147 – Susan Suhar-Phillips: Interior Design Director at HDR

Susan Suhar-Phillips: Interior Design Director at HDR

Today in The Lounge, Susan Suhar-Phillips, Interior Design Director at HDR, joins Nick at the Porcelanosa showroom in the Merchandise Mart. Susan is Nick’s longest-known friend to ever be on the show. Not only did they go to Junior High together but they also lived down the street from each other growing up! On this episode, Susan discusses how she got started in interior design and the variety of jobs she’s had in the industry. Susan also talks about her big move from Chicago to LAand how it made a HUGE change in her networking pool.

Getting to Know Susan

Susan is the Los Angeles Design Director for HDR, which is a large country-wide firm. She assists with projects at these sister firms as well. Susan has worked with HDR for about a year now. Before that, she was at Eckenhoff Saunders as their Interior Design Director.

Susan originally started out in the fine arts program at The Art Institute of Chicago when she found that being an artist was not a financially successful career path for her as she moved out of her parents home. So, she went in a different direction and tried environmental studies and sciences, but didn’t really like it. On a whim, she decided to take a drafting class at her local community college and at 21, fell in love with it. It was the perfect marriage of her creative side and her science side. This class gave her the exposure to architecture, drafting and interiors that she needed for the “ah ha” moment she’d been waiting for. Susan first received her associate’s degree in Interior Design and then continued her education back at The Art Institute for Interior Architecture. She describes her community college education as gaining the technical knowledge while The Art Institute taught her to push the design envelope. It forced her to look at the world and its interior environments completely differently.

While Susan was in school she also did a couple of internships. Her very first internship was in community college with a furniture dealer. This experience allowed her to become familiar with vendors, materials, pricing, and application. While attending The Art Institute, she worked an internship with VOA which later turned into a full-time design position. VOA exposed Susan to the world of interior architecture and gave Susan a glimpse of how to collaborate with large teams, work on big projects, work with high profile clients, and work late nights. Don’t forget to bring your portfolio to your internship interviews like Susan might have ;).

Networking is Key!… But it May Take Some Time

Susan just moved to LA from Chicago a year ago, and as a result, she now has to start over with her professional network. She feels like networking is the only way to broaden your project base. Susan explains that the more exposed you are, even with your industry peers including competitors, vendors, and clients, the more you’re respected and understood as a contender in the industry. Moving can be stressful enough but it also took about a year for Susan to get used to her new routines, get acclimated with project deliverables, and accustomed to her commutes/travel before she started networking. She now has a good handle on everything and is ready to start.

The Business Today

As a BD, business developer, Susan can go out into the field and promote her company. She gave us some insight that HDR is moving away from hospitality and becoming more of a healthcare giant. Susan also mentioned that when Gary Wheeler joined HDR and took helm of the workplace, he made a significant change to the vision of HDR and where they are going design-wise. This vision is to become more interiors driven. HDR is going to be including the workplace and have strong market sectors between healthcare, work, education, science, and technology.

As Design Director, Susan, has six designers that work underneath her with experience in design ranging from fifteen years to just out of college. The hardest thing she has to do job-wise, is making sure that everyone is always staying busy and billable. Also, she has to make sure that schedules and work plans are laid out to support the entire staff so no one is being under worked. Susan doesn’t like doing time sheets, master specifications, project manual specifications, and the critical features that are called out for specs because they are very time consuming but on the bright side there are people on her staff who love writing them.

Susan has been surprised to find how different designers are regarded in varying firms within the industry and how a designer is incorporated into commercial projects. Commercial is so collaborative in working with engineers, architects, contractors, and subcontractors. It was a surprise to see how many people it took to complete a project as well as the amount of info exchanged and necessary documents.

HDR has an interior design summit that includes all 10 offices. All 30 designers meet in the Chicago office to kickoff Neocon. It’s a way for their firm to stay connected while they get exposure at Neocon. Neocon, for Susan, is the design “fiscal year” when new products are launched so they can be the first to use them.

What’s New?

