Designer Spotlight: Stacey Lapuk of Stacey Lapuk Interiors, San Francisco, CA
Stacey – how did you get where you are today?
I graduated from University of CT with a BFA and didn’t quite know what I was going to do. I came out to CA to visit friends, and ended up staying here. I studied interior design and interior architecture at UC Berkeley’s extension program. While working in the advertising field, I began getting interior design clients, and a time came when I let go of everything else and focused all my energy into my design business. I found my fine art background distinguished me from other designers.
How do you classify your taste? Do you always apply your preferred aesthetic into your design projects?
If a design aesthetic can be thoughtful, appropriate, experienced and nuanced, then yes, it’s always applied to my projects. But each client is unique, their energy and that of their families are special to them, and it becomes my goal to create a space that reflects them, their dreams, their needs and their joy.
How do you stay current and source interesting, new-to-market products and materials to incorporate in your designs?
I have relationships with showrooms, vendors, artists and manufacturers, some that go back 30 years, and those conversations usually incorporate interesting elements happening in the industry. I read, and I research. Just because something is new doesn’t make it better or appropriate for a client. The design concept is developed and then the elements are incorporated. So I pretty much know what I’m looking for at that point.
Are there certain trends, materials and/or colors you’re particularly into right now?
Trends are an interesting thing. They’re developed from world economies, events, future expectations, and so on. Great design can’t rely on a trend, as most clients aren’t going to re-design every few years. I have a client for whom I designed a beautiful Victorian in Pacific Heights here in San Francisco probably 10 years ago, and she still loves everything just the way it was designed.
All that said, I’m more particular about the origin of the pieces I use, how environmentally sound their manufacturer is, the use of fire-retardants and the like on fabrics, and similar concerns. New and wonderful fabrics are entering the market constantly as new technologies offer up amazing choices.
The colors I’m personally gravitating towards now have a softness to them. Gray and yellow for example, rather than gray and white. But of course, the color for a project lies fully in the project – the architecture, light, a rug or artwork the client has.
Who are some of your favorite local San Francisco vendors that you work with?
My favorite showrooms in the SF Design Center include Kneedler-Fauchere, DeSousa Hughes, Sloan Miyasato and Shears and Window.
Outside the Design Center are trade resources with whom I’ve developed relationships over the years. I can offer a client choice and either find or create for them whatever will work within their budget utilizing these craftspeople, furniture makers, upholsterers, metal workers and other artists.
How does designing make you feel?
When I’m in the process of developing a concept, I feel I’m in my “Zone of Genius”, according to Gay Hendricks in his book “The Big Leap”. The feel excitement and calm, focused and open, and so many other seemingly disparate ways of being all at the same time. It’s like a meditation.
What’s your business mantra?
Service, creativity and joy. I’m my clients’ strongest advocate, and many times we are close partners in the realization of their home’s interiors. The sooner I can get on board with the team (architect, contractor, landscape designer etc.), the more choice, ease of decisions and less chance of expensive mistakes the client can enjoy.
How do you receive inquiries and leads for new business?
Referrals from clients, architects, contractors and realtors. Many years ago, I did Designer Showcase Houses, which led to magazine covers and articles, competition awards and the like. Now, I’m more particular about the partnership between a client and myself, and I find referrals are much better at determining if we might be the right match.
What are the go-to resources, groups and forums that you refer to day-to-day?
I don’t, really. I like looking through magazines and books, learning about new disciplines (right now I’m having a great time getting my feet wet with Biophilic design), and visiting museums and galleries.
When you start a new project, how do you get to know your client and the space?
I’ve actually studied intuition, and have a great ability to read people. I have an intake process with new clients, the conversation/interview revealing mostly everything I need to know. And of course, at each meeting, I learn something new, and we get to know one another a bit more deeply. With 30 years of experience, I can usually pick up on just about anything. Knowing the space is a visual imagining and energetic exercise.
How do you juggle multiple projects at once and stay organized?
I only work on the concept development of one project at a time. I have systems in place that keep me on track and I just brought on an amazing business manager to hold it all together.
In your opinion, what’s the most rewarding part about finishing a project?
Happy clients. Helping to make someone’s dream come true.
Why did you join Ivy?
I was looking for a project management platform that integrated with Quickbooks.
How has Ivy helped streamline your workflow?
I’ll be using Ivy at the start of 2017. Assuming it performs like the software I’m using now, I’ll be able to see everything that’s going on with a project in one place, and the client can always check to see where things are. Proposals will be integrated with purchase orders which will generate invoices. I’ll be able to see my profitability in various areas, and learn where to put most of my energy.
What’s an Ivy feature you can’t live without?
Images of products, along with all I mentioned above.
Are you an interior designer in search of an easy interior design software and project management tool to run your business? Learn more about Ivy here.