Let us introduce you to the Valley’s top design and build professionals. Today, let’s get to know Kristen Forgione of THE LifeStyled COMPANY and get to know her positive attitude toward design trends.
Instagram, Twitter and Facebook handles: @lifestyledco @lcodesignstudio facebook.com/thelifestyledcompany
How did you get started in the design industry? After a semester of fashion school in LA, I moved back to Arizona, met my hubby and found my passion after buying our first home. Design school was a dream and while I thought fashion was where I was meant to be, LA was not. Arizona is truly my home and in the process of buying, renovating and decorating our first home, I started blogging. First it was DIY projects, home decor sales, etc., then shortly after I had friends and family asking me to help them put their homes together! After about three months I took the leap and committed to pursue this passion of interiors. Fashion and interiors are so similar in so many ways so while so much of it was brand new, much of it felt like what I had fallen in love with as a little girl. Color and texture and accessories and layering and all that amazing! Just in a home, instead of on a body. Six months into blogging, I gave away three free design sessions and never looked back.
What inspires you and your work? I think the obvious answer is family, friends, goals, parents, a mentor, etc. While I am lucky enough to have all of those inspirations as well, what inspires my work is truly the impact it has on our clients. We are given an opportunity into someone’s most prized physical possession: their homes. They trust us literally with their lives, in that they will be surrounded by our design every day and night. They’ll feed their children in the dining rooms we design. They’ll put their feet up after working their own inspiring journeys on the seating we design as well. The memories made in the spaces we create are the leading inspiration for our work. While the pressure could get to some, I feel like it’s my destined path to be the reason and creative in their lives to lead our team in designing the future of their surroundings.
What has been your favorite Arizona design project? That is suuuuch a tough one because I literally love them all! If you follow us on Instagram @lifestyledco, you probably read my weekly proclamation of really meaning said project is my favorite! Hah! But really, I love them all. My favorite favorite to date was our #LafayetteBlvdProject because we built it from the ground up with E & S Builders and were lucky enough to gain an amazing friendship which lasted far longer than the design and build, with our client. Those are the good ones.
What is something timeless every home should have? White walls. You can literally put anything in front of them and it will feel pulled together. That’s typically the best advice we have for people where their styles may not “match” and they are combining furniture. Neutralize the playing field with white walls. It brings timeless magic!
What is considered trendy in homes at this time? Brass and shiplap…and the funny thing is, we do it all the time! I personally think trends are great! When we design a bathroom with all brass plumbing fixtures, we have that conversation with the client. You know you are going to have to rip this out in five years, yes?! Trends push the market forward–it keeps things evolving.
What do you consider your biggest professional accomplishment? Also a tough one. Probably the ongoing journey of starting, running, operating and evolving with a small business. It is not for the weak. In addition to pushing this business forward, the feeling of knowing I get to wake up every single day and do what I truly love, albeit stressful, is a pretty big professional accomplishment in my opinion.
What advice do you have for young people or students hoping to pursue a design career? I have always said how lucky I feel and recognize I am, that I was able to find my true passion and calling in life at 27-years-old. Before you pursue a design career, really try to get in touch with the life that it brings and the longevity in the field. What do you love about it? What can you bring, in a unique and uncharted way, to the market? How are you going to set yourself apart? Is there a niche within design that resonates with you most? The earlier on you can figure out (and yes, with some trial and error) what makes you fired up inside, the better chance you have of taking the reins early on and working your path. You can be very successful in design working for yourself, or someone else, and there are HUGE differences between them…mostly having nothing to do with design and all with business.