Today in The Lounge, Nick chats with Jaime Blomquist of Jaime Blomquist Interiors. Based in her hometown of Fort Lauderdale, Blomquist’s business has seen both highs and lows. She talks to Nick about how she got her start and how she overcame the hard times.
Two Different Interior Designers: Charlotte Dunagan and Garrow Kedigan
I have a BIG show today. Two very different interior designers: one from New York, whose design aesthetic is more classical in nature, and one from South Florida, very contemporary.
Garrow was born and raised in Montreal, Canada where he attended the prestigious McGill University’s Architecture program. After completing his formal education, Garrow moved to Boston, MA where he gained six years of experience at the renowned offices of interior designer William Hodgins—before deciding to take a bite out of the “Big Apple.” Garrow has been in New York since relocating in 2000. After working for several design powerhouses in New York City, Garrow established his own design firm in 2001.
Garrow’s classically trained architectural background is the foundation for most of his interior design work, stating, “The architecture is what sets the tone and tells you what you need to do with a space.”
Garrow and I first met at the Kips Bay Show House in New York this spring. He designed an amazing room he called The Napolian Lounge, where he worked with a local chalk artist to create a temporary design on the walls to replicate trim and architectural detail. The room was a big hit at the show and garnered Garrow in the pages of the New York Times.
Garrow and I talk about how he got into interior design, working with his staff, and the some of the amazing projects he has worked on, as well as current projects. Garrow is definitely an interior designer to watch.
The daughter of an interior designer and antique dealer, growing up in Paris Charlotte was born into a world of design. Working and traveling alongside her parents throughout Europe she developed a trained eye for exceptional workmanship and the quality of collectible pieces of art and furnishings.
From these artistic roots, Charlotte began her formal art education at the MGM School of Design in Nice, France, where she studied graphic design, fashion, and interior design. Building on this strong arts foundation and specializing in interior design, Charlotte continued and completed her studies in 1997 at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design. Upon graduation, Charlotte received the Most Outstanding Thesis and Academic Excellence Awards.
Charlotte Dunagan Design Group specializes in high end, large scale residential and boutique commercial projects.
Charlotte and I talk about how her mother influenced her decision to go into interior design, and here eventual move from Paris to school in the United States, and eventually deciding to stay in South Florida to run her own interior design firm.
We did talk about a lot of aspects of running her business, but what impressed me the most was her dedication to her team, and finding the help she needed to run the business of interior design. Charlotte started working with a business coach and saw amazing results.
I found it interesting that both interior designers on today’s show talked about the importance of working for a successful interior design firm before jumping into business themselves. Two very different storied, but both examples of what is possible if you decide to build your own interior design firm.
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, Facebookand 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!
Patricia Davis Brown is a Florida designer that has been in design for 30 years now. She realized from a very young age that she was meant to be a designer before she even knew she could make a profession out of it. She started her own high end kitchen and bath in 1992. She was very successful though she closed her doors in 2010 to move her business to her home. She then decided to go digital with her design. Patricia wanted to share her ideas and designs with people all over the world so she started the below sites.
- professionalkitchenandbath.com allows for consumers to send pictures of their space along with measurements. At that time Patricia and her team will discuss the goals of the space and continue through the preliminary design process. Once there is a firm footprint you allow for the lighting design and then comes the order. There are several packages which you can purchase to have Patricia digitally design your space. Most of this business is done via Skype
- pdbhomestore.com is Patricia’s e-commerce site which provides products for home furnishings
- digthisdesign.net is Patricia’s blog where she receives sponsored posts and discusses all things design from how to wear a swimsuit for you to do it yourselves. She has received tremendous support for this site and this has allowed her to grow her business substantially.
Patricia believes being digital is very important to grow your business.
There isn’t a project that leaves Michael Wolk Design Associates without Michael Wolk personally approving it. He has always been a hands on designer that turns discussions into creations. Stemming from an early love of art, the Brooklyn born Michael Wolk attended Pratt Institute where he graduated with an Industrial Design degree with honors. In college he started designing and building custom furniture as well as designing interiors for lofts. His design and furniture journey brought him to Florida where in 1984, after working for other companies and personally traveling the world; he chose to call Florida home. Focusing mainly on residential and hospitality design – the company has continued to grow.
The growth of Michael Wolk Design Associates has a lot to do with the style in which the company markets itself. With everyone on social media, Michael feels you need to be more in tune with your marketing in order to increase market share. The studio used to rely on paid print ads but now they find publicity a better venue for building the brand, both in print and online. And of course a large portion of Michael’s business is ‘word of mouth’ (roughly 80% is referral/client relationship based). Michael believes that marketing and networking is farming not hunting, you plant the seeds and help it grow before you are able to see the returns.