The Chaise Lounge Podcast



Talking the Business of Interior Design Podcast


  • Interior Designer Chad Esslinger: A One-Man Team Armed With Passion, Processes, & Experience | S29E12

    17/09/2021 Duración: 50min

    We have reached the end of Season 29 of The Chaise Lounge! This week, Nick May chats with Chad Esslinger in Downers Grove, Illinois! Chad grew up in Jacksonville, Illinois. As a kid he was into creating things with LEGOs and drawing houses and floor plans. He studied Industrial Design at the University of Illinois and moved to Chicago after graduating. He went through a few décor jobs over the years, even one where he got to travel. The corporate life became unappealing after a while, however. With enough experience under his belt, Chad set out to start his own business, Chad Esslinger Design, in 2010. Chad is a one-man team. He refers to himself as an "imperfect perfectionist," and recognizes his bad habit of doing too much on his own instead of sharing responsibilities. Despite that, his past experience aided him in establishing systems and processes early on to make the experience smoother for himself and his clients. He also knows to be picky when choosing his clients, enabling a flow of enjoyable proje

  • United Kingdom Interior Architect and India-Native Charu Gandhi | S29E11

    10/09/2021 Duración: 56min

    Welcome to The Chaise Lounge! This week, Nick May sits down with Charu Gandhi of Elicyon in Kensington, United Kingdom!Charu studied at the Architectural Association in the United Kingdom and worked in several architectural firms. After getting involved with interior designers, she loved the idea of combining the structure of architecture and the creativity of interior design. In 2014 Charu founded her own studio Elicyon, where she and her team blend architecture and interior design to create beautiful projects all around the world.To Charu, architecture is not a one-and-done deal, it's a lifelong apprenticeship. Even with all her experience, she is excited and open to learn something new every day.  She encourages her interior designers to become involved in the architectural elements of their projects and vice-versa. Joining her team means going through a rigorous hiring process, and Charu is not at all afraid to bring in people she considers more skilled than herself. Elicyon strives to create a place of b

  • The Perks of Designing Under a Large Firm, with Pembrooke & Ives’ Brigitte Coleman | S29E10

    03/09/2021 Duración: 46min

    Welcome back to The Chaise Lounge! This week, Nick chats with Brigitte Coleman, design director at Pembrooke & Ives in New York City.Brigitte grew up in California, and always knew she wanted to move to New York. She also knew she wanted to be an architect, getting her inspiration from Julia Morgan, the architect behind Hearst Castle. After graduating from Sci Arc in Los Angeles, she moved to New York and worked in hospitality for ICRAVE and Rockwell. Currently she is a design director at Pembrooke & Ives.Brigitte's situation caught us by surprise. She is not owner of a design firm or company, and is not an independent designer. Rather, she leads her own team in one of 6 studios within a larger firm specializing in interior architecture. She gets to pick her team members, and she is very selective, as teambuilding is crucial to her.The idea of working under a large firm may turn most designers away at first, but there are advantages that will be appealing to others. Brigitte focuses only on the design work. T

  • Etching Systems & Processes Into Your Design Business w/ Jessica Nelson & Stephanie Lindsey | S29E9

    27/08/2021 Duración: 48min

    This week in The Chaise Lounge, Nick May sits down with interior designers Jessica Nelson and Stephanie Lindsay, owners of their own company, Etch Interior Design, in Austin, TX. Jessica and Stephanie went to design school in Texas and California respectively. Interestingly enough they both initially thought of studying business before becoming designers. After graduating, Steph and her husband moved to Austin where she met Jessica at a design firm, and became the best of friends. Some time later, they left the firm and decided to team up. The duo's work structure revolves around autonomy; they are very selective when hiring new team members and trust their team to work independently. They also established systems and processes early on to ensure efficiency and provide a good experience to customers. A big contributor to their success - something they encourage other designers to do at any point of their careers - was hiring a business coach. Jessica and Stephanie went from being involved in every single pr

  • Serial Success and NYC Interior Designer Scott Sanders: Trusting Your Childhood Compass | S29E7

    20/08/2021 Duración: 43min

    In this week's episode of The Chaise Lounge, Nick May chats with interior designer Scott Sanders from New York City. Scott always knew he wanted to do design, but living in a small town in Ohio he couldn't quite figure out how to do it. His father and grandfather were builders and owned a real-estate company, and Scott was always fascinated by the houses they built. They embraced and cultivated this interest, and Scott eventually went to Parsons School of Design in New York, later landing a job at Ralph Lauren. After a successful two year run, he decided that he wanted to get his own name out there and made plans to exit Ralph Lauren. Not only did they give Scott their blessing, but also encouraged Scott's accounts to go with him. Scott Sanders opened in New York City in the year 2000. He has designed residences in New Jersey, Boston, Florida, California, and many other places across the country. He recently opened a second location in Palm Beach. So if you found yourself pointing out mistakes on floor plan