Susan recently spoke at Neocon and it went so well that it was standing-room-only to fit everyone in there! Susan was very nervous, not because of the public speaking aspect, but because of her topic. Jinsop Lee’s TED talk on 5 human senses and product design was so inspiring that it got her thinking in terms of how this could be related to interiors. So, she spoke about designing based on the human sense and what that means- how we can break it down to understand our sensual impact. Susan feels like there’s a loss of humanity with technology, and this is how we can reel that back in.


Benjamin Moore’s Scruff X helps with those nasty scuff marks you get on your beautiful white walls when a sofa or chair rubs up against them.

LVT Porcelanosa (Luxury, Vinyl, Tile) Link Floor is getting put in commercial spaces, multifamily homes, and hotels because it is a high-end durable product. Vinyl stays cool and doesn’t absorb any smells. It stays fresh and is easy to clean.

Highpoint Market

Nick worked with Steelyard to bring hospitality design to High Point Market. Nick will be hosting a panel discussion on what it takes to move from residential to hospitality. It will be part of the Viewpoint Panel series titled, Hospitality Insiders Share All: What it Takes to be a Designer in the Hospitality Sector on Sunday, October 15 at noon with Gary Inman, Nina Magon, Patrick Sutton, and Todd Ellenberger

Let Nick know if you are going to highpoint and he would love to meet up with you there! Leave a Review on iTunes and ask us about our internship opportunities by using the Question? tab or emailing admin@thechaiseloungepodcast.com.

  • Upcoming Events

Casual Market Sept 12 – 15

ICFF Miami– Oct 3 – 4

IDS – Oct 13 – 16

High Point Market Oct 14 – 18

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!

146 – Julia Buckingham: From Stay at Home MOM to Interior Design Powerhouse

Julia Buckingham: From Stay at Home MOM to Interior Design Powerhouse

On this Episode of The Lounge, Nick sits down with Julia Buckingham of Buckingham ID in Chicago at The Public (formerly the Ambassador East). They are both in Chicago attending Neocon. The last time Nick and Julia talked was on an actual chaise lounge with Michel Boyd at the Atlanta Market. Julia currently lives in “Casa Lantana” in Pheonix, Arizona but her office is still in Chicago with her daughters. Her favorite fashion accessory is shoes and her favorite place to vacation is Marrakesh in Morocco, which she visited with the #blondesquad (interior designers Holly Phillips, Cathy Austin, Tami Ramsey, and Krista Nichols). The most moving traveling experience Julia has had though was getting the opportunity to visit the manufacturing plants and homes of the people who manufacture her products.

The Business Today

Julia is in the process of opening a Modernique boutique shop in Pheonix, Arizona. Her business in Chicago is booming as she guts homes while maintaining their historic integrity and architecture through renovations and add-ons. Her firm consists of 5 people and focuses a lot on business and operations. She has 3 designers plus herself, one operations manager, and one business manager. She and Nick can’t stress how important it is to have people to help run the business side of a firm. PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT: Nick met a student attending an ASID event while in Chicago who was actually interested in working on the business side of interior design. So Megan, if you’re out there Julia would love to connect with you because business is what it’s all about. Message us to connect! 🙂


Amy Flurry’s art from her company paper-cut-project was installed by Julia for a client project in Chicago. Amy also recently asked Nick to talk about Internships on the show. So Nick asks Julia what she thinks:

Herrington School of Design was where Julia pooled her interns from before it closed. Having an intern was integral to Julia’s business. She herself has hired 3 interns over the past 10 years as a part of her design team. Interns understand that they are starting out at a level where they need to be open-minded and they embrace the tasks of an entry-level position. She does get resumes from students whose schools don’t require an internship program, but she knows it can be difficult to put time and motivation into an internship without receiving any credit or compensation. In her opinion, more schools should require an internship. Julia also has people who want to relocate to Chicago to intern for her, but it’s difficult to financially commit to their travels and rent expenses without knowing them.

