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Celebrity Designer

S24 E11 – Celebrity designer Krista Watterworth talks balancing her TV and design careers, building teams, Vanilla Ice, and life in Florida!

Welcome! Today in The Lounge, Nick sits down with Florida-based celebrity designer Krista Watterworth. Krista is perhaps best known for her appearances on HGTV and the Food Network but she has also achieved stellar success in Palm Beach with her all-female owned and operated design firm Krista + Home.

In this episode, Krista discusses the pathway to her success and goes deep into her design philosophy and process. She provides burgeoning designers invaluable advice for building relationships, marketing, how to succeed in an evolved retail environment, and she also shares insight on her fascinating career working with Vanilla Ice!

S21 E18 – Jeff Andrews

Welcome to the Chaise Lounge. High Point Market starts tomorrow, but- today- is Chaise Lounge Friday where Jeff Andrews of L.A.’s Jeff Andrews Design. This week, Andrews dropped his new book “The New Glamour: Interiors with Star Quality” and he tells Nick all about how and why he works with celebrities like Kaley Cuoco and several Kardashians.

99 – Jarret Yoshida: A Philanthropic Interior Designer

Interior Design Jarret Yoshida

On this episode of The Chaise Lounge, Nick chats with Jarret Yoshida, a philanthropic interior designer. Jarret talks about breaking into the design industry, running his own business, and his passion for working with charities.

Get to know Jarret Yoshida 

Currently living in Brooklyn, NY, Jarret has also lived in Washington DC, Los Angeles, Tokyo, and was born and raised in Hawaii. He has loved living in each of these locations for different and unique reasons including the culture, climate, and community. Similarly, Jarret’s favorite vacation spot is Florence, Italy for the beauty of the architecture and design. He and his partner are currently renovating the parlor of their 120+ year old brownstone and are excited to continue the legacy of this historic home.

How did Jarret get into interior design? 

At just seven years old, visiting a family friend, Jarret first remembers being concerned with his surroundings, specifically considering whether cinder block or lava rock would be a better option. Jarret has no formal interior design education, but does possess a double undergrad in East Asian Studies and International Relations, both of which have helped in his design business.

After school Jarret started working in political fundraising. He soon started supplementing his day job with design studies in Paris as well as the Fashion Institute of Technology and Parsons. He let his donors know of his design interest and got his first job as a Design Assistant through one of these connections. Jarret mentioned that it can take some time to find someone to give you a shot, but recommended being persistent. Within two months of this role, Jarret was thrown into the role of Project Manager and eventually encouraged by a client to start his own firm.

What does Jarret’s business look like today? 

Today, Jarret employs three full time and seven part time associates. And with one associate now in school at FIT, he is seeking a design assistant with a positive attitude and ability to multi-task. Almost all of the firm’s work is residential in Hawaii and New York. With Jarret’s educational background, he is able to source from all over the world for unique items and great pricing. He touches every project.

Challenges in running an interior design business 

Jarret said that the hardest part about running the business is the actual operations: how to invoice, collect money, get paid in full, etc. Without a business background, he has lost more money than he wants to admit, but is learning from it. Jarret is willing to share any mistakes to help others learn. He wants to leave something for someone else to build on. Jarret said that no interior designer can be responsible for a client’s happiness, but they are responsible for delivering on a project.

Charging what you are worth 

Jarret charges the standard rate for his peer group in New York. The market is changing based on information availability online. When there is a pressure to lower rates, the relationship usually never works out. Jarret uses a hybrid model including an hourly rate during the design phase and a fixed model for the rest of the project called Net + 30. Net + 30 means that the Interior Designer charges their net price on an item plus thirty percent of that cost as an administrative fee.

What Jarret loves about owning the business 

In running his own business, Jarret loves being in charge of his own path and steering his own ship. He enjoys learning about himself as a person and a business owner. As the firm rises and falls, so does his self worth and awareness of strengths and weaknesses. Jarret has been able to improve his work-life balance to be more available for his partner, and like Nick, enjoys an afternoon trip to the gym.

Getting the phone to ring 

Jarret works with Kendall at Kennedy Rowe PR, who helps him focus on marketing and networking. In addition, he shared his passion for and interest in non-profits. Jarret is involved with Womankind, The Dream Foundation, Brooklyn Animal Action, and

The American Cancer Society. Not only has this involvement been good for Jarret’s soul, but has also taught him leadership skills and has led to referrals from fellow board members.

To learn more about Jarret, please visit JarretYoshida.com.

