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273 – Entrepreneurs Justin Riordan and Bria Hammel

Over the weekend, The Chaise Lounge posted a version of this episode that mistakenly included an older conversation with Bria Hammel instead of a more recent conversation (that came as the result of the first conversation). This episode was uploaded to replace the one posted on Saturday and now includes Nick’s chat with Bria, as well as the full explanation of “Cocktails and Conversations”, and how to 10 people will be able to get free copies.

Today in The Lounge, Nick sits down with designer Bria Hammel, as well as Justin Riordan of Spade and Archer. Nick and Bria focus on the trivialities of managing teams and finding the work-life balance. Justin and Nick discuss a variety of topics including cheerleading, drawing floor plans, and of course, everything that home staging encapsulates.

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 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!

135 – Industry: Can We Talk Green Design?

Industry: Can we talk Green Design?

On this episode of The Chaise Lounge, Nick chats with Phyllis Harbinger, interior design industry expert. Nick and Phyllis get into green design, what that means, and how to incorporate these design principles in residential projects.

Specifying Sustainable Products in Residential Design

Phyllis Harbinger joins Nick in The Lounge while wrapping up a busy school year at FIT. She kickstarts the conversation by informing us that clients aren’t asking for green design, and honestly, aren’t necessarily open to it either. Phyllis lets us know though that the more natural and sustainable a product is, the better off the environment and even the client is.

Phyllis and her class were recently able to visit Material Connexion, which she referred to as ‘a candy store for designers.’ Phyllis recalls a specific wallcovering that was a grass-like cloth which absorbed odors and even cleaned the air.

Green design and green products temd to find their way into commercial projects more often than residential, so it is important that designers start educating clients. It may take more time to discover these products and put together green spaces but it’s not always at a higher cost. Green Design may be a challenge, but it’s rewarding. Resources for repurposing items include local antique stores and online sources such as 1stDibs, Previously Owned by a Gay Man, etc.

How to Know if Product is Green

Many times it can be as simple as a label on textiles stating it as a recycled good, but if not, you may need to research the content and where it was made. Often, importing from across the globe can “undo” the good of a “green” product by increasing its carbon footprint.

Phyllis notes vinyl wallcoverings and certain carpets as not environmentally friendly, while cork is a better option, or even opting to refinish wood floors rather than replacing them. She also recalls a project where it was more “green” to install a new floor on top of an old one, rather than tearing it out.

Nick also encounters environmental issues in his business. In the past, low and zero VOC products were significantly more expensive. This cost was a hurdle that prevented his customers from making the switch.

When this difference decreased, Nick and his company decided to make the change across the board – not only for environmental reasons but also for the health of his crew.

Phyllis and Nick also talk about repainting cabinets versus installing new ones, specify ultra suede green, and talk about the versatility of carpet tiles.

Send Phyllis an email to get in touch and learn more!

  • Upcoming Events

NeoCon – June 12 – 14

PCBC – June 26 – 28

Las Vegas Market – July 30 – Aug 2

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 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!

127 – Angela Harris and Trio Environments

Angela Harris and Trio Environments

On this episode of The Chaise Lounge, Nick chats with Angela Harris of Trio Environments. Angela shares her journey from business to design, the story of starting her own company, and how she manages that company.

Getting to know Angela Harris

Trio Environments is located in Denver, where Angela grew up. She loves handbags, long skirts, enjoys Chardonnay and vacations in the Bahamas. Angela is married and has a 4-year-old son. She and her family live in a suburb of Denver on the edge of the mountains, where they enjoy a great view.

How Angela got into design

Without realizing it, Angela started in the industry as a child when she designed and decorated a tree house her dad built. Even in college, she didn’t put two and two together, instead, following the path “she was supposed to.” She ended up with a business degree in marketing and management. She later obtained a master’s degree in sustainable design and is grateful for this path, which allowed for a good left and right brain balance in her work.

After school, Angela worked in marketing at an engineering firm. One day she woke up and decided it wasn’t for her. She left her position and took a job at a furniture store.  Angela worked for the summer and then started in the store’s design program, where she fell in love with furniture and textiles. Angela then went back to school for a two-year design program and opened her own business with $500 in her pocket.

What the business looks like today

Trio Environments employs seventeen individuals, which includes a director of sales and marketing, design directors, a procurement team, three design teams with design associates, and interns. Angela grew up in a family business and inherited her business instincts from her grandfather.

Trio Environments

Her first hire was a former associate from the furniture store, to help in an administrative capacity. Angela loves the people aspect of the business and mentioned that relationships are most important. When seeking new employees, Angela makes sure individuals fit into the company culture and align with their core values of communication, consistency, and creativity.

Trio Environments takes on projects that include builder / developer work, high-end residential, multi-family, and hospitality, and Angela loves it all, as long as they are creative and have fun.


Carrie, Director of Sales and Marketing, joined the conversation to share about the company’s involvement in the community as well as the re-branding of the company. The team is also involved with industry associations and has developed relationships within the real estate market. Other methods of business development and marketing include creating and putting out video content, doing photo shoots, participating in conferences, leading speaking engagements, and being activities on social media.

After seventeen years of business, Angela and Trio Environments hit the tipping point and became an“overnight successes.” The company survived the economic downturn and is now taking on work outside of Colorado. Angela and her team continue to position themselves as a boutique design firm and don’t rely on mainstream design. Projects are treated as one-off, unique, and custom. They handle 75-100 projects at a time.

Angela recommends to be fearless and take care of the people around you. She advises against putting all of your eggs in one basket, as she learned from having 80% of her business with one client. She said she would never do that again, but she learned and grew from it.

Learn more about Angela Harris and Trio Environments at their website or feel free to call directly – 303-663-1285.

