Podcast

183 – Kevin O’Shea: A Dream Come True

Kevin O’Shea: A Dream Come True

Today in The Lounge, Nick chats with Kevin O’Shea from Salt Hotels in his New York Porcelanosa office before heading off to BDNY. Kevin talks about how food was his first interest in hospitality, his start with Starwood Hotels, how and where Salt Hotels was born and his experience running the company with his husband and team.

Getting to Know Kevin

Kevin enjoys watching indie films and prefers a glass of wine over a beer or cocktail. His house was formerly a fine dining restaurant and appropriately, his favorite room is the kitchen. He finds cooking to be a relaxing pastime. While there are no specific dishes he prefers to make over others, he does enjoy cooking family recipes passed down from his Italian grandmother.

From Colorado to the East Coast

Kevin grew up in the Westminster area of Denver, Colorado. After graduating high school, he attended Johnson and Wales University to earn a degree in food and beverage hospitality before deciding it was not for him. He then transferred to Rhode Island School of Design to complete an interior architecture degree. From there, he landed an internship in New York with Sheraton-Starwood where he was then able to join the initial Le Meredien team after graduation. He stayed with Starwood for about a year before moving to Morgans Hotel Group and being part of their team for three and a half years. Just before 2008, Kevin broke off on his own in New York.

Pillars of Salt

    

The vision for Salt Hotels began with the idyllic dream Kevin and his husband had of one day owning a Bed & Breakfast. That dream came true when they renovated an old building into what is known today as the Salt House in Provincetown, New York. Within a week of opening, it appeared on The Today Show and made the hotlist of places to stay in Provincetown. This made Kevin and his husband realize that they had something special that later turned into three other hotels in the United States.

Kevin took his experience designing for large hotels and combined it with the comfort of a B&B to set his spaces apart from the rest. To maintain the Salt brand in all the other hotels, he includes gourmet breakfast in his visitors’ stay. There is no central Salt Hotels office but rather local offices built near the hotels.

Team Unity and Community

Everyone hired by Salt Hotels sets their own hours and work diligently. By hiring professionals who are passionate about their work, team unity is assured.

Salt Hotels is proud to be able to provide steady, stable jobs in a typically seasonal market. They also have Salt School open to the public where admitted applicants may earn a design degree and apply it wherever they wish.

Visit www.salthotels.com to learn more.

  • Upcoming Events

Atlanta Market – Jan 9 – 16

Dallas Market – Jan 17 – 23

Las Vegas Market – Jan 28 – Feb 1

Modernism Week – Feb 15 – 25

Design Bloggers Conference – March 4 – 6

BD West – April 4 – 5

High Point Market – April 14 – 18

HD Expo – May 2 – 4

ICFF – May 20 – 23

NeoCon – June 11 – 13

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!

182 – Kevin Htain: Home Staging Extraordinaire

Kevin Htain: Home Staging Extraordinaire

Today in The Lounge, Nick talks shop with Kevin Htain of Identity Home Staging, Real Estate Stager and HGTV contributor. Very well known in California, Kevin had an interesting pathway through the design world to end up as one of staging’s most high profile players. Find out more, in this episode of the Chaise Lounge.

The Business

Kevins start t in the interior design business was designing model homes and leasing offices with KB Homes as his first gig out of college. He began as a studio art major in school, but then realized he needed his creative education to have a solid business fundamental. That’s when he discovered interior design. He has since worked for powerhouses like Ikea and progressive businesses like Pacific Dimensions, a merchandising company that seeks to blend traditional staging techniques with cutting-edge design trends. It was the most unlikely of avenues that finally got him into the staging industry though…a call from Mom. She had heard about it from a friend and recommend Kevin look into it. The rest, as they say, is history. Kevin was enrolled in staging training just weeks later.

Staging and Interior Design…What’s the difference anyway?