  • Architectural Digest’s Digital Director David Kaufman and The Future of Real Estate After COVID-19 | S29E6

    13/08/2021 Duración: 41min

    In this week's Chaise Lounge, Nick May chats with David Kaufman, global Digital Director at Architectural Digest! David has quite the resumé, having worked as an editor for the New York Times, Quartz, New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, and many more. He went into Architectural Digest with an understanding of the real estate world. He has a particular fascination with celebrity culture and gossip, as well as recent interior design trends like personal gardens. David shares his thoughts on the future of interior design and real estate in a post-Covid world. There is plenty of uncertainty as things continue to transition to the "new normal". Millions of people were forced to work and/or study from home, and many took the opportunity to create a study room, or a Zoom office. Some created extra bedrooms and even gyms. With everyone going back to their workplace, will they keep those new rooms or will they revert? Those who bought an extra house to escape the chains of the quarantine, will they sell it? As

  • Milieu Interior Designs’ Founders and Creative Power Couple: Janessa & Stephen Gertz | S29E6

    06/08/2021 Duración: 52min

    This week in The Chaise Lounge, Nick May interviews interior designers Janessa and Stephen Gertz, owners of Milieu Interior Design in Chicago, IL.  Janessa graduated from Harrington Institute of Interior Design, while Stephen graduated from Illinois Institute of Art. By the time the couple met in 2014, they had already each started their own business. After getting engaged, Stephen convinced Janessa to merge their businesses into a single company. The Gertz's work together in every project. Janessa is stronger in the finances and Stephen brings in his experience as an electrician. The nature of their partnership offers a comfortable experience for their customers (often other married couples), and makes it so that everybody involved feels like their input is valued. This, along with raising a child, does introduce the challenge of making time and finding qualified candidates to build their team. Many of their recent projects include home-offices and children's bedrooms, as more and more people find themsel

  • Ode to People, Ode to Things, with Interior Designer Nike Onile | S29E5

    30/07/2021 Duración: 54min

    Welcome! In this week's Chaise Lounge, Nick May sits down with Nike Onile, creator of Of Things Ode in Toronto, Ontario.Nike, like many guests we've featured on the show, had an artistic inclination at a young age but became an interior designer at a later part of her life. Coming from a Nigerian family, she was required to choose between a career in medicine, law, or engineering. Her parents were accepting of her interest in art but only saw it as a hobby. Nike studied bio-technology and worked in Pharma for a few years - but not without working design projects on the side for a few clients. This resulted in her getting an administrative position at Studio Munge, one of Canada's leading design firms. Despite this transition being a professional and personal risk, it was the golden opportunity for Nike to start doing something she knew she would enjoy.While at Studio Munge, Nike continued working on her side projects, now under her own brand 800 Sq. Ft. She then created The Apartment, a small space that she r

  • Award-Winning British Interior Design Legend Fiona-Barratt Campbell | S29E4

    23/07/2021 Duración: 41min

    We hope you're prepared, because this week on The Chaise Lounge we had the honor to interview Fiona Barratt-Campbell, one of Britain's most prolific figures in the interior design industry. Fiona's success as an entrepreneur and designer can be traced back as early as her childhood. Her parents worked in retail, and instilled in her a strong work ethic - and she truly enjoyed the fast-paced nature of the retail environment. Her biggest inspiration to become an interior designer was her grandfather, Sir Lawrie Barratt, founder of Barratt Homes, one of the largest residential development companies in the United Kingdom. After completing her Art Foundation in the UK, Fiona traveled to New York where she studied interior design at Parsons School of Design. She got an internship at Victoria Hagan, was interviewed by Richard Branson's board and landed an envied position to work at Virgin hotels. Finally in 2006 she opened her own design studio: Fiona Barratt Interiors. Ever since, Fiona's stunning work can be fou

  • Interior Designer Jill Howard and Her Journey to Open Her Own Studio | S29E3

    15/07/2021 Duración: 44min

    Hi there! We hope you are prepared because this week in the Chaise Lounge, we are joined by Jill Howard, founder of Jill Howard Design Studio. Growing up in a small town in the mountains of Virginia, Jill was not aware that one could become an interior designer. All she knew was that good grades meant becoming a doctor or a lawyer. She went to the College of William and Mary to pursue the former, only to find it was not the field for her. Later, Jill entered the world of music, which led to her studying music business (and meeting her future husband.) She purchased a house and found herself decorating it frequently. This gave her plenty of experience in business and a revelation for her new dream career. Jill entered the New York School of Interior Design. Through hard work and a strike of luck, she worked with some of the largest names in the world of interior design, including Tom Scheerer and Jesse Carrier. 10 years later, Jill and her husband moved to Charleston, where she opened her own design studio.