Side note…

So after talking with Jarret, while looking over his website, I realized that he worked for one of my favorites!  Daniel Craig!  Yes, Jarret worked for 007 and lived to tell the tail.  While I try not to get too hung up with names and client lists, this one stood out, so I thought I would share.  Click on the image below, and it will take you to Jarret’s portfolio to see more images.

Interior design by Jarret Yoshida

Chaise Lounge Updates

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!

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!

90 – Two Different Interior Designers: Charlotte Dunagan and Garrow Kedigian

Interior designers Charlotte Dunagan and Garrow Kedigian

Two Different Interior Designers: Charlotte Dunagan and Garrow Kedigan

I have a BIG show today. Two very different interior designers: one from New York, whose design aesthetic is more classical in nature, and one from South Florida, very contemporary.

Garrow Kedigian

Garrow was born and raised in Montreal, Canada where he attended the prestigious McGill University’s Architecture program.  After completing his formal education, Garrow moved to Boston, MA where he gained six years of experience at the renowned offices of interior designer William Hodgins—before deciding to take a bite out of the “Big Apple.” Garrow has been in New York since relocating in 2000. After working for several design powerhouses in New York City, Garrow established his own design firm in 2001.

Garrow’s classically trained architectural background is the foundation for most ogarrow-kedigian-napolian-roomf his interior design work, stating, “The architecture is what sets the tone and tells you what you need to do with a space.”

Garrow and I first met at the Kips Bay Show House in New York this spring.  He designed an amazing room he called The Napolian Lounge, where he worked with a local chalk artist to create a temporary design on the walls to replicate trim and architectural detail.  The room was a big hit at the show and garnered Garrow in the pages of the New York Times.

Garrow and I talk about how he got into interior design, working with his staff, and the some of the amazing projects he has worked on, as well as current projects. Garrow is definitely an interior designer to watch.

Charlotte Dunagan

The daughter of an interior designer and antique dealer, growing up in Paris Charlotte was born into a world of design. Working and traveling alongside her parents throughout Europe she developed a trained eye for exceptional workmanship and the quality of collectible pieces of art and furnishings.

From these artistic roots, Charlotte began her formal art education at the MGM School of Design in Nice, France, where she studied graphic design, fashion, and interior design.  Building on this strong arts foundation and specializing in interior design, Charlotte continued and completed her studies in 1997 at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design. Upon graduation, Charlotte received the Most Outstanding Thesis and Academic Excellence Awards.

Charlotte DunaganCharlotte Dunagan Design Group specializes in high end, large scale residential and boutique commercial projects.

Charlotte and I talk about how her mother influenced her decision to go into interior design, and here eventual move from Paris to school in the United States, and eventually deciding to stay in South Florida to run her own interior design firm.

We did talk about a lot of aspects of running her business, but what impressed me the most was her dedication to her team, and finding the help she needed to run the business of interior design.  Charlotte started working with a business coach and saw amazing results.

Wrap Up

I found it interesting that both interior designers on today’s show talked about the importance of working for a successful interior design firm before jumping into business themselves.  Two very different storied, but both examples of what is possible if you decide to build your own interior design firm.

If you would like to hear more episodes, please visit us on iTunes or on our website atTheChaiseLoungePodcast.com.  Lastly, find The Chaise Lounge on Instagram, Facebookand 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!

87 – Marc Thee: Best Interior Designer in the world?

Marc-Michaels Interior Design

Marc Thee: Best Interior Designer in the world?

Today on the lounge, we welcome two guests: Rachel Moriarty gives a quick glimpse into her business and experience on the Chaise Lounge Advisory Committee, then we hear from Marc Thee about his 30+ years in the business.

Up first, Rachel Moriarty!

Rachel is a solopreneur out in San Diego where she specializesrustic coastal in making spaces look new with vintage or already owned items. Rachel originally got her start in Visual Merchandising and Photo Styling so it was a completely organic shift into She joined the Chaise Lounge Advisory Committee to lend a voice for other solopreneurs like her who might be working alone at home on the sofa, but are still running a stellar design business.

She and Nick dive deep on keeping up with Facebook’s ever-changing algorithm, which most recently favors live stream video. Rachel, an introvert herself, says you just have to get over the initial jitters of broadcasting live and then it gets easier and easier. And even if nobody tunes into watch you live, you still get interaction after the fact.

To get herself on a consistent schedule, Rachel has been doing a 30-Day Facebook Live Stream challenge. She’s on Day 21, with videos ranging from 5-7 minutes, and she’s already landed 3 projects from her efforts.