Kevin believes that home staging is all about putting a home’s best foot forward; if it had legs of course. It is really real estate market driven, so one needs to understand that segment in addition to having a background in design and aesthetics. Interior design on the other hand, is all about customization and personalization. It is design for a particular person or persons in mind. Staging is much less personal but still geared towards that target client. California’s staging market is robust, so staging is seen as a valuable tool at a seller’s disposal. Staging works across the board; in all budgets. Its all about helping the property perform at it’s highest potential.

What it Takes

Kevin has a team of 7. They include his stylists and moving crew. It can be tough to maintain a team in this industry, due to the fast pace and the eventual burn out that team members can face. That is one of the biggest challenges to be overcome. Keeping inventory fresh is another critical factor in keeping installations fresh and having properties show at their best. Some brands are also beginning to position themselves to meet the unique needs of the staging community. Brands like Uttermost, Coaster, and Ashley offer pieces that are striking, yet lightweight and easy to maneuver. Always keep the price point of the property in mind and stage accordingly. The scale and colorway in a million dollar home is going to be different than your average home’s inventory. A really good stager understands this and can market properties effectively.

Getting into the TV Game

Kevin is proud to share that Identity Home Staging has worked on 46 projects with HGTV over the last 3-4 years.  There were originally contacted by the casting agency for the show ‘Flip or Flop’. Its been a great fit over the years and now Kevin will be contributing to the upcoming HGTV show ‘House to Home’.

The next steps for Identity Home is to start their own furniture line.  Nick is excited to pass some connections along in that area and to questions why there isn’t a current HGTV show focused solely on staging (hint, hint, casting!).

IAHSP and Kevin’s Commitment to Training Staging Professionals

Kevin Co-chairs training for the International Association of Home Staging Professionals. He is passionate about attending as many of the events as possible and keeping stagers trained in the latest merchandising techniques. His biggest piece of advice to students looking to join the field of staging is to challenge themselves not only to focus on the design side but also to be really well versed in the real estate market. That combination of design knowledge and business savviness is a winning one. Just ask Kevin…he knows for sure!

Learn more about Identity Home Staging online at: www.identityhome.com/ 

Via Twitter @identityhome, Instagram  @identityhome, and Facebook  @identityhome

Chaise Lounge Updates

Join Nick and Porcelanosa on their upcoming trip to Spain. Post a story about why you want to go with the hashtag #letsgotospain. Deadline extended until January 31st 11:59 pm.Look forward to your stories!

Download our E-Book HERE!

  • Upcoming Events

KBIS – Jan 9 – 11

Atlanta Market – Jan 9 – 16

Dallas Market – Jan 17 – 23

Las Vegas Market – Jan 28 – Feb 1

Modernism Week – Feb 15 – 25

Design Bloggers Conference – March 4 – 6

BD West – April 4 – 5

High Point Market – April 14 – 18

HD Expo – May 2 – 4

ICFF – May 20 – 23

NeoCon – June 11 – 13

 

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!

181 – Steven Favreau: From Broadway to The Favreaulous Factory

Steven Favreau: From Broadway to The Favreaulous Factory

Steven Favreau attributes his success as a designer to his first career as a singer, dancer, and actor on Broadway. As an actor you are the business, constantly training every day and always looking for the next job.  It is a good way to realize that you can only be your very best and the rest is out of your control. The skills he learned from his first career are still utilized to this day. Growing up in Milford, Massachusetts, Steven became involved in theater in high school, believing that his future career will be in fine arts or theater. His journey as a professional actor led him to Broadway, Dutch television, Paris, as a dancer at Moulin Rouge, and as a cruise ship performer, eventually making his way to Cruise Director for American Hawaii Cruises. Eventually, he lost the theater bug and went back to school to study interior design at Fashion Institute of Technology. While in school he worked part-time at a public relations firm, then as a fundraising director and marketer for Papermill Playhouse in NJ before getting recruited to San Francisco.