With that being said, her firm has at least 2 interns every summer and if SHE has not hired them afterward herself, some of the most amazing firms of Chicago HAVE. Having the ability to intern for a firm is integral to the growth of design students and can lead to potential job opportunities. Julia also suggests reaching out to designers to ask questions and see if they will become your mentor. 5 years ago, Tiffany Brooks who won HGTV Designer of a year, asked to meet up with Julia because she was stuck and didn’t know how to have her own design firm. After they talked, Julia became her mentor and now she is rockin’ it in the design world. You can talk to and learn from designers, or even go in for a couple days to see what it is that they do and how much work it is.

Julia’s Story

10 years ago Julia was just a mom at the Jewel. She didn’t plan for a new career but she’d always loved shopping and collecting antiques. Julia and her husband have had 15 homes in 30 years of marriage and consider themselves “Cereal Flippers.” Her husband handles graphics, branding, and putting spaces together while she designs them. Their love language was/is working together on these projects. Then, someone walked up to her one day and asked to buy her home, (even though it wasn’t for sale), she sold it and began her next flip.

Soon enough Julia obtained her business license and an office space and found herself as one of the first people on 1st Dibs. She starting collecting antiques and creating an inventory, then began emptying out houses to fill the rooms with the pieces and it was all for sale! You could walk into a house and buy everything in the room. Next thing she knew, people started asking her to come to their homes to design for them.

Later, Julia began producing her own products and was introduced to David Gebhardt CEO of Global Views who liked her designs and wanted them all. She’s now entering into her 4th collection to be released in 2018 as their number two most successful licensing partner, behind Dwell Studio.


Licensing is a HOT topic right now. It’s all the rage for people who want to create something that is missing in the marketplace. Julia wasn’t seeing things that she wanted, like a colorful rug or a mid-century modern lamp, so she decided to create them herself. It is difficult to manufacture something on your own, so you have to align with a partner that sees your vision and allows you to be creative/stick with your brand. Authenticity to yourself and your brand is important because if it’s not, the products are not going to sell. “Make it exclusively yours,” Julia advises. You must be open-minded and willing to negotiate though because the ideas in your head might not work right when they come to life. To be successful is to be profitable and you get paid on what is sold.


What’s New?

Julia is stepping into hospitality. She put her mark on a resort outside of Scottsdale in Fountain Hills, Arizona. A life long dream of hers has been to create a boutique hotel. What’s different about hospitality? Well, the fabric of the hospitality industry is completely different compared to residential. It needs to be much more durable and safe. Imagine a family of 6 using a couch versus 6,000. There’s a lot more pressure when ordering pieces in higher quantities than just one like for a home. Julia designed the fitness center and had to consider the color of the of all the fitness equipment, including the handles and seats for 50 treadmills and ellipticals, instead of one.

Julia still mainly does residential though and is a part of every project done by her firm. Her curated team has finally allowed her to rest easily knowing if she misses a phone call or an email, someone is answering it for her with her ‘voice.’

Julia’s book Modernique is available on Amazon, Barns & Noble, and Target.

Nick and Julia talk color and their favorite Benjamin Moore paints. Her favorite colors are Gray Owl, Chantilly Lace, Stone Harbor, Balboa Mist, and Calm. Search for your perfect color here.

Learn more at www.buckinghamid.com.

Follow Nick on Instagram to see more pictures of him and Julia and his trip to Las Vegas Market – the live Episodes are coming soon or friend Nick on Facebook.


Porcelanosa‘s designers can connect you with potential job opportunities. They will help you connect with designers, potential clients, and firms as they understand the value of relationships. So go meet with your local reps or send Nick a message.

On this episode, Nick talked a lot about the business side of design and how important it is to find a coach or mentor. Gail Doby‘s is a great resource and has an event coming up at High Point Market. Kelli Ellis recently held mastermind group to discuss where people are getting stuck in their business so look out for her talks too. If you are looking for internship or to hire an intern please contact us!!! Use the Question? tab on the right hand side. If you’d like Nick to speak at your event about marketing or the podcast contact us as well.

  • Upcoming Events

Casual Market Sept 12 – 15

ICFF Miami– Oct 3 – 4

IDS – Oct 13 – 16

High Point Market Oct 14 – 18

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 InstagramFacebook 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!

