On the season finale of the Chaise Lounge, Nick sits down with Belinda O’Kelly and David Kasprak the two architect-designers who founded O’Kelly + Kasprak in 2010 together after the firm hospitality firm they had both worked at dissolved. Nine years later, they run a company that can design from the ground up, manage projects as they go and even offer services as specific as acoustic engineering.
Today on The Chaise Lounge, Nick chats with Michael Stornello and Tom Konopiots, the couple behind Chicago’s Vincere, LTD. Both men started their adult lives in very different careers. Stornello was executive vice president of development at the company that would become CBS Television Distribution, and Konopiots was CEO and COO respectively of two different futures trading companies. At one point, Stornello was living his work week in L.A. and commuting back to Chicago to spend weekends with Konopiots. All the while they’d both become master decorators in their own homes, moving in, remodeling the place and eventually moving back out. So, in 2007, Stornello started Vincere, and three years later Konopiots joined him to become full-time business partners.
Welcome back to the Chaise Lounge. Today, Lauren Svenstrup of Studio Sven is in the Lounge. Svenstrup tells Nick all about her circuitous route from studying woodworking in Michigan’s upper peninsula to interior design in the first place and through interior design to running her own company.
Happy Friday from The Chaise Lounge. Today, Nick talks with Leslie Bowman, founder of The Design Bar, a company that runs a 7,000 square foot showroom with a constantly shifting inventory but also offers design services as well as construction and renovation all out of the same shop.
Edyta Czajkowska: She does it all as a Chicago Interior Designer
On this episode of The Chaise Lounge, Nick chats with Edyta Czajkowska. Edyta talks about why she eventually chose interior design over architecture, what she loves about keeping her business small, and what’s on her roadmap for the next ten years.
Getting to know Edyta
Edyta is joining Nick in The Lounge from right outside of Chicago. She would love to know how to sew, specifically window treatments. Edyta was a ballroom dancer and currently indulges in reality TV, including Flipping Out. Along with some white wine or a mojito, Edyta loves the paint color Revere Pewter and frequently uses it in her designs because its warm and fresh.
When Did Edyta Become Interested in Interior Design?
Edyta’s mom was always into creating a beautiful home, but since she didn’t know any other way, Edyta didn’t realize she was specifically interested in design. Later in high school, Edyta was able to choose interior design electives and knew she was heading in the right direction. She continued on to design school and started working after graduation.
Edyta thought she wanted to get her Masters in Architecture, but soon identified she was pursuing this for the wrong reasons. She determined that she enjoys the details and personal aspect of design. Edyta is not the type to spend so much time in front of a computer in a CAD program.
Edyta acknowledged that she learned a great deal in school, but that it’s not the only way to learn and get into the profession. She enjoyed being able to choose courses that help steer you in the direction you want to go and mentioned that the business classes were helpful.
Edyta has worked in both commercial and residential settings. She likes the processes and formalities in place when working on commercial projects, but soon identified that she really enjoys working with individual people to help them create a lifestyle.
In 2009, Edyta set out to start her own business taking on small projects including decorating an apartment. This first project soon snowballed into more business. Edyta & Co. Interior Design was off to a great start!
What the Business Looks Like
Currently, Edyta runs the show, with the help of an assistant as needed. Her interior design projects are primarily residential, and she takes on two to three at a time, ranging from a single room to whole home.
She is still challenged when it comes to sitting down and completing the business side of things, including taxes, bills, etc. She knows this is a necessary evil to keep the business running, but would prefer to spend this time finding creative fulfillment. Edyta’s best clients are referrals and repeat clients. Even lately, Edyta’s designer friends are referring clients her way due to her Mid-Western, Chicago location.
Over the next ten years, Edyta has some lofty goals in place. She would like to still be involved with interior design and working with clients, but in addition would like to take on more projects in different states or even abroad. She would love to create or license a textile line and have a showroom.
Artists Delight: Modra Studio
Nick chats with Fernando Apodaca and Tamalyn Shea from Modra Studio. Fernando and Tamalyn discuss their passion for transforming fine art into so much more and Edyta talks about why she eventually chose interior design over architecture, what she loves about keeping her business small, and what’s on her roadmap for the next ten years.
How Modra Studios Began
Fernando Apodaca and Tamalyn Shea are joining Nick from La Jolla, California, where they create fine art pieces in 3D and translate them into 2D forms of fabric, drapery, upholstery, pillows, etc. Fernando and Tamalyn met at a charity event eight years ago with a dream of merging a creative studio with textiles. They soon began working together.
When Did Fernando and Tamalyn Become Interested in Interior Design?
Fernando’s parents were artists and musicians. They shared their lifelong pursuit of fine art with their son. Initially, Fernando worked as a director for film and music videos, but then found his home as a textile designer\, where he can marry all art forms together in an immersive space.
Tamalyn has a background in print production as a Director, which has proven invaluable in her current work. As a creative outlet, she loves oil painting.
What the Business Looks Like
With a smaller selection of stocked SKUs (around 50), Modra also offers a large library of ideas and patterns, with the ability to customize. Within the last year, they have established a sampling and distribution program, in addition to selling through showrooms in California and New York.
When asked about selling to the trade, rather than straight to consumer, Fernando responded that it’s exciting to see what designers do with their fabrics and that it is exciting to be able to offer tools to designers to create meaningful and inspiring environments for clients.
Within the next five years, Modra Studio wants to have showrooms both locally and globally as well as make their scarves more readily available to those interested.
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!
Kim Scodro: Chicago Interior Designer
Kim Scodro is an award-winning, Chicago and Arizona-based interior designer who brings to her work a refined sense of style and appreciation for the fun and unexpected. As a wife and mother of two, Kim has experience in creating environments that are warm and relaxed while also exciting and unique. Her signature interiors are timeless yet current, mixing a classic aesthetic with modern and whimsical accents. Kim received her B.A. from Loyola University and is an ASID Allied Member in Illinois and Arizona.
I enjoyed my conversation with Kim, as it was nice to talk to a designer from my Chicago, where I grew up. Kim shared how she hires designers and staff, how she keeps two offices, one in Chicago, and one in Arizona, and why it is important to say no to clients.
To get in touch with Michael , contact him through his website at Kim Scodro Interiors.