Our Design Studio is Turning Over a New Leaf
This post is a continuation of our Seasonal Newsletter. Subscribe to follow our story stay in the know.
The phrase ‘to turn over a new leaf,’ describes a shift in behavior toward a positive outcome. Standing on top of a hillside, looking out at the fiery orange and red trees that make up the Park City landscape, this mindset shift was easy to visualize.
Our design studio retreat to Utah was my plan to initiate team bonding mixed in with a little R&R. While there was no shortage of either, perhaps my greatest takeaway was an even stronger appreciation for the power of simple human connection.
The expanded vision I have for CTD is a result of direct dialogue and relationship building with my amazing team. We are unifying our individual strengths, empowering each other, and focusing on quality over quantity. At the same time, we are elevating our look, establishing new partnerships, and forging a path for the company that looks very different from the past.
The Power of Human Connection
To double down on my mindset shift, I’ve made it a point to prioritize in-person meetings and events. Maybe we’re still in the fallout from Covid. I feel like nothing reignites my passion for what I do quite like a real tangible and visceral interaction. Standing in a finished and styled space with a client, sipping coffee over a deep conversation about architecture, or a roundtable session about marketing with fellow design studio founders. These are the memorable moments that make up this incredibly rich year of experience.
January began with a trip to Paris for the Maison & Object trade fair: art, fashion, glamour, history, an incredibly cold January, and the latest European designs. Shortly after, we traveled to Las Vegas for the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show. This Spring, designing the Primary Bedroom for the 2023 Pasadena Showcase House was a crash course in human resilience and perseverance. Our longstanding vendor relationships really came through for us and helped us pull off what felt like an impossible task. The event also marked a turning point in our creative approach. We are reaching for a more bold, moody and less traditional aesthetic as a design studio.
In Summer, Bryan and I took our family to Bermuda before dropping our eldest son off at college for the first time. In August, our team attended the Fall Market at the Pacific Design Center soaking up fascinating panels on everything from public relations to furniture manufacturing. We’ve also made it a point to grow our partnerships and attendance at industry soirees such as the Nina Magon book signing.
Our Fall retreat to Park City, Utah was an exceptional highlight. With two new team members, it was an important time to bond over puzzles, pickleball, and home-cooked delights (some of our team members have some extraordinary culinary skills). I also traveled to Nashville with our Senior Designer, Courtney Staffaroni, to join up with fellow members of the Pearl Collective, a creative leadership cooperative led by Gail Doby. Having the support and collaboration of fellow female founders and interior design studio leaders has been invaluable to me. It’s also the best way to add laugh lines to your face.
In retrospect, it’s east to be proud of the effort my team and I have delivered. The energy we’ve placed toward being intentional about connecting and growing relationships has been exhilarating and we aren’t slowing down. Part of turning over a new leaf means reinforcing these behaviors again and again. All of us are as committed to developing our craft as we are to the relationships that stir the pot. We certainly don’t operate in a vacuum. By nature, interior design is a highly interconnected field of work. We’re out here discovering, learning, executing, and elevating ourselves to bring the very best home and lifestyle experience to our clients.
Our Team Growth
If you caught our Spring newsletter, we hinted at some new hires at CTD. Since we have many new subscribers, here’s a look at the team of wonder women that make up our design studio.
After a brief hiatus, Courtney Staffaroni, endearingly nicknamed “C2” has rejoined our staff as Head of Operations and Senior Designer. This prestigious role is a much needed new development as our team, projects, and process grow in size and complexity.
Courtney has a wide range of expertise and impeccable tact. Juggling budget spreadsheets, client meetings, and furniture mood boards is all in a days work. Full of wit, fiercely loyal, and always on top of the latest canine fashion, we’re blessed to have C2 in our lives.
Raweia Al Nouri
Gorgeous mother of two, Raweia Al Nouri, joined our team in August. She has integrated so well it feels like she’s always been here. With incredible skill as a drafter and 3D modeler, she also has years of experience in ultra high-end luxury interiors. We feature some of her incredible project renderings later in this post.
Rawei proved her skills in the kitchen and on the pickleball court during our team retreat. She’s a ray of light with a very nurturing spirit and grounding energy. To say she is a gem of a woman is an understatement.
If you’ve ever met Eileen Hovsepian, you know she feels like an instant friend. As our resident ‘Client Guru,’ Eileen specializes in adding that personal touch to every client interaction or email. She makes it feel as though the whole world feels okay again.
Design is a second career for Eileen and her taste is exquisite. She always makes the workload feel light and pushes everyone around her to be better. Also a mother of two, we’re grateful for Eileen’s playful humor, natural elegance, and warm smile. She’s a joy to have around.
I didn’t know what I was getting into when I posted the job for a marketing manager. I’d never hired for a non-design position before. Having a background within the design-build industry, finding Lindsey Hassan was like finding a needle in the haystack.
Made evident by our social media and this very blog post, Lindsey has been busy. She has a strong vision for the future of our brand. She is also a yogi, a great cook, and a new mom. Ever the optimist and quite a wordsmith, we are overjoyed to have her on our team.
Then there’s me, the unbreakable dreamer, architect of aspirational beauty and the chief weaver of our soulful, storied spaces. I am a Mom of four kids who are my greatest joy, a recovering perfectionist and lifelong belly-laugh seeker. Since launching Courtney Thomas Design in 2013, the pursuit of potential and possibility have guided my goals. Still reframing my visions for bigger goals yet, I am not done exploring, growing or feeling grateful for the projects and clients I’ve had the pleasure of working with over the last 10 years. My passion is creating spaces that not only connect people to their homes and its architecture, but connect people to nature and each other.
A huge portion of our work is somewhat intangible and hard to see. It can take years to physically fabricate a vision and execute the final details of a design. Below is a slideshow collection of photos from the past year to showcase the work of our design studio.
The Future We’re Dreaming Up
It has been eye-opening to reflect on the year in this way and so humbling to recognize how far we’ve come in just one year. I am grateful to the friends, partners, and followers who root for our success and share in our growth. We would not be able to do the work we love so much without trust from our incredible clients. The new talents and practices we’ve adopted have changed our approach, redefined success, and shifted our expectations.
So what does this mean for the year ahead? As you follow our journey, whether through our newsletter, social media, or in person, we expect you’ll see:
- Published photos from our La Cañada Remodel/Addition
- Behind the scenes at our Beverly Hills luxury condo remodel
- The reveal of our Spanish revival project in Los Feliz
- One-room furniture highlights from our repeat clients
- A website and branding revamp
- Courtney’s garage ADU remodel kicks off
- Much much more!
I look forward to sharing more of our journey with you as it unfolds. As we elevate our look and lean into human connection, change is the best thing I can hope for.
Sending my best wishes to you for the holidays and new year!