145 – Francesca Bucci: Cruise Ship Designer

Francesca Bucci: Cruise Ship Designer

Today in The Lounge, Nick sits down with Francesca Bucci to talk about a BIG topic: how to design Cruise Ship interiors. 

Getting to Know Francesca

Francesca Grew up in Rome, Italy, came to U.S after she earned her degree in architecture, and finished her studies at Cornell. Sardinia and Bermuda are her two favorite places to vacation as she loves being close to the sea. Her favorite fashion accessory is a headband; they’re a little retro, unexpected, or even preppy. If she wasn’t designing cruise ships, she’d either be singing or figure skating. As an Italian, her drink of choice is obviously wine- “don’t ask an Italian a question like that” says Francesca. She loves cooking and entertaining, so, she would rather stay home than go out but does gravitate towards French restaurants.

Finding Ship

When Francesca studied Architecture at the University of Rome, it wasn’t interior-oriented, which is why she finished at Cornell. Her education in Rome was focused on architectural history, restoration and all of the technical aspects. Francesca first became interested in architecture in High School because she has a passion for drawing. Specifically, she loves drawing cartoons. In her cartoons, she is able to write the story of a building, as they take place in and are inspired by Rome interiors.

Francesca’s first employer out of school was Perkinson Whales in Washington, DC. She felt like she was at a disadvantage compared to people who did all of their schoolings in the U.S. because she was much older and lacked the interesting theoretical knowledge one might learn in the U.S. In Italy you get out of school when you 25-26 versus 22. She felt as though her knowledge was basically useless in the States, where sketching and hands-on practices were practical. So, she jumped right in and had to learn at a fast pace everything there was to learn.

Francesca’s first task at the job was solely to put project slides in containers but it didn’t matter, she was on top of the world just to have a job in an American firm. Later, she transitioned into a drafter position and her employers picked up on her keen eye for details and started to teach her more. After, she worked in a couple firms in DC then moved to NY, where she learned a lot. After 4-5 years, Francesca found herself with little knowledge on how to specify things so she went to learn! The next firm she worked at is where she learned the specialization of retail, residential, and cruise ship lines.

The Business Today

There are a lot of custom elements that go into a cruise ship. One must consider the weight and size of everything, how the ship is built, compliances, materials and outdoor elements. You need to be able to determine the parameters in a flexible way, as the building code is 10 times bigger than in NYC. There is a big learning curve when doing cruiseship interiors as it would be very challenging to learn how to build a ship in the span of one project. 

Based in New york in Times square, BG Studio International, Franseca’s firm consists of 15 people, a small firm with big projects. Projects often last 3 years and the team does multiple vessels at the same time.

  • Upcoming Events

BDNY 2017 – Nov 12 – 13

KBIS – Jan 9 – 11

ICFF Miami– Oct 3 – 4

High Point Market Oct 14 – 18

  • 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 InstagramFacebook 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!

144 – Industry: Phyllis Harbinger Talks About PR and Marketing

Phyllis Harbinger Talks about PR and Marketing

On this episode of The Lounge, Nick talks to Phyllis about PR and whether or not you should ‘pay to play.’ Later, he chats with Alyssa Rosenheck and Nicole Davis who will both be at Las Vegas Market on the Best of the West panel on Monday, July 31st from 1:30-3:00 pm. Learn more here.

Pay to Play? Here’s What Phyllis Thinks

Some magazines offer deals where you can pay to get into them, is this something designers should do? Phyllis believes that press and exposure are always at the forefront of a designer’s mind. Also, it is important to have a mix of different kinds of marketing and advertising strategies, some that you pay for! As long as you budget, there is NOTHING wrong with paying for an advertorial. They work regionally, don’t look salesy, AND give a lot of information about you and your company. Sometimes paying for exposure and publicity can make people uneasy, but Phyllis thinks it’s terrific. It improves your visibility and helps you get noticed.

