I have been a long-time admirer on Instagram of Krizia and her business Oak and Olive! She has killer style and the renovations she does makes me want to live in them ASAP! Krizia needed a last-minute photographer for her kitchen and bath renovation she did. Along, with some fun headshots!
When I walked into this renovation I immediately fell in love! I don’t usually like all-white kitchens, but as soon as I walked it changed my mind immediately! Maybe it was the black matte handles, or the killer stove, or the classic subway style, or all the beautiful light coming in! IT was a beautiful place! I would LOVE to cook in that every single day!
Let’s get to know the woman behind the design!
How did you get into Interior Design?
I have always loved interiors and decorating; constantly re-imagining my spaces as a kid and even now. Painting furniture really put me on this path of looking at homes and how they feel. Adding a unique painted piece to a home while strategizing how the whole space will work was fun for me, but I never actually thought I would get into Interior Design at that time.
It was during my pregnancy that I really needed to sit down and think of what my next steps were going to be. My husband and I were also in the midst of a large home renovation and it was at that point that I recognized my energy and passion for doing this kind of work. It was thrilling to put interesting materials together, choosing light fixtures, thinking about how we actually use the space and how I can best create a functional AND beautiful space in my own home.
My previous career was in healthcare where I worked as an Occupational Therapist. I learned so many valuable skills that are easily transferable to what I am doing now including leadership, communication, problem-solving, the collaboration-the list goes on. So grateful for all of the experiences during my therapy days as it has given me the confidence to be able to branch out and do this business on my own.
I still feel I am helping people by improving their quality of life. Creating spaces that are restful, comfortable and places they want to share with family and friends.
What is your favorite part of your job!?
My favorite part is the collaboration with my clients and with tradespeople. When I first meet with clients and hear their dreams and goals, I get so excited! So many ideas begin to pour into my head. Putting our heads together to develop a space is really what gives me so much joy. I am a lifelong learner as well and I do not take anything for granted.
When I am meeting with a contractor or visiting a job site, I’m asking all of the questions and learning every detail while appreciating all the work that goes into making a design reality. Renovating older homes is definitely a highlight for me, but these homes come with plenty of issues and there are typically many meetings of the minds to figure out a great solution.
What surprised you most about your job!?
I think it always surprises me at the end of a project on how emotional I get when I see it completed. Especially, when I stage it for a photoshoot and then see the photos-my eyes just well up every time! Designing the space and knowing how happy the clients really just give me all the feels…it’s hard to describe. I get to know the client’s pretty well during this time while also pouring everything I have into their design, so it’s actually a bit sad when the project comes to an end. Having a celebratory glass of wine with the homeowners in their completed space is the icing on the cake.
What did you do to this space?
The kitchen was the main event in this project. The homeowners wanted a more functional kitchen that had a lot of storage as well as being beautiful. They also really wanted to have a bathroom on their main level so their guests would no longer have to go upstairs. So we actually moved the kitchen towards the center of the home and made some space for a powder bathroom.
The new kitchen is now located where their dining room was located previously. The dining room was moved over where patio doors were added and their deck was elongated so they can have a great indoor/outdoor living situation too. We also updated their full bathroom upstairs and made some changes to their master bedroom. It was a big project!
What is your go-to music while you work?
It’s funny, I love music so much but I have to work in silence or else I am so distracted. I love to sing so if there’s a good song that comes on, I really get into it. I DO like to listen to music when I am staging and I often listen to the same music over and over again.
My go-to right now is Kacey Musgraves, Amy Winehouse, Sylvan Esso, oh and maybe my favorite Pandora stations: French Cooking Music Radio and The Girl from Ipanema Radio…they are oh so delightful!
Best advice you’ve ever received?
I do receive a lot of advice! Lucky to have a super supportive husband and a really amazing mentor. I absorb EVERYTHING. There’s a podcast that I listen to that has been my bible on Interior Design-A Well Designed Business. So much business advice. It’s been extraordinarily helpful and eye-opening for me.
The advice you’d give someone wanting to do what you do!?
Ha, I’m not sure I should be giving out advice as I feel I am still learning SO much! I always say if I could go back in time, I would have chosen Interior Design for my degree. Having that foundational knowledge is really important. I completed an online certification course, which helped me a lot and gave me that base knowledge to build off of.
My best advice is experienced…experience everything you can and if you’re passionate about something (anything!) feel it out! Maybe there is something to it or maybe it will lead you to something you’re truly meant for? Specifically for Interior Design-if you can shadow, interview, learn about retail, attend some business classes, find a mentor-that is ALL good stuff and just absorb it all.
Meet people in the industry and talk to them and also meet other business owners locally. Madison has such an amazing community of artists and independent retailers who are building amazing businesses. I’m continually inspired by the work they do daily. I appreciate their friendships, their business advice all while brainstorming new ideas for collaborations!
Three things you can’t live without?
Coffee, hugs (and smiles) from my daughter, getting outdoors.
How do you stay inspired?
Nature is my number one inspiration and I always get new ideas from traveling. I routinely flip through magazines, scan Instagram and check out my favorite designers, and I’m also just inspired to build this business. I’m proud of the work that I do and I love happy clients.
What is your favorite thing(s) to do outside of work?
Travel! We had to slow down a bit while having a baby, but now we are slowly getting back on track. We can’t wait to show our little girl all of the amazing places that are out there! I also have a shopping problem 🙂