After moving to San Francisco Steven opened Stage Struck, a local home staging company. The concept of staging has its origins in San Francisco, and there few sellers who don’t stage their homes. Working with a network of realtors enabled Steven to grow his clientele. The concept of staging is best practiced when thought of as marketing for a house. Instead of what the homeowner wants, think about what everyone else would want to see in that house. The challenge is to create a neutral home that will appeal to as many people as possible but still have that wow factor. After Steven found his groove, he began getting multiple offers and continued referrals. Eight years later, Steven decided to return to the east coast to be closer to family but continues to manage his San Francisco staging company. Nostalgic for Europe, Steven was looking to purchase a vacation home in an area that reminded him of Europe but wasn’t a European city. He was drawn to the unspoiled nature of Vermont and ultimately purchased and renovated his vacation home.  

East Coast Return and Career Growth

Steven’s newly renovated vacation home became the cover story and feature of Design New England Magazine’s December Issue. In anticipation of the article’s release, Steven hired a publicist to market himself. He attributes the immediate growth of his business to having a publicist as they were able to do in 6 months what it took him 6 years to achieve in San Francisco. The publicist introduced him to top builders, architects, and editors. However, Steven recommends knowing what you want to get out of the partnership before bringing a publicist on as they need to be guided to ensure their ideals fit with your master plan.

Today, Steven runs a multifaceted design company, Favreau Design. A strong believer in the power of intention, Steven recommends others to start learning how to dream and putting that dream out to the universe, speaking it out loud and often. His intentions are coming true once again with the opening of the Faverlous Factory, a11,0000 sq ft urban loft. The Faverlous Factory will be part showroom, part open workspace, co-shared with like-minded builders, architects, and inventors.  The showroom component will dedicate 3000 sq ft to selling furniture, curated vintage pieces and antiques, wallpaper, and lighting. Additionally, Steven and his fiance are co-founding an online design site for millennials called Printz. A joint partnership with an MIT alum, Printz is an online platform that blends social media with 3-D design software, allowing friends and family to provide their opinion on potential products prior to making a purchase. It is currently in beta testing. Steven is also stepping into the product development arena, working on producing licensed products for a NYC based rug company.

Keys to Success

Having a strong personal brand is a key to Steven’s success. His background in theater led him to multiple speaking engagements that ultimately led to referrals. Being a brand ambassador for Robert Allen Fabrics for a year also gave him lots of exposure.  He recommends others to dare to dream, and to do things any way you can, and as often as you can. Surround yourself with people that you trust, understand your brand and be very protective your time. People are looking for you to be your true authentic self. Steven brings his personality to everything he does. At 51, it finally feels like he is walking in the right shoes.

To connect with Steven visit him on his two Instagram accounts: Steven Favreau and Favreau_Design, Facebook, or on his website, www.favreaudesign.com

Chaise Lounge Updates

Find out about our Holiday Giveaway HERE!

Win a trip to Spain HERE!

Download our E-Book HERE!

  • Upcoming Events

KBIS – Jan 9 – 11

Atlanta Market – Jan 9 – 16

Dallas Market – Jan 17 – 23

Las Vegas Market – Jan 28 – Feb 1

Modernism Week – Feb 15 – 25

Design Bloggers Conference – March 4 – 6

BD West – April 4 – 5

High Point Market – April 14 – 18

HD Expo – May 2 – 4

ICFF – May 20 – 23

NeoCon – June 11 – 13

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!

180 – Andreas Eickholt: German Designer

Andreas Eickholt: German Designer

Today in the Lounge Nick speaks with Andreas Eickholt all the way from Cologne, Germany. Andreas works with the Voglauer Hotel Concept. He is the department lead for Architecture and Calculations. He and his team find design solutions and work on corporate appearance for the hotels and companies. They specialize in the interior of hotels but they have also worked exteriors as well. Andreas and Nick discuss what it is like working with Porcelanosa products and how Andreas’ German-based company keeps America and Americans in mind.