Phyllis has even done it herself for an ASID campaign, where she and six others received a half of a page to themselves. Afterward, she received three phone calls from being in the magazine- a lot of value that otherwise wouldn’t have come to her. The exposure brought her to the top of people’s minds. The more you do in different channels to reach multiple audiences of potential clients, the better you are advertising. Phyllis stresses to make sure you have a strategic plan though- she plans her budget for each target strategy at the beginning of the year and does her best to stick to it.

True or False?

The only way to get published in today’s market is to be an advertiser in a magazine.

Phyllis says that this is not completely true… there are some publications that rely completely on advertising and designers taking ads. When you do submit a project to a magazine you’ve advertised in, they will know your name already so you have a better chance of getting looked at. Though, from talking to sales people Phyllis has learned that a lot of editors try really hard not to be judgemental about whether or not someone has submitted advertising money to them and in addition, to the scope of work that they have. She doesn’t think it’s untrue that designers are looking for advertising because they are. If you’re more well known, you might get asked to advertise but feel less pressure to do so, compared to someone brand new who is wanting to expose their work to the public.

How do you determine the amount to budget for marketing each year?

For Phyllis, budgeting depends on her needs and what she wants to accomplish. If her goals differ from a previous year than she’ll move money from one bucket to another. Strategizing is not something she can do on her own. She’ll ask her team about their thoughts on Facebook ads and analytics in order to make better decisions. She has a social media person, a social media strategist who does consulting and PR, and an SEO person. It’s all about checks and balances, not a one stop shop. 

Marketing isn’t free – it takes time and money. Phyllis advises thinking about what your unique brilliance is and to ask yourself if you are the best person to a job? Then ask, is there someone else out who will do it better, smarter, and quicker than you? In truth, it’s worth paying for someone who can. Allowing this person to fulfill their unique value proposition leaves you time to do what YOU need to do and likely do best. Today we have access to global freelancers and virtual assistants… so it’s easier to hire people across the world for less.

If you want to sign up for Phyllis’ monthly new letter that gives business advice or if you have a question for her, email info@harbingerdesignconsulting.com. You can also follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

Message The Chaise Lounge using our ‘Question?’ tab if there is a topic you’d like Phyllis and Nick to talk about next time.

Alyssa Rosenheck: Interior Design and Architecture Photographer and Stylist


Joining us from Nashville, Tennessee, is Alyssa Rosenheck. Alyssa’s favorite fashion accessory is confidence. She’s not a fashionista but more of a back to the basics kinda gal. Her favorite weekend outfit is boyfriend jeans and an oxford shirt. Her camera of choice is a Canon.

Alyssa wasn’t always a photographer, she actually had a big career shift. Originally, she was consulting for a medical device company which laid out the foundation for the business skills she needed and was an incredible corporate career. Alyssa has always loved photography, and even before she ever had a camera in her hand, she felt like she had a visual acuity and sensitivity to her surroundings. She told her self “you’ve done the corporate gig… it’s time to pursue your passion.”

At Las Vegas Market, you can find Alyssa on the Best of the West panel talking about what West Coast style means to her. She works with designers from all over the country and has a very extensive business and branding background. Alyssa is able to offer clients a huge bonus with helping them market their business, so she’s gonna talk about social media tips, marketing designers’ businesses, what to look for when hiring a photographer, how to find your brand, tips on what makes a good picture for Instagram, and answer any questions designers might ask.

She was recently featured on the cover of Traditional Home with Chad James. Chad found Alyssa through a mutual friend two and a half years ago when he was looking to expand his portfolio. Alyssa works hard to come up with intentionally and artfully composed images that embody a home and the designer’s work. In the end, the styling is for the image and her client, not the homeowner. When she begins working with a designer she is very collaborative and asks them to send scouting pictures. Designers create very intentional designs to propel their visions, while still staying true to the family’s needs. Alyssa’s job is to come in and add a layer of creative fantasy.

Alyssa believes every designer has their own voice and personal brand so it’s her goal to style for the frame in order to touch on and promote that brand. She receives so much joy from creating and styling images in order to hone in on the designer.