  • Upcoming Events

ICFF – May 21 – 24

NeoCon – June 12 – 14

PCBC – June 26 – 28

Las Vegas Market – July 30 – Aug 1

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 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!

117 – Larah and Dieter: A Power Couple in Design and Branding

Dutch East and Warren Red

Larah and Dieter: A Power Couple in Design and Branding

On this episode of The Lounge, Nick chats with Larah Moravek from Dutch East Design and Dieter Cartwright from Warren Red. This power couple shares their journey from their design beginnings, the chance at meeting through a mutual friend, and how they have joined forces.

Dieter Cartwright

Getting to know Larah & Dieter

Originally, Larah is from Illinois. Her family moved to England, then Texas. She has been in New York for the past sixteen years. Larah loves Spanish and Portuguese wines and the movie Captain Fantastic.

Dieter is from Tasmania, Australia. He has been in the US for ten years now. Dieter enjoys beer, wine, and cocktails. Larah and Dieter met through a mutual friend/vendor and are currently married and live in New York.

How did Larah & Dieter get into design?Dutch East - hospitality design

Dieter always wanted to be an architect. As his parents built their house, he followed the architect around everywhere. Dieter even went so far as to observe meetings between his parents and the architect.

He started to work towards becoming an architect, but was sidetracked as a beekeeper, then hair dresser, then back to studying architecture.

Interior design was never his initial goal. Dieter gained experience in bartending and working in hospitality, which ultimately proved invaluable in his design career. Soon, Dieter started working for a designer in New York, but then the economy dropped. He managed to combine getting laid off with starting his own company.

Larah was not interested in design until later in her life. She grew up interested in poetry and animals. Larah soon found out that she wasn’t cut out for working in a hospital, but she did start to understand how space affected people physically and mentally. She switched her major from biomedical science to interior design.

After traveling for six months, Larah was able to start her own company. Today she typically works on bars and restaurants and wants to create spaces that encourage good social dynamics.

Larah and Dieter began working on projects together and have even begun pitching together. This has allowed for them to expand their bandwidth and offerings to clients. Now Larah and Dieter have decided to merge their companies while keeping Dutch East focused on interiors and Warren Red focused on branding.

Laura Moravek

What does the business look like today?

Larah and Dieter employ two interior designers who work with them. They like to hire people with prior history in other fields, like law and construction.

As a business owner, Larah finds it challenging to balance big picture ideas and strategy with daily minutiae and client relations. She wants to understand and respect everyone. In addition, Dieter doesn’t have a lot of experience working for someone, so he likes to challenge the status quo.

How to get into hospitality

If you are a designer looking to get into the hospitality design industry, Larah and Dieter would first recommend understanding why this field appeals to you. While there is no right or wrong answer, it can be helpful to know what excites you.

They also recommend looking into who is building and hiring and making connections. Referrals and word of mouth are huge within the design industry. Most things come through an introduction or referral, not cold calls. Larah and Dieter are constantly trying to foster a larger network and engage with people.

Hospitality design Dutch east

What’s next?

Larah and Dieter mentioned that lots of change is happening. They want to allow for themselves and their employees to pursue personal passions and work towards common goals. They are interested in owning and operating a small hospitality location, perhaps a bar.

To learn more, please visit Larah and Dieter on their website.

hospitality design

  • 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!

112 – Alicia Cannon: An Interior Designer Since Day 1

Alicia Cannon Interior design

Alicia Cannon: An Interior Designer Since Day 1

On this episode of the Lounge, Nick chats with Alicia Cannon. Alicia talks about keeping her business small, working in New York, and her love for hospitality.

Getting to know Alicia

Alicia Cannon joins Nick in the lounge from BDNY. Recently, she was able to enjoy a vacation off of the coast of Spain. She is also into Pinot Noir and loves accessorizing with scarves. In terms of home decor, she is proud to have purchased a piece from her friend, a Roman artist.

How did Alicia get involved in the Interior Design industry?

Alicia has been interested in design since AJC designshe was “in the womb.” Her mom attended design school in New York while pregnant with Alicia. Even as young as sixth grade, Alicia knew she was going to be an interior designer.

In high school, Alicia continued to fuel her passion by attending architecture school during her summer breaks. Alicia was able to then attend the Pratt Institute for Interior Design. After graduating, she started working in the industry at Gensler, but found herself burnt out after a short time. Alicia then transitioned to a completely different industry, packing materials, where she learned sales and business development.

Alicia was drawn back into the interior design industry and took a job in California with Cheryl Rowley, where she picked up some experience with hospitality. Since, Alicia moved back to the east coast, worked with an architect, and now owns her own business.

What the Business Looks Like

AJC designAlicia’s company, AJC Design, currently employs six designers, and her father even helps with IT bookkeeping and day to day business operations. She likes keeping things small and family- oriented.

The firm currently works on six to eight projects at a time, with 90% being hospitality-based. The residential portion is mostly repeat business that includes new construction and remodels across New York, Texas, and Colorado.

Alicia and her designers follow a pretty specific workflow when taking on new projects with clients that include a meet & greet, a design immersion meeting to get to know the client and to learn what the brand is about, then they build a design narrative or story that dictates the concept. From there AJC starts on schematic designs and design documents.

Working in New York

Alicia says that logistics are a nightmare in New York. She has to measure the elevator, the freight elevator, the windows, and even how high up the unit is. Often, sofas have to be cut in half by a Sofa Doctor to get to where it needs to go, and then is re-assembled once it’s there.

Her biggest project is also located in New York at the Harlem Renaissance Theater, which has 211 rooms and was built in 1917. It is a state-owned project, which creates its own set of hoops to jump through. She was able to work on this project through building rapport and relationships with those in the industry.

Learn more at Alicia’s website, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

  • 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!