132 – Betsy Helmuth: Affordable Interior Designer

Betsy Helmuth: Affordable Interior Designer

On this episode of The Louge, fellow podcaster and interior designer, Betsy Helmuth joins us to talk about Affordable Interior Design and how to design your own home on a budget, at your leisure. Her podcast, Big Design, Small Budget runs every Tuesday and is available on iTunes where she spills inside tips on design and how to do it yourself.

Getting to Know Betsy

Betsy waits all week for her Saturday night tradition of going to Outback Steakhouse with her family and ordering a martini. She recently became a suburban mom, moving her life to from NY City, where her business began, to Westchester. Her business has expanded from Manhatten to the suburbs and now, across the globe online.

Inside Affordable Interior Design

Besty’s company only consists of 5 designers and 2 handymen yet they get 8-15 new clients every week, and design 500-700 spaces a year! They’ve worked with everyone from hoarders to billionaires.

What makes Affordable Interior Design, affordable, is offering flat rate plans that tell clients exactly what to do and buy, so they can execute it on their own time and at their own rate. The whole process only takes 6 hours! 2 hours are spent meeting in person or online, 2-3 hours are reserved for the designers to ‘shop’ online and build a mood board, and the last hour is to meet back up on the phone to look at and tweak items. All that is left is for the client to execute the vision! Now they can budget accordingly. 90% of Betsy’s business consists of this plan that clients implement on their own, but they do offer packages where the designers do everything as well, it’s just more expensive as you have to pay for their time.


Betsy never spent a lot of time on advertising, if any at all, as her name advertised for itself. If anyone googles “affordable interior design,” her website pops up. Which, is exactly what the user is looking for. Then her reviews, referrals, history, and designers’ degrees and high-end experience leads people to stick around and use the service.

Recently though, for the last 3 months and for the first time in 10 years she has started marketing and hired people to help. As the company grows and more designers are added to the team, she wants to make sure clientele is still growing also.

Betsy has an impressive repertoire of PR but has never paid for any of it. Each exposure has its own story and some were as simple as a Google search. Find her on the Today Show, the Wall Street Journal, LifeTime, NBC, CNN, USA Today HGTV, the DIY Network and more here. Betsy shares with us that TV exposure doesn’t really translate to clientele at the time, but instead, after the fact it gives credibility and interest. A lot of marketing is about good photography and Nick tells us his secret hack on how to get high-quality pictures for cheap.

Inside The Podcast: Big Design, Small Budget

Betsy’s had her podcast now for a year and a half now. She believes that knowing how to design is a right, not a gift. You shouldn’t have to hire someone. The principals of design can easily be learned by anyone, you don’t need a magic eye. Betsy is passionate about giving away her design secrets and imparting everything she knows on others. You have to live in your home, so you should be comfortable doing so. Betsy also tells us how she got started in the podcast world and how it has helped reach and boost her online platform which includes design classes, design packages, and her book.

Of everything, Betsy loves that the items she chooses can really make a difference in people lives. She tells us that she truly believes furniture can change people’s lives.

Contact her at betsy@affordableinteriordesign.com and learn more on her website www.affordableinteriordesign.com


131 – High Point Spring Market 2017 Show #4

High Point Spring Market 2017 Show #4

130 – High Point Spring Market 2017 Show #3

High Point Spring Market 2017 Show #3

129 – High Point Spring Market 2017 Show #2

High Point Spring Market 2017 Show #2

128 – High Point Spring Market 2017 Show #1

High Point Spring Market 2017 Show #1

Today in The Lounge we have a special treat. Nick has just returned from High Point Spring Market where he conducted TWELVE separate interviews. Also, we’ve mixed it up a bit: instead of interviewing interior designers, in this series, Nick talks to different manufacturers, furniture designers, magazine editors and more, all of which he met and spoke with at the Market.

