounge today is my friend Jenn Feldman, owner Jenn Feldman Designs.  She is out in Cali, and growing an incredible design business…all by accident.  Let me explain.  So, she entered a contest as a homeowner that has designer her own interior.  The contest just happens to be put on by Oprah, she wins, and the next thing she knows, she has Nate Berkus in her house for a photo shoot. After the show airs, she starts getting inquiries from people wanting her to design their homes.  After the show re-airs six months later, she takes the cue, quits her PR business, and heads straight into interior design.  I love how each road into interior design is different.

The Accidental Start

Like many successful designers we come across, Jenn came into Interior Design from a different path. She had been living and working in New York in Public Relations when love called and she moved to LA. New to the West coast entirely, she was in the midst of re-starting her career in PR when an opportunity presented itself– an opportunity with the likes of Nate Berkus and Oprah Winfrey.

For a special in Oprah’s O At Home magazine, Nate was looking to feature homeowners in who had decorated their own homes. Jenn applied, almost in secret, only to be chosen as the winner and featured on Oprah’s Home Run Homes segment. After that, calls started rolling in. It took Jenn a while to wrap her mind around a career change, though. When the show aired again, she got a second chance and went for it.

Through a lot of trial and error, she found the formula that worked for her. In many ways not having the education or mentor to model her business after allowed her to create a business that’s truly original and ones that’s completely authentic to her values. It’s still hard for her to put a finger on exactly how she did it. She worked hard, with a lot of integrity, but also feels like there was just an innate talent inside. “I don’t always know how to define what I know, but I know that I know it.”

The Firm Today

Today she works in both residential and commercial design with a team of five employees. It was the geographical nature of the work that prodded her to hire her first employee. A big part of the business is showing up on the job site and it eventually became clear that she couldn’t physically be all places at once.

She still makes sure that each project has her touch and that she is the main point of contact for the client. Being an artist at heart, it is very important to her that she stay connected to the creative process. “I am still to this day the only one who shops for bookcase accessories because it’s just my favorite part and it’s my art and it’s the thing I can do, and somehow it’s just not replicable.”

What’s next for Jenn? She’ll continue to tweak the business, experiment with new marketing techniques, and keep changing as technology changes. To learn more about Jenn and see some of her amazing work visit www.jennfeldmandesigns.com or follow her @jennfdesigns on Instagram.

Wrap Up

If you are interested in posting a job you have in your design firm (you need an intern, a JR designer, a SR designer, etc) please visit our new Job Board for interior designers.  If you are looking for an internship in interior design, an interior design job, or anything related, see our open jobs.

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!

27 – Everage Design: Interior Design as a family affair

Everage design


Today in the Lounge I have the first husband and wife team, John and Krista Everage started Everage Design over 30 years ago and make a fantastic pair. rustic modern Their now grown children have decided to join them in the design firm, and each have their areas of expertise.  John has a masters in fine arts from the Art Institute of Chicago and Krista has a degree in interior design and a minor in architecture from the University of Cincinnati.

esquireStarting in 1986, Krista started Everage Design after working at a prestigious design firm in Los Angeles.  John joined her in 1989 as the firm was needing more help.  Mostly they focus on residential projects, but they do get asked to work on the occasional restaurant and office space.   John works a lot with the contractors and architectural details, and Krista specializes in furniture and soft treatments.  Together they build the vision and concept and manage each project as a team.

In our conversation, we talked about how they got started, Krista’s first client that landed her in Architectural Digest.  Not bad out of the gate!  They have continued to find lots of media coverage, and even landed themselves in Esquire Magazine once or twice.  We also talked a bit about their work outside of Cali.  Everage Design had the opportunity to work on one of the most famous home in my neck of the woods…Cableland, build by cable mogul Bill Daniels.cableland in Denver

So thankful to have the opportunity to have John and Krista on the show to share their unique story.  To learn more about them, go to her website at Everagedesign.com.

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

26 – Kari Whitman: Hollywood’s Designer

Kari Whitman Interiors

Kari Whitman, Hollywood’s Interior Designer

Today in the lounge we have Hollywood’s most sought-after designer, who works with some of the most sought after celebrities, Kari Whitman. Clients including Jessica Alba, Kristen Bell,Virginia Madsen, Emilio Estevez, Don Henley, Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas have flocked to her firm Kari Whitman Interiors for her trademark eclectic style and knowledge of eco- and pet-friendly design. The elegant and inviting spaces she’s created have been featured inKari whitman and jessica alba In Style, Home and Décor, GENLUX and US Weekly, among others. Her most recent design for royalty was featured on the cover of the Spring 2012 issue of Luxury Home Quarterly.  A noted producer, Kari Whitman hosted and produced her own show Designer to the Stars on the WE Network, was a featured designer on The Dude Room on The Discovery Channel, and is currently developing several new shows about pet-friendly and green design. She has been a special correspondent for Extra and has appeared on E, The Today Show, Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, Inside Edition and Hollywood Green. As an actress, Kari Whitman has appeared in over 60 TV shows and films and has worked with Sean Penn, Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Don Johnson, Charlie Sheen, Judd Nelson and Martin Sheen.  So, not to brag, but (cough, cough), I think I’ve done a pretty good job and bringing the heat today.

kari whitman with ace

Kari Whitman, her love for Interior Design

Kari Whitman’s true passion is animals and she is also the founder of Ace of Hearts Dog Rescue . This non-profit organization is dedicated to rescuing dogs from Los Angeles County shelters the day they are scheduled for euthanasia and finding them loving homes—a mission that has saved the lives of over 2,000 dogs in the past ten years. In 2008, Kari Whitman merged her passions—dogs, design and the environment—with Greener Pup (www.greenerpup.com), her original line of eco-friendly dog beds. Designer covers are made from overstock or discontinued fabrics, preventing thousands of yards of material from being discarded.

In our time together, we covered a lot of ground. Kari Whitman shared with me how she transitioned into interior design after college, and after starting a successful modeling and acting career.  We talked about working with some of her celebrity clients like Emilio Estevez and Melanie Griffith.  We talked about a lot of fun topics like art, her love for Boulder, CO, working around the world, and finding the right staff.  However, what was truly fun to talk about was our shared love for dogs and her non-profit Ace of Hearts Dog Rescue.

Learn more about Kari Whitman

Kari Whitman is such a busy designer, and it was an honor to have so much time with her.  To learn more about Kari Whitman, go to her website at KariWhitmanInteriors.com.

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

15 – Fu-Tung Cheng: Kitchen designer turned whole home designer

Cheng Design House 6

Photographed by Matthew Millman


Fu-Tung Cheng

Photographed by Matthew Millman

Photographed by Matthew Millman

  • Based out of: Berkeley, CA
  • Where did you go to school:  UCLA and Univ. of CA at Berkeley
  • Drink preference:  Beer, wine, then a cocktail
  • Favorite place to work:  Puerto Rico
  • When did you start designing: at 38 – 17 years ago
  • Computer preference:  Mac
Photographed by Matthew Millman

Photographed by Matthew Millman

Starting as a kitchen designer, Fu-Tung owner of  Cheng Design, has become a very noted and successful designer.  He has a line of hoods that he designs for  Zephyr, he is a published author, documenting his work, was nominated into the National Kitchen and Bath Hall of Fame,  he designs homes all over California, and has a boutique line of sculptural concrete countertops — Geocrete™ .  Fu-Tung came to Denver to present on designing with concrete at an event I attended.  conc_at_home bookHis story of building a unique design firm was very interesting, and I thought it would be awesome to have him on the podcast.

To get in touch with Fu-Tung, contact him through his website at Chengdesign.com

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