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New York Designer

109 – Phillip Thomas: Kips Bay Designer Extraordinaire

Phillip Thomas

Phillip Thomas follows his passion

On this episode of The Chaise Lounge, Nick chats with Phillip Thomas, a New York interior designer on today’s podcast. Phillip talks about how he stays organized, his participation in Kips Bay, and utilizing a publicist.

Getting to know Phillip

Phillip Thomas is joining Nick from Midtown, Manhattan. Though he thrives in the city, Phillip enjoys relaxing and recharging his creative muscles in Bellport, a small town on Long Island. He stays organized with a neat stack of folders on his desk, a form of contained chaos. Phillip enjoys his library and his view of Central Park.

How did Phillip get involved in Interior Design?

Phillip Thomas was very involved in design as a child, creating beautiful spaces and attending auction houses with his parents. Later, after Phillip completed four years at Georgetown for Diplomacy, he decided to go back to school at the New York School for Interior Design. He graduated in the top of his class with seven job offers.

Phillip started working at Ingrao, where on day one he was tasked with transforming Jim Henson’s old townhouse into a contemporary family space. Phillip stayed for six years before starting his own firm. He always knew he wanted his own firm, but a project with someone moving back to the US afforded him the opportunity to make the leap.

What the Business Looks Like

Currently, Phillip’s company is made up of four full time and one part time employees, a bookkeeper, project managers and designers, who see the project through from the beginning to end.

Within the first year, Phillip hired his first employee as an investment in the company to enable growth. Each project has lots of moving parts. Phillip completes all of the design work and the project managers help him source what he needs.

How to get the word out

Phillip loves what he does, but is not the best at self-promoting. Just over a year ago, he started working with a publicist. The firm pushes him to try new things and make connections. He decided to start working with a publicist after he had created a library of work. Now he is grateful for the opportunities The Lady Lair at Kips Bay Showhousethat come along and even remembers the moment when he found out that Elle Decor was going to publish one of his projects.

Phillip has attended and been involved with Kips Bay for years. While it takes time to get business from the show, Phillip mentioned he always creates new contacts. He has also learned to finish his show rooms in advance to compensate for anything that comes up at the last minute. Beyond Kips Bay, Phillip and his team have projects all over the world, including New York, Paris, and Chile.

Much of Phillip’s business comes in through referrals. He uses social media to post meaningful content and reflect his personality. He also uses Design Manager to create presentations for clients, organize proposals, and keep the projects moving forward.

What’s next?


Phillip is continuing to grow his business and build relationships, organically and gradually. In the future, he would like to design fabrics and furniture. He believes everything happens for a reason.

Learn more Phillip’s website, Facebook, and Instagram.

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!

93 – Host of the new show Your, Mine, or Ours, Taylor Spellman

Taylor Spellman New York Interior Designer

Host of the new show Your, Mine, or Ours, Taylor Spellman

Today in the lounge I have an amazing interior designer and home stager, Taylor Spellman from New York, that has just launched a television show on Bravo called Yours, Mine, or Ours.

Get to know Taylor Spellman from New York (4:06)Taylor Spellman

Taylor is currently in SoHo. She loves a heavy-bodied red wine, her bedroom because sleep is scarce, and her family’s annual tradition of vacationing to Rhode Island.

How did Taylor get into interior design? (10:10)

Taylor has not had any formal training or education within the interior design field, but rather attended Fordham University for dance. She then moved to New York to continue dancing, but soon realized a disconnect between the lifestyles of the people around her – great jobs, nice restaurants, a tasteful wardrobe, but they go home to a nightmare apartment and drink wine out of plastic cups!

She turned this observation into a business that took off. She catered her interior design business to single men to start, but in time women and families showed interest. Taylor fondly remembers her first client, Sal, from nine years ago, who showed proof of concept for what some thought was a far-fetched idea.

What does Taylor’s business look like today? (14:30)

While the bachelor focus was a great launch-pad and competitive advantage, the business has been rebranded as Taylor Spellman New York. Taylor’s seven person firm focuses on high-end residential design as well as staging too.

Taylor saw staging as an opportunity due to lack of competition in the market, with just one other prominent company. Like interior design, the is a self-trained stager. She had the opportunity to stage one of Ryan Serhant’s listings,which had been on the market for years. After Taylor’s staging, there was a bidding war and now she works with Ryan regularly.

Being on TV (19:15)

Taylor’s show Yours, Mine, or Ours launched this week. It’s a 10 episode series that’s both funny and kind. In each episode Taylor and Reza Farahan (from Shahs of Sunset) meet with a couple who each have their own homes. Taylor resolves the design issues in their current homes, while Reza shows the couple two new homes. In the end, the couple must choose between these four options.


The Taylor Touch (25:16)

As Taylor’s company grows, she has had to be lessTaylor Spellman Interior hands on, which she mentioned is good, but challenging. She is learning to delegate and oversee. Taylor is still involved with initial meetings and consultations, but then hands projects off to her team for execution. She is able to keep things moving forward, and then provide some finishing touches – The Taylor Touch.

Taylor also mentioned that she is present on all home staging projects. Her goal is to maximize the price per square foot, not just provide a beige couch and a taupe rug. She wants to make everyone feel at home instantly.