Meet Waynette Goodson and Exterior Design Magazine

Progressive Business Media is the parent company of Furniture Today, Home Accents Today, Gifts and Decorative Accessories, Kids Today, Casual Living and lastly, Exterior Design – of which Nick and Waynette are going to talk about today. Waynette is Editor-in-Chief of both Casual Living and Exterior Design.

Newly launched magazine, Exterior Design, is the first outdoor design magazine of its kind and it will continue quarterly. Exterior Design aims to shine a light on the fact that ‘Outdoor’ is now in. Waynette tells us, “The outdoor category has arrived and now more than ever, outdoor manufacturers want to work directly for Designers.” Waynette and her team’s goal was to create a platform for designers to see what’s new in outdoor design in one concise place. Designers no longer have to go searching for outdoor furnishings, products and manufacturers dropped ‘here and there’ in other design magazines. While big designer names are important in the magazine she also is looking for this platform to serve as an engine for emerging designers to get published.

Waynette explains that the outdoor category is growing, it’s no longer just a seasonal business. Designing outdoors adds additional footage to a home and with new fire and heating components, it has also become more geographically diverse. The most interesting and unique part of it all is that the furnishing must stand up to all the elements. Nick and Waynette point out that these days you can’t even tell that pieces are weather-proof with how beautifully the materials have advanced and products are designed! Waynette also looks to showcase the celebration of color in outdoor design as exteriors are no longer confined to neutral, beige, or chocolate brown tones.

How do I get published in Exterior Design?

Since Exterior Design is so new Waynette is on the prowl for new content! But what is she looking for? Luckily Waynette breaks it down for us. She’s looking for creativity, new ideas, and your own point of view. She wants a geographic and global span of content. Waynette doesn’t want to put too many parameters on it though Exterior Design can morph and grow to its true potential. But if you do send in your work, high-resolution pictures open the door to design community- here is your chance to get published and show what you’re doing! So your photos should be large format and high “magazine-quality ready.”

Reach out to Waynette at wgoodson@casualliving.com.

Attach high-resolution pictures or send a Dropbox, introduce yourself, tell about your project, where it is, when you did it, the manufacturers you used, your fabric choices, your inspiration, and more. Don’t forget before and after pictures if you have them. Listen to the show to find out more about how to send in your work!

Meet Rick Janisheck of Handley Drive with Codarus

Rick is the Creative Director of Handley Drives- and designs the product – decorative accessories. The inspiration behind Handley Drive was a gap between import quality products and super high decor. Rick and Handley Drive aim to build a high-quality aspirational but attainable line where every piece is uniquely designed from top to bottom. Their product mix is always changing, it’s not aimed to be trendy but instead timeless, and not fashionable but instead stylish. Rick describes the product as “cleaned up classics,” they match the classical scale and proportion but their cleaned up and paired down designs to create a modern fresh look while still feeling warm and familiar.

Which are Rick’s favorite pieces in the line?

If he has to choose between favorites, Rick likes fun pieces with surprise elements. The Mansard Tall Cabinet, 8 feet in height appears like a dramatic chest with drawers lining it at first glance but when you actually open it, the bottom flips down to multifunctional desk and bar and the top opens up like cabinets for 40-inch tv screen.

The Put A Hex On You Cabinet is another favorite covered in a dyed smoke eucalyptus and inset with a hexagonal brass pattern. It also showcases over-scale polls and brass stiletto legs.

Handley Drive also makes small accessories like ceramics and artisan vases. Which you can access on their website here.

How does Handley Drive stand out as a new manufacturer?

It’s difficult but luckily Rick has been a furtniture person his whole life. He remembers from 3 years old drawing and designing houses, floor plans, and furniture. His advice is to always know what other people are doing so you don’t duplicate it. You always want to put out something new and fresh. He doesn’t subscribe to trend blogs but it is important to know what’s going on as long as you don’t let it overtake you. Be original and create a cohesive collection with a thought out idea.

Learn more at www.handleydrive.com.


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.

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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!