Find Alyssa on Instagram and at www.allyssarosenheck.com

Meet Nicole Davis

Nicole Davis will also be on the Best of the West panel with Alyssa at Las Vegas Market AND is one of Alyssa’s clients!

For her first time on a podcast, Nicole joins us from her office in Southern California. Her favorite fashion accessory is jewelry but specifically rings.. she simplifies her style to the basics BUT with lots of rings. Her favorite movie she’s seen within the last 3 months is About Time and her favorite place to go out to dinner is… well, all things Mexican. Nicole enjoys a great mocktail and between coffee, juice or tea, it’s tea.

Nicole’s been interested in interior design since a young age. Her dad is a homebuilder so she grew up seeing homesites, visiting model homes and hearing about the industry. She always knew she wanted to something with homes, but her original dream was to own a home interior decorating and furniture store. She never thought of interior design as a career path until after she had her daughter. Nicole went to school in LA at FIDM, where she studied visual design/communications. Here she learned how to set up displays and have her own store, so not the traditional interior design schooling background.

Later, Nicole worked for an interior designer out of state, who had a very different aesthetic than she did, but she learned a lot. This is when she realized she could do design. Today she mainly does residential, typically renovations or new builds. Her goal is to maintain 1 or 2 projects at a time as to not overwork herself.

Nicole’s describes her design style as California-eclectic-modern. She loves clean lines and strong simplicity, not over designed or over decorated spaces. She prefers laid back, comfortable but serene and timeless environments, liveable decor that are still interesting and pretty.

Nicole has gone to Vegas Market for the past few years. She was introduced to Tiffany Harris through mutual friends a few years back, who offered her an extra ticket. Nicole decided to go and together, they go to forage the Market and conquer Las Vegas ever since.

The Las Vegas Market LIVE Chaise Lounge show is coming soon at a different showroom location each day of Market at 4 pm PT. Nick is meeting with  Barrie Livingstone,  Dann Foley,  Kelli Ellis, and Christopher Kennedy. Also, at Market, Nick will be interviewed by Lauren Paske and Linley Pasqualone to talk about the podcast and how it all started on July 30th. You can still sign up for Vegas Market at the very last minute so meet Nick there! He’d love to meet you and hear about your interior design journey and business.

Nick will also be a style spotter at Market so follow us Instagram to follow along.

If you are a student and need to do an internship for school, we have created an internship program just for you! Connect with us using the ‘Question?’ tab and we will tell you all about it.

  • Upcoming Events

Las Vegas Market – July 30 – Aug 2

BDNY 2017 – Nov 12 – 13

KBIS – Jan 9 – 11

ICFF Miami– Oct 3 – 4

  • 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 InstagramFacebook 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!

143 – ICFF and Coming to America

ICFF and Coming to America

This is the third and final show coming from ICFF NYC. Nick chats with CEO Richard Munao of NAU Designs and designer Kenneth Cobonpue. As Nick walked through ICFF, these two booths stood out to him. Let’s find out why.

Meet Richard, Meet Nau

Nau (pronounced n-o-w) is a brand new collection, but Richard has been in the industry for around 30 years. He got his start as a cabinet maker. Richard has been to ICFF before, but only as an onlooker to observe to study how the show works. This year though was Nau’s international debut and their first foot into the U.S. Richard’s hopes to champion Australian design and bring his passion to the world. Nau makes tables, sofas, beds, and chairs out of walnut, oak, and ash, and are testing Australian timbers as well, to see how well they would work exported.

Right now the most difficult part of launching Nau is navigating the different distribution network in the United States compared to Australia, and working out who is who in this large country of 50 states. Richard is figuring out the best places to market and ICFF is definitely one of them. He worked with Australian designers and photographers to design their stand and photograph it to make it stand out.

Nau’s collection integrates an acoustic material to create a quieter environment and weaved screen-like walls which light can pass through.  Their aesthetic creates organic shapes opposed to rectilinear modernity; it’s created to be a visual piece within a room. Originally the products were planned to be for the workplace but wineries and jewelry stores have reached out to use them to create intimate spaces. They would also be great in a coffee shop or an airport.

