Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Design Diaries: Munger Interiors

Happy Thursday!  Today I am thrilled to bring you the 3rd installment of "The Design Diaries" series, featuring Houston-based interior design firm, Munger Interiors.  
Munger Interiors is owned by Amy and Elizabeth Munger, adorable sisters and partners. In addition to interior design services, they also offer full service advisory for art acquisitions and collectors. I had the privilege of sitting down with the sisters in their stylish Houston office to learn more about their business. 

What are 5 words that describe your style?

Classic but fresh, livable, unformulated, welcoming, detailed

How would you define your aesthetic?
We strive to design livable, transitional spaces.  We love to mix different elements together- like antique chairs with a more modern lucite coffee table or funky lamps.  We want our spaces to endure over time but still feel fresh.

What does a typical day look like for you?
In the mornings we like to meet at the office to discuss the day's events.   From there, we are off to meet with clients, go to the Decorative Center, go visit a job site, and so on.  At the end of the day, we like to reconvene at the office to answer emails, send off invoices, and get things organized for the next day.

How did you decide you wanted to become interior designers?

Amy worked in the art advisory field for over 17 years, serving as VP and Managing Director of one of the premier art advisory firms in the nation.  Her extensive experience working with some of the largest and most recognized corporate and private collections led her to found Munger Interiors, Interior Design & Art