Let’s model Rachel’s success! I invite you to join me in your own 30-day Facebook Live Stream Challenge. Starting September 1, tag your posts with #TCL30days and @thechaiselounge to join a group of Interior Designers who are looking for the next step in their Marketing game.

And now onto Marc Thee!

Outdoor Living Room Marc Michaels

In the beginning

Marc originally came into the industry after an opportune internship with Betsy Godfrey that led to a full-time position once he graduated. She really took him under her wing and showed him the ropes. Just three years later, Marc borrowed $25,000 to open his own showroom. It was slow for about the first year and a half, but the rest was, as they say, history. He’s now been in business for 30 years with a staff of 65-70 employees. Being in Florida means he’s had the chance to focus mainly on vacation homes ranging from $3-$80 Million in value. They tackle both new-build and remodel projects.

Building a Team

He hasn’t done it alone, though. He attributes much of his success to the great relationship he has with his business partner, Michael Abbott. Michael takes care of the numbers, allowing Marc to focus on the creative aspects of the business.Losing control in the end design is often one of the fears people have about hiring employees. Here’s what Marc has to say about that: “Are there 10% of the decisions made by my staff different than the ones I would have made? Hell yeah, but 50% of those decisions were probably better than the decisions I would have made.” Marc also notes that they “try to pair an incredibly creative person with an incredibly organized person.” He’s found that normally people tend to lean to one side of the spectrum, but can learn a lot of valuable skills from someone on the opposite side.

Designers who work for him also have a clear budget to follow on each project so they can get started purchasing right away. “Our designers know that they can spend 42% on furniture, 12% on fabric, and 10% on artwork.”


Marc notes that, perhaps above all else, Interior Design is an exercise in logistics. “90% of what we do is production. It’s fighting for every single thing we order. The days of picking up the phone and ordering a piece of furniture and thinking it’s actually going to show up, that doesn’t exist.”

“And for it to all collide…the thousands of things that all have to happen when those five trucks pull up that day that you’re finally installing after two years of construction, wow. The fact that we can bring it all in for a landing within 3-5 days… it’s a feeling like no other. And it’s also exhausting!”

Building a Team

Yacht Interior Design Marc MichaelsWith so many moving parts, it’s inevitable that something will go wrong. Being in business for 30 years means learning to roll with the punches. Marc has learned how to turn “mistakes” into amazing outcomes and to also take things with a grain of salt. As long as you keep in constant communication with the client, it’s not the end of the world if a furniture piece is backordered.  At the end of the day, Marc says, they are selling an environment. It’s about the “emotional tug.” So it’s ok if one item is not a masterpiece.

What has made Marc and his team so successful? Marc says, “We do not have big egos, we listen, and people enjoy working with us. We take an interest in making their lives better.”

You can find Marc at http://www.marcthee.com/ and Marc-Michaels Interior Design at http://www.marc-michaels.com/.

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 atTheChaiseLoungePodcast.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!

83 – Vanessa DeLeon: Reality TV Designing Star

vanessa deleon and associates

Vanessa DeLeon:  Reality TV Designing Star

Joining me today in the lounge is my new friend Vanessa DeLeon, an interior designer based out of New York. A featured designer on the hit shows Restaurant Impossible-The Food Network, HGTV’s Generation Renovation, Designer Challenge, Bang for your Buck, Design Star, DIY’s Rev Run’s Renovation, Ice Loves Coco, and Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing. She has made guest appearances on The Better Show, NBC’s Today Show, and is a contributing designer for Open House NYC. Vanessa had a segment on PIX 11 “Vanessa to the Rescue” and was a featured host and designer for You Tube’s Channel Spaces TV ” Your Place is a Deal Breaker”.

In my normal fashion, I start our conversation asking Vanessa how she got into interior design, where she tells be about growing up in her family’s furniture business.  No doubt this is where she learned her love for interior spaces and her drive to work hard. From there we talk about her experiences on numerous designer reality shows and the resulting effects on her interior design firm.

One of the biggest themes that came out of talking with Vanessa is how hard it is to build an interior design firm.  From the outset, a lot of people could look at her and determine that it is a lot of luck and good fortune.  In reality, if Vanessa had not shown up each day to figure out how to leverage each opportunity and maximize her exposure, she would not be sitting on a successful design business.  To balance out her abilities and her time, she had to find someone that would be present and action on her design vision on her projects.  Vanessa talked about finding that person in her right hand project manager Tim Davis.  As the business owners, we need to find those people that compliment and can do the things that we either do not like doing, or that we are not as skilled at.  Vanessa shared that she does not like to deal with the production side of things.  From my point of view, if she didn’t have a competent project manager, her company would not be as successful. 

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!