Learn more at naudesign.com.au

Kenneth Cobonpue

Kenneth Cobonpue creates unique handmade furniture that is inspired by nature. He uses sustainable materials, organic fibers and recycled polyethylene for outdoor pieces. He creates indoor and outdoor furniture, lighting, installations, and art. He’s been doing this professionally for 15 years but really, it all started when he was just a kid.

Kenneth grew up in the Philippines where his mother was a furniture designer from the back of their home. He grew up surrounded by craftsmen who taught him how to use the materials so he could build his own toys and bridges. Later, Kenneth left for Pratt in NYC to study industrial design and then returned to the Philippines to design his own collections, with the same people who made his mother’s furniture. His first piece is the yin and yang, a simple cubic chair, which he designed with an open weave for air to flow through littleview obstruction. He has developed this open weave aesthetic and now uses it in all of his products. Kenneth’s inspiration comes from nature; if you look through a tree you can see the light passing through its branches and leaves, just like in his frames.

ICFF is where Kenneth and his team meet clients, retailers, new designers, and the press. Also, it is where they introduce their new products into the American market.

Learn more at kennethcobonpue.com

Porcelanosa has started a new trend in hospitality: taking carpet out of rooms and people are LOVING it. Carpet is the culprit that traps and keeps odors so it’s a good idea to get rid of it. The only problem though is that when you walk on hard surfaces though, it creates lots of noise for your neighbors. So, Porcelanosa has created a sound underlay system that deadens noise and sound! Virgin Hotels in Chicago have been named the number one hotel in America by because of Porcelanosa’s floor system is in every room.

If you want to learn more about it visit porcelanosa.usa

The Las Vegas Market LIVE Chaise Lounge show is coming soon at a different showroom location each day of Market at 4 pm PT. Nick is meeting with his first ever Chaise Lounge guest Barrie Livingstone, TV star Dann Foley, good friend and Vegas resident Kelli Ellis, and modernism king Christopher Kennedy. Also, at Market, Nick will be interviewed by Lauren Paske and Linley Pasqualone to talk about the podcast and how it has affected his life and his business on Sunday, July 30 from 1-2pm at the North End of Pavillion One. You can still sign up for Vegas Market at the very last minute so meet Nick there! He’d love to meet you and hear about your interior design journey and business.

  • Upcoming Events

Las Vegas Market – July 30 – Aug 2

BDNY 2017 – Nov 12 – 13

KBIS – Jan 9 – 11

ICFF Miami– Oct 3 – 4

  • 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 InstagramFacebook 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!

142 – ICFF with Chad James

ICFF with Chad James

On this episode of The Lounge, Nick meets with Chad James at ICFF NYC to talk about long time client, friend and country singer-songwriter Luke Bryan; PR; and Chad’s progress since their last interview about a year ago. It’s Chad’s first time at ICFF and he is very excited about the unique vendors and getting small glimpses into each one’s best work. Later, Nick talks to Shell Broadnax of RESA who will be speaking at Las Vegas Market about whether or not you might want to become a home stager.

Special thanks to Benjamin Moore for making this week’s show possible. Walls By Design exclusively uses Benjamin Moore paints which can be bought online at Guiry’s. This week in the office we did a paint test between Benjamin Moore and Sherman Williams‘ four lowest end products, as they’re the most commonly bought paints. Hang tight for a link to the video on the Walls By Design Facebook. Also, Lindsay Paoli of Design Manager just featured us in her article, 11 Binge-Worthy Design Shows That Aren’t on HGTV, which talks about the top design movies, TV shows, books and podcasts to check out this summer. Design Manager is the best way for your business to stay organized, get rid of spreadsheets and Microsoft documents, and put all your projects, accounting, and inventory in one place.

Catching up with Chad

Currently, Chad is on a 12-week travel schedule so he hasn’t spent much time at his home in Nashville, Tennessee. When he does make it to his lakehouse though, he enjoys wake surfing from his boat.