How did Taylor learn to do this if she didn’t go to school? (32:00)

Taylor Spellman has always loved interior design. She decided to do what she thought was right for her and make it work. To some degree, it is innate and instinctual. In the beginning she received feedback about not having a portfolio, education, or ASID behind her name, but didn’t let that stop her.

As of Monday, Taylor got what she wanted. Her company is up and running. She is helping others turn their home into the sacred space they need. And her TV show is launching. She is sleeping better than ever, until the next challenge arises!

Business and beyond (37:02)

It has taken Taylor ten years to get to this point. She now feels comfortable taking interviews. She has her point of view on design. In order to get her business to this point, Taylor has had to put processes in place and make the company scalable. She is moving into the lifestyle market with flower arrangements and table scapes and hopes to be the next modern day Martha Stewart!

If you would like to connect with Taylor Spellman, please visit taylorspellman.com and check out Yours, Mine, or Ours Monday nights on Bravo at 10/9C

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!


82 – Robin Baron: New York Interior Designer, TV personality, and ASID chapter President

Robin Baron Design

Robin Baron: New York Interior Designer, TV personality, and ASID chapter President

Live from New York City, your Nick May and Robin Baron in NYCHost Nick May interviews Robin Baron, and HGTV network star designer, on today’s episode of The Chaise Lounge.

A New York City girl, ‘born, bred and raised,” Robin states when asked how she became interested in Interior Design, “You know, it just is a part of my being, I’ve known since I’m a very young girl, maybe 9 years old, I started writing compositions for my grade school about wanting to be an interior designer and my equal passion was fashion design. I’ve always known it and actually started my career in fashion and then transitioned into Interior Design.”

Robin actually studied fashion and interior design simultaneously in school, starting her education on the east coast before transferring to UCLA to complete her degree, but leaned into a fashion design career after graduation. Robin describes to Nick her very first collection in fashion, and how she started her own business at just 19 and 20 years old.

“I moved back to New York, and the truth is, the fashion industry is a very tough industry, it’s a tougher business. I really started doing interior design because clients started to approach me to do their homes and their apartments. I was doing some antique dealing on the side as a hobby, and it sort of blossomed. What I loved about it was; I do have a bigger impact on people’s lives by working on their homes.” Robin describes as her transition from fashion to interior design.robin baron commercial

Robin Baron Design is a nice sized, full service firm comprising of 6-7 full time staff members mostly focusing on residential, with a small amount of hospitality and commercial design. Tune in to hear Robin tell Nick about the areas of the country she’s worked and the first growth of her interior design business. “Over the years, I’ve definitely grown, I have been bigger in the past in terms of staff, but I felt I had to make a decision ‘how big do I want to get?’ I really wanted to have my fingers on the pulse of every job.”

Nick asks Robin when she first felt the need to take on help, and how she identifies people that will be a good fit for the company, “I think you have to first define ‘what are your goals?’ because unless you know what you’re a goals are, you don’t know how to set a blueprint or a plan to get there. That also applies to who you hire and when you hire them. I wanted positive people around me, someone who’s jaded or negative does not jive with my own sensibilities, so understanding who you are and how you work is very important.”

Robin is the current ASID President of New York Metro which significantly impacts her schedule among other things in her business, “it’s a lot of extra work but it’s very rewarding.” Robin talks about her goals she had when she started in this position with Nick. Robin has been featured many times on television, “The more high profile you are, the more things come to you. I think this goes back to talking about ‘what are your goals?’ My goal was to do TV and to be a spokesperson and to be a little more public and so I’ve taken steps and done things to help prod that along a bit.” Be sure to listen to the show to hear Robin list a few of those specific steps that she’s taken to get to where she is today, especially with the TV roles. Robin talks about how her TV appearances have brought her new clients and how being herself in that role helps attract clients.

Robin attributes her success to “my positive attitude, giving 1,000%, which I know we all do, I give without expecting the same thing back and I think being authentic, being true to who you are and what your beliefs, and belief structure is and you know, working like a dog!” She also talks about how everyone defines success differently.

When it comes to time management Robin states, “It’s definitely a challenge on a day to day basis, and I do try to take it one day at a time. I try to give as full attention as I can to what’s in front of me. Often it’s the shiniest thing that gets my attention, and having a great staff certainly helps. They help me organize my time; sometimes they have to force themselves to be the shiniest thing!”

Nick and Robin discuss social media and marketing and specifically the power of video as a media for marketing. “We all have our marketing tools at our finger tips with social media, so it’s critical that we know our goals and we take what we do and make them work for us.” Nick talks about how to use social media creatively, and how you don’t necessarily need to spend a lot of money to get yourself out there.

As far as what is next for Robin, “I’m working with an agent; I’m working on some licensing deals that are coming out soon, more TV and spokesperson gigs, among other new things that will be announced soon!” To learn more about Robin and see some of her amazing work visit www.robinbarondesign.com or follow her @_robinbaron on Instagram.

If you are interested in joining me up in Vail, CO next week, please register for the Vail Social Media Summit for Aug 2-3. 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!