  • Interior Designer, Podcaster, Actress, and International English Professor Rebecca Hay | S29E2

    09/07/2021 Duración: 58min

    Hello! Glad to see you around. This week in The Chaise Lounge, Nick chats with Rebecca Hay, owner of Rebecca Hay Designs in Toronto, Canada.Though interested in interior design and entrepreneurship at a young age, Rebecca didn't enter the field until after experimenting with other careers. Initially she wanted to be an actress and a teacher. She went to school for musical theater, though she didn't feel ready for the stage just yet. She then graduated in political science and cultural studies.Later, Rebecca traveled to Spain to teach English, but was turned off by the bureaucracy and strictness of the work. When she returned home, she couldn't decide whether to study design or pursue an acting career. While Rebecca eventually landed a few acting gigs, they didn't allow the freedom and creativity that she yearned for.Finally, she went back to college for her true love, interior design. After a few years of being a designer, Rebecca started her own podcast, Resilient by Design, which aided her in networking, co

  • Interior Design Superstar Corey Damen Jenkins and His Prolific Projects | S29E1

    02/07/2021 Duración: 44min

    Welcome back! We are happy to have you here for the Season 29 premiere of The Chaise Lounge. And what better way to kick things off than with renowned interior designer Corey Damen Jenkins! Corey has been up to a lot for the last few years. In 2021, he presented Mouths Wide Open, a collection of drawings depicting all kinds of people doing a variety of facial expressions.  His company, Corey Damen Jenkins & Associates, LLC, has been steadily growing. His team is preparing to work on exciting projects—from apartments to mansions—in many different states and even Canada! What's more, Corey has written and published Design Remix, his first coffee-table book! In it, Corey discusses his thoughts on traditional interior design and how to adapt it to modern tastes. Be sure to check out Corey's book Design Remix: A New Spin on Traditional Rooms, and follow him on Instagram @coreydamenjenkins! What's most important for me is longevity... saying 'yes' to the right opportunities... and saying 'no' to the wrong on

  • Architect & Interior Designer Mark Lavender + Creative Genius Gail Doby | S28E12

    30/04/2021 Duración: 53min

    Welcome back to The Chaise Lounge! On our season finale, Nick sits down with two guests! First he interviews Mark Lavender from M. Lavender Interiors in Chicago, an interior design firm that focuses exclusively in residential projects. Fascinated with blueprints, Mark studied architecture in the University of Kentucky. He worked for two prestigious architecture firms, working mostly in healthcare projects. M. Lavender Interiors came about when Mark realized he enjoyed working with other designers in residential development. Mark found building hospitals an incredibly noble pursuit; he puts the utmost care and attention in every house his company works in, so that anyone's dream house can become a reality. Next up, we have Gail Doby, co-founder and CEO of Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting. Friend of the show, and always a pleasure to talk to, Gail's excited to announce the release of her new book - and of course she and Nick hang out for a little while. Be sure to visit Mark Lavender's interior design webs

  • Margarita Bravo: Industrial Engineer Turned Home Designer | S28E11

    23/04/2021 Duración: 56min

    Greetings! In this week’s The Chaise Lounge, Nick May interviews Margarita Bravo, industrial engineer turned interior designer, with experience in finance.Born in Venezuela, Margarita has been fascinated with construction since she was a child. Watching her grandfather build things from nothing inspired her to enter the field. She worked for an oil and gas company until she moved to Denver, CO. Since she could not find a house she liked, she and her husband built their own house and found she enjoyed interior design.Today, Margarita has her own business where she can do makeovers, or make new houses for people moving to Denver. She is also starting a home décor rental business and a furniture business.Visit Margarita Bravo's website,, and check out her home décor rental business at Also make sure to follow her on Instagram @margaritabravo__ I just love what I do. I'm very passionate about it. Every single project, I'll take like it's my own house.

  • Starting His Foundation with Principal Architect Eddie Maestri | S28E10

    16/04/2021 Duración: 43min

    Welcome! In this week’s Chaise Lounge, Nick May chats with Eddie Maestri, owner of Maestri Studio in Dallas, Texas. His business offers architecture services, interior design, finishing and landscape design. Architecture has been an important part of Eddie's life since childhood. After graduating from Texas A&M with Master's Degree in Architecture, he worked on an architecture firm and would do architecture work on the side for his friends. During the market crash of 2008, Eddie decided to take his side gig full-time, and today he runs his own architecture and interior design firm, as well as his own art gallery. Visit Eddie Maestri's website,, and check out his business Instagram @Maestristudio, or his gallery Instagram @Maestrigallery. I think it just takes education, to help them understand how it works and I've been trying to get better and better at explaining that and to adjust their expectations. Eddie Maestri Tweet Chaise Lounge Updates  Coast to Coast Des