Chad is always very private about who he works with but once a client’s project is published, he’s able to talk about it. Two years ago he designed Luke Bryan’s Florida beach home and recently, his work was picked up and put on the cover of Traditional Home, so Nick dug in to learn all about it. Check out the article here. His photographs (featured below) were done by architectural photographer Alyssa Rossenheck who will be on the show this month!

Chad gives us some insight into the pros and cons of PR in the interior design industry and how he is able (or unable) to get his work out there. He tells us, after spending so much time on a beautiful project, often times the only people who get to see and enjoy it are the homeowners. From the very beginning of a project, he and his client talk through his photographic rights and come to an agreement about what this means. He will always respect a client’s privacy even if he is disappointed he doesn’t get to show off his work. His firm never talks about a project due to the fact that with social media and digital press, information spreads quickly… no one wants what they’re doing and spending to be in the public eye. All of his employees sign a confidentiality agreement. Occasionally though, he get’s to take photos of a project and send it out to multiple avenues in order to see who will ‘bite,’ just like with Traditional Home and Luke Bryan.

Last time Nick and Chad chatted, at Highpoint, he told us that he hired a PR company to encourage his business and his work. Before that, Chad just kept his head down, took pictures, put them in his portfolio, and that was it. He never was a self-promotor so his PR took away the burden and discomfort of having to promote himself. Now, he’s has participated in speaking engagements and has traveled to Italy, to Paris, and all over the U.S. His PR handles all online and print media, gained him name recognition, and created a BRAND- the only way to make your business grow.

Lastly, Chad talks about his new house, which he closed on his birthday, but is only just now starting to design the space. He has decided to publish his home when ‘s finished because this house is very different than anything he’s ever done before – it’s contemporary! He describes it as a ‘modern box’ and so, he wants to let his pendulum swing in the other direction and show off this new side.

Chad predicts that after a 7-year span of bright, light and crisp designs, we are now returning back to warmer darker palettes with brass and rich luxurious fabrics, color and interiors.

Learn more at chadjames.com, follow @chadjamesgroup on Instagram or Chad James Group on Facebook.

Meet Shell Brodnax CEO and Founder of RESA

Shell is our first guest of many who will be speaking at and participating in Las Vegas Market‘s special events.

Shell joins us from Valley Springs California. Her favorite place to vacation is in the mountains but she admits she’s a workaholic and hasn’t taken enough time off to get to them. Her inner cowgirl informs us that spurs and her belt buckle are her favorite fashion accessories and a recent book she has read and recommends is It’s Not Who You Know, It’s Who Knows YOU! by David Avrin. Nick loves marketing books and also recommends, Marketing Outrageously.

Shell founded RESA in 2007 but is NOT a home stager. She loves all things staging but actually doing the staging is a whole other story. She says that it’s a specific kind of creative balance between the right the brain left brain that she just doesn’t have. What she did love doing were the sales and marketing but couldn’t find a partner to do the rest with her. So instead, she founded RESA: a trade association organization that brings together stagers. Her platform allows all different types of stagers and business models to come together as one support group.

Her talk in Las Vegas will be about why you should or shouldn’t ever start in the business of home staging; it’s for some people but definitely not for others. She wants to save the juicy details for the event, but she does give us some insight. The main point she’ll drive home is that staging and design work are very different business models. If a designer wants to get into the business, they do have the design aspect going for them but people often make the mistake of overdesigning. It’s not a not personalized home, but a marketing strategy. The main goal is to merchandise your asset.

Learn more about RESA at realestatestagingassociation.com

Find Shell on August 2nd from 10:30-11:30 at her event, “Staging to Sell, Is This The Career For Me?” in the Building C Seminar Room, C174. Learn more about the event here.

Let us know if you are heading to Vegas as it’s coming up quickly! Nick is going LIVE at 4 pm PT every day of Market with Barry Livingstone, his very first guest on the show, Kelli Ellis, Christopher Kennedy and Dann Foley. There will be wine and it WILL be a good time!

  • Upcoming Events

Las Vegas Market – July 30 – Aug 2

BDNY 2017 – Nov 12 – 13

KBIS – Jan 9 – 11

ICFF Miami– Oct 3 – 4

  • 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 InstagramFacebook 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!