Getting to Know Andreas

Andreas is trained as an interior designer. In Germany, University interior designers and architects receive almost the same education with differences in exterior design and their specializations. Andreas also received a carpentry education in the 70s. He decided to go to school in the evenings to further his education in architecture and interior design. Andreas loves every place he has visited because each place has unique sights and different things to enjoy. He fancies watching movies and read books and enjoys working on his home in his spare time. His favorite movie is Das Boat. “Beer, wine or cocktail?” He prefers a red wine in the evening but a cool beer at parties.

How Andreas Got His Start

Andreas’ first job as an interior designer was to design and plan butteries, bakeries, butcheries, and restaurants. He did this job for about seven years. After that, he went to a spa design company that is no longer in Germany but still thriving in 148 different countries including, South Africa, France, and Austria. He was part of the international design group in Amsterdam. This job has taken him to Miland, Oslo, and Ireland to learn what the different functional needs of other countries are. The company worked a lot on branding so that they could be as well known as McDonald’s He stayed with them for six and half years as an independent contractor.

Andreas later went into wellness. He says despite the job area, he was not relaxed while working in sauna and wellness centers. He learned a lot though about water, lighting, and sound techniques for relaxation. He was the general contractor for these jobs and worked four years as a partner. Andreas left because he had different ideas of leading a company and how to treat clients. Next, he went Joi Design. They worked on a brand new building and wanted it to capture the different stories of the Lindner Park Hagenbeck Hotel, the world’s first zoo theme hotel, in Hamburg. The ground floor’s theme is colonization. The first and the second floor are Africa, the third and fourth are Asia, and the top floors are the Arctic World. He was with Joi Design for about four years.

Andreas’ Company Today

Andreas now works on rebuilding old hotels and giving them new life. They like to know the stories and backgrounds of their clients before they start on a project. Andreas wants to be able to build successful business interactions with his clients as well as stand out from competitors. They deal with branded hotels that have guidelines and are recognizable all over the world to help the customer feel like they are at home no matter where they stay in the world. He finds that working with unbranded hotels more pleasant and he loves coming up with new ideas and building from the ground up.

Working with Porcelanosa and Americans

Andreas has used Porcelanosa products such as tiles and tubs. He says that their products fit in with their designs very well. He thinks that Porcelanosa really has the spirit to design well for hotels fits in well with the story they are trying to tell.

Andreas hopes to have a very big and well known hotel design project. He says the American way of life influences what’s going on in Europe just as Americans are always looking to Europe for inspiration. He says that America has very modern feel and they keep an eye on America to see what is happening next. When designing hotels they do often have the American consumer in mind. They want to be interesting for Americans and have things that Americans might like in their hotels such as food, lighting, and drinks, to incorporating their daily lives into staying at a hotel. 

To connect with Andreas visit him on his website www.voglauer.com/de/hotel/

Chaise Lounge Updates

Find out about our Holiday Giveaway HERE!

Win a trip to Spain HERE!

Download our E-Book HERE!

  • Upcoming Events

KBIS – Jan 9 – 11

Atlanta Market – Jan 9 – 16

Dallas Market – Jan 17 – 23

Las Vegas Market – Jan 28 – Feb 1

Modernism Week – Feb 15 – 25

Design Bloggers Conference – March 4 – 6

BD West – April 4 – 5

High Point Market – April 14 – 18

HD Expo – May 2 – 4

ICFF – May 20 – 23

NeoCon – June 11 – 13

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!

 

179 – Todd Ellenberger: Lux Drapes to Lux Space

Todd Ellenberger: Lux Drapes to Lux Space

Today in The Lounge, Nick interviews Todd Ellenberger of Hirsch Bedner Associates while at the Porcelanosa office in New York. They talk about Todd’s love of cooking, what engendered his interest in interior design, how and where he got his start and the sort of work he does today.

Getting to Know Todd

Todd is a native to Atlanta, Georgia and currently lives just outside of the city center. He enjoys cooking and grilling, though does not partake in creating desserts. His favorite fashion accessory is the lapel pin while his favorite vacation spot is the Key West.

Rocket Man in Architectural Digest: Todd’s Inspiration

Todd’s grandparents always had home and garden magazines on hand when he visited, which he delighted in. He maintained his affinity for the design of spaces growing up, although it wasn’t until his senior year of high school in 1993 that he decided he wanted to pursue interior design. At that time, Architectural Digest had published an issue featuring Elton John’s house in Atlanta, Georgia and, being a big fan, Todd decided he too wanted to be able to design something for him one day.

Todd then attended Southern Georgia University and earned his degree in design but worked a year of substitute teaching at elementary schools after graduation. After that, he got a job designing draperies in a workroom for a high-end residential company where he stayed for two-and-a-half years. While initially he was disappointed with his employment, he later became grateful because it put him into contact with other designers which then allowed him to be considered and hired by Stan Topol.

Stan Topol made him a design assistant. He was able to meet Elton John through that position, but after six years, he spoke with an “interior design headhunter” who led him to his next job as a senior designer with Hirsch Bedner.

Working in Hospitality

One of the differences Todd noted between working in hospitality and residential was that he was allowed more creativity on hospitality projects. The challenge is in the budget and communicating well with all parties involved in the project.

In order to get a project green-lit in hospitality, the designers have to go through a number of processes. They must build and pitch concepts to the client that suit their needs and outmatch the competition. Those working on the financial side of the project must also come to an agreement with the designers on costs and prototype rooms usually need to be constructed off-site before on-site work can be started.

The work typically takes around eighteen months to complete. Todd and his team work with their clients to decide on brands to use and are present from the first day to post-opening.

Tips and Trends

A trend Todd has noticed in the hospitality industry is that the entire building is seeing fuller use. The hotel lobby is no longer simply a waiting area but a workspace and a hangout spot. Hotels are also trying to mimic the feel of a home while homes are attempting to mimic the feel of a hotel.

Todd’s advice to any student looking to get into hospitality designs is to start small in other hospitality spaces such as restaurants. He also recommends learning graphic design because it is an integral part of the business.

To learn more about Todd Ellenberger and Hirsch Bedner Associates, visit www.hba.com.

Chaise Lounge Updates

Find out about our Holiday Giveaway HERE!

Win a trip to Spain HERE!

Download our E-Book HERE!

  • Upcoming Events

KBIS – Jan 9 – 11

Atlanta Market – Jan 9 – 16

Dallas Market – Jan 17 – 23

Las Vegas Market – Jan 28 – Feb 1

Modernism Week – Feb 15 – 25

Design Bloggers Conference – March 4 – 6

BD West – April 4 – 5

High Point Market – April 14 – 18

HD Expo – May 2 – 4

ICFF – May 20 – 23

NeoCon – June 11 – 13

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!

178 – Sharyn McBride: Where Travel and Design Collide

Sharyn McBride: Where Travel and Design Collide

Today in The Lounge, Nick chats with Sharyn McBride of Belson Design and Design ToursSharyn is located in beautiful Melbourne, Australia and is driven to expose her fellow Aussies to a design education that reaches far beyond her native shores. Find out more, in this episode of The Chaise Lounge.

Breaking the Ice

First and foremost…Nick wants to visit Australia and he isn’t shy about sharing it! After making that point clear, he learns some interesting fashion tidbits from Sharyn. She is a big fan of shoes as a go-to statement accessory. Her faves are colorful ankle boots. Though not necessarily a fan of the Ugg boot, she is happy to share that these are originally from her native land and that it was interesting to watch them evolve from house slippers to full-on streetwear. Her favorite room in her well-designed house is her master bedroom. It is truly her sanctuary. The only spot that is off limits is her garage full of finds from her travels abroad, which can get a bit messy! The best advice that she received from her parents growing up was to never give up and her mum’s especially sage advice: don’t leave the house without lipstick!

Getting into the business

Sharyn McBride started her career as a buyer in the fashion industry. She noticed a gap in the market after welcoming her own baby boy and created a line of embroidered bespoke baby blankets. Sharon fell gravely ill in the early 2000’s and faced a two-year climb back to health. It was at that point that she decided that she would exclusively pursue creative work. She knew that all of the efforts and hard work would give her that sense of joy and satisfaction; as long as she pursued her passion. Her interior design career began in her home and friends’ homes. It was also at this time that she realized that exposure and education equaled really great design. She traveled to around her native Australia and to the US; New York specifically. There she was able to learn more about show homes, such as Kips Bay and the design markets available to designers in the US.  Belson Design was launched soon after in 2016.

The Development of Design Tours

After having the opportunity to travel to the US, Japan and other parts of the world, Sharyn realized just how little exposure the Australian design community was getting. There were so many more resources to discover beyond her borders. There was an opportunity to give Australian designers access to show houses and masters of design such as Frank Lloyd Wright. Sharyn developed tours to the US and Japan that she now runs three times a year! Nick gave a great suggestion to set up US tour groups to come down to Australia…let’s see if this takes off! Sharyn is all for being a part of orchestrating culture absorbing trips.

Making time for Design

Despite running three 7-9 day tours a year, Sharyn still finds time to serve her clients through Belson Design. Her upcoming projects include a mid-scale home renovation and her very first commercial gig at tile showroom in Melbourne. She is mainly a one-woman show but has the helping hands of a part-time tour assistant and design assistant. She also has built great relationships with contractors, so her clients have that additional option if they do not have contacts of their own.

Sharyn is adamant about being confident as a designer and not being afraid to value your services as they should be. She charges per service for her initial contact with clients. She has differing fees for consultations, mood boards, and full design plans. Never let a client rush you into decision making. As creatives, we need time to absorb and create our plans.

The Keys to Successful Marketing and Presentation

Sharyn really believes in great presentation. That starts with a great website and business cards. These are just the initial tools, however. The magic is in pounding the pavement…network, network, network. Get as much exposure as you can. Our industry can be grueling with long hours and a lot of effort to get the ball rolling. Find avenues to shake hands with people; go to showrooms, design events, etc. Get savvy with your online exposure too. It’s easy to backlink with fellow businesses in the industry so that your website can be more attractive to Google. This is a great way to improve your presence online without a lot of monetary investment.

Belson Design has received most of their clientele through word of mouth and website hits. This leads to another important topic; photographs. Photos are critical in the design industry to showcase your work. No matter how small a project is, always takes photos. Even if you don’t have access to professional photography, visually documenting your projects is a must. Social Media is another visual platform for showcasing your behind the scenes work. Sharyn stresses the importance of authenticity on social media. Be present to doing what you’re passionate about and persevering even when the going gets tough.

Sharyn invites you to follow her Instagram @belsondesign. Learn more about Sharyn, Design Tours and Belson Design at: www.belsondesign.com.au

Chaise Lounge Updates

Find out about our Holiday Giveaway HERE!

Win a trip to Spain HERE!

Download our E-Book HERE!

  • Upcoming Events

KBIS – Jan 9 – 11

Atlanta Market – Jan 9 – 16

Dallas Market – Jan 17 – 23

Las Vegas Market – Jan 28 – Feb 1

Modernism Week – Feb 15 – 25

Design Bloggers Conference – March 4 – 6

BD West – April 4 – 5

High Point Market – April 14 – 18

HD Expo – May 2 – 4

ICFF – May 20 – 23

NeoCon – June 11 – 13

Wrap Up

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, andTwitter 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!

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