Hotel Design

244 – Parker-Torres Design: A Dynamic Duo

Today in the Lounge, Nick sits down with the dynamic duo leading Parker-Torres Design, Barbara Parker and Miriam Torres. Barbara and Miriam are the very definitions of opposites attract as far as their design style and method. Taking advantage of their differences, the two build on each other’s strengths to create beautiful, functional, and dynamic designs. In today’s episode, we learn a little about the development of the firm, how the ladies collaborate on designs and came to be the successful team that they are.

117 – Larah and Dieter: A Power Couple in Design and Branding

Dutch East and Warren Red

Larah and Dieter: A Power Couple in Design and Branding

On this episode of The Lounge, Nick chats with Larah Moravek from Dutch East Design and Dieter Cartwright from Warren Red. This power couple shares their journey from their design beginnings, the chance at meeting through a mutual friend, and how they have joined forces.

Dieter Cartwright

Getting to know Larah & Dieter

Originally, Larah is from Illinois. Her family moved to England, then Texas. She has been in New York for the past sixteen years. Larah loves Spanish and Portuguese wines and the movie Captain Fantastic.

Dieter is from Tasmania, Australia. He has been in the US for ten years now. Dieter enjoys beer, wine, and cocktails. Larah and Dieter met through a mutual friend/vendor and are currently married and live in New York.

How did Larah & Dieter get into design?Dutch East - hospitality design

Dieter always wanted to be an architect. As his parents built their house, he followed the architect around everywhere. Dieter even went so far as to observe meetings between his parents and the architect.

He started to work towards becoming an architect, but was sidetracked as a beekeeper, then hair dresser, then back to studying architecture.

Interior design was never his initial goal. Dieter gained experience in bartending and working in hospitality, which ultimately proved invaluable in his design career. Soon, Dieter started working for a designer in New York, but then the economy dropped. He managed to combine getting laid off with starting his own company.

Larah was not interested in design until later in her life. She grew up interested in poetry and animals. Larah soon found out that she wasn’t cut out for working in a hospital, but she did start to understand how space affected people physically and mentally. She switched her major from biomedical science to interior design.

After traveling for six months, Larah was able to start her own company. Today she typically works on bars and restaurants and wants to create spaces that encourage good social dynamics.

Larah and Dieter began working on projects together and have even begun pitching together. This has allowed for them to expand their bandwidth and offerings to clients. Now Larah and Dieter have decided to merge their companies while keeping Dutch East focused on interiors and Warren Red focused on branding.

Laura Moravek

What does the business look like today?

Larah and Dieter employ two interior designers who work with them. They like to hire people with prior history in other fields, like law and construction.

As a business owner, Larah finds it challenging to balance big picture ideas and strategy with daily minutiae and client relations. She wants to understand and respect everyone. In addition, Dieter doesn’t have a lot of experience working for someone, so he likes to challenge the status quo.

How to get into hospitality

If you are a designer looking to get into the hospitality design industry, Larah and Dieter would first recommend understanding why this field appeals to you. While there is no right or wrong answer, it can be helpful to know what excites you.

They also recommend looking into who is building and hiring and making connections. Referrals and word of mouth are huge within the design industry. Most things come through an introduction or referral, not cold calls. Larah and Dieter are constantly trying to foster a larger network and engage with people.

Hospitality design Dutch east

What’s next?

Larah and Dieter mentioned that lots of change is happening. They want to allow for themselves and their employees to pursue personal passions and work towards common goals. They are interested in owning and operating a small hospitality location, perhaps a bar.

To learn more, please visit Larah and Dieter on their website.

hospitality design

  • 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!

112 – Alicia Cannon: An Interior Designer Since Day 1

Alicia Cannon Interior design

Alicia Cannon: An Interior Designer Since Day 1

On this episode of the Lounge, Nick chats with Alicia Cannon. Alicia talks about keeping her business small, working in New York, and her love for hospitality.

Getting to know Alicia

Alicia Cannon joins Nick in the lounge from BDNY. Recently, she was able to enjoy a vacation off of the coast of Spain. She is also into Pinot Noir and loves accessorizing with scarves. In terms of home decor, she is proud to have purchased a piece from her friend, a Roman artist.

How did Alicia get involved in the Interior Design industry?

Alicia has been interested in design since AJC designshe was “in the womb.” Her mom attended design school in New York while pregnant with Alicia. Even as young as sixth grade, Alicia knew she was going to be an interior designer.

In high school, Alicia continued to fuel her passion by attending architecture school during her summer breaks. Alicia was able to then attend the Pratt Institute for Interior Design. After graduating, she started working in the industry at Gensler, but found herself burnt out after a short time. Alicia then transitioned to a completely different industry, packing materials, where she learned sales and business development.

Alicia was drawn back into the interior design industry and took a job in California with Cheryl Rowley, where she picked up some experience with hospitality. Since, Alicia moved back to the east coast, worked with an architect, and now owns her own business.

What the Business Looks Like

AJC designAlicia’s company, AJC Design, currently employs six designers, and her father even helps with IT bookkeeping and day to day business operations. She likes keeping things small and family- oriented.

The firm currently works on six to eight projects at a time, with 90% being hospitality-based. The residential portion is mostly repeat business that includes new construction and remodels across New York, Texas, and Colorado.

Alicia and her designers follow a pretty specific workflow when taking on new projects with clients that include a meet & greet, a design immersion meeting to get to know the client and to learn what the brand is about, then they build a design narrative or story that dictates the concept. From there AJC starts on schematic designs and design documents.

Working in New York

Alicia says that logistics are a nightmare in New York. She has to measure the elevator, the freight elevator, the windows, and even how high up the unit is. Often, sofas have to be cut in half by a Sofa Doctor to get to where it needs to go, and then is re-assembled once it’s there.

Her biggest project is also located in New York at the Harlem Renaissance Theater, which has 211 rooms and was built in 1917. It is a state-owned project, which creates its own set of hoops to jump through. She was able to work on this project through building rapport and relationships with those in the industry.

Learn more at Alicia’s website, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

  • 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!

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