  • Flipping the Switch w/ Christian Daw | S28E9

    09/04/2021 Duración: 43min

    Welcome!  On this week's Chaise Lounge, Nick May sits down with Christian Daw, from Christian Daw Design.  Christian started as a lawyer before making a career switch.  However, while going through school, Christian would flip houses on the side.  Nick and Christian discuss his transition to the design world, the origins of Christian's company, and how he built his company in three short years. Follow Christian Daw on Instagram @Christiandawdesign! I just kicked myself in the ass and was like don't let this ever happen again. So that just meant it's not about the money, just hire. Christian Daw Tweet Chaise Lounge Updates  Coast to Coast Design is back baby! Give it a listen to learn about just how many ways there are to run a design business. Our Events Page Resources See what our sponsors can do for you. Upcoming Markets High Point Market – June 5 - 9, 2021 More About Our Sponsors Wrap Up If you would like to hear more episodes, please visit us on iTunes, Spotify or your fa

  • Talking High Point Market w/ Keita Turner, Thom Felicia & Ashley Grigg | S28E8

    02/04/2021 Duración: 48min

    High Point Market is only 2 months away!  On this week's episode of The Chaise Lounge, Nick May sits down with Keita Turner from Keita Turner Design, Thom Filicia from Thom Filicia Incorporated, and Ashley Grigg, Director of Marketing Communications at High Point Market North Carolina.  With High Point Market quickly approaching, they discuss Fall High Point Market 2020, and want precautions they took then to be a safe environment and what they are doing to remain safe in June.  They also talk about some of the silver linings for having to work around COVID, and what benefits were created from that.High Point Market is June 5 - 9, 2021.  To register head over to out everyone's website or follow them on Instagram:Keita Turner -,, @KeitaTurnerDesignThom Filicia -,, @ThomFiliciaAshley Griff -, @HighPointMarket There were some editors that would see me

  • Reflecting on a 40 Year Career with John Robert Wiltgen | S28E7

    26/03/2021 Duración: 01h01min

    Welcome! In this week's Chaise Lounge, Nick May sits down with John Robert Wiltgen from John Robert Wiltgen Design, Inc. based in Chicago, IL.  John Robert Wiltgen is currently retired after being an interior designer for 40 years. John shares his experience with Nick, from how he got started in the design world to starting his first company with a former classmate to even working with the Nigerian government.  With 40 years of experience, John also reflects on what made him so successful along with giving his opinion on what up-and-coming designers should do to succeed in the design world. Check out John Robert Wiltgen's blog,, also on and follow John Robert Wiltgen Design, Inc. on Instagram @johnrobertwiltgendesigninc! The reality of it is, you really just don't know until you try and you shouldn't limit yourself because someone tells you something. John Robert Wiltgen Tweet Chaise Lounge Updates  Coast to Coast Design is back baby! Give i

  • 1stDibs’ Anthony Barzilay Freund on the Luxury Marketplace | S28E6

    19/03/2021 Duración: 54min

    Welcome to this week’s episode of The Chaise Lounge! This week Nick May sits down with Anthony Barzilay Freund the Editorial Director of 1stDibs. Nick and Anthony discuss the origins of 1stDibs, which was started 20 years ago by Michael Bruno, and their rise up to be the powerhouse that it is today.  With 4,000 individual shops from over 55 countries around the world, 1stDibs not only has luxurious items but also explains the origins of these items. They also dive into 1stDibs' survey on The Top Interior Design Trends of 2021.  For more information on 1stDibs, check out or follow them on Instagram @1stDibs! *Editor’s Note: Anthony meant Paul Evans not Paul Williams. It's my duty to not tell the story that people want to hear, it's to tell them the stories they should be hearing. Anthony Barzilay Freund Tweet Chaise Lounge Updates  Coast to Coast Design is back baby! Give it a listen to learn about just how many ways there are to run a design business. Our Events P

  • A Look into the World of Model Home Merchandising with Rhett Alexander | S28E5

    12/03/2021 Duración: 39min

    Today on The Chaise Lounge, Nick May is joined by Rhett Alexander (Rhett Alexander LLC). Nick has an interesting connection to Rhett, as he designed the community that Nick’s parents are living in now! Rhett was born in Columbia while his parents were serving in the Peace Corps which he later joined himself. Through the Peace Corps, Rhett was awarded a scholarship and earned a master's degree from Columbia University. While teaching at a school in Orlando, he attended a community college for interior design and worked as an intern - later starting his very own firm. Rhett Alexander LLC specializes in model home merchandising, sales centers, clubhouses, and vacation homes. Learn more about Rhett at his website, or follow Rhett on Instagram @RhettAlexanderLLC! The single most important thing that I learned was starting every job with a budget and sticking to it. Rhett Alexander Tweet Chaise Lounge Updates  Coast to Coast Design is back baby! Give it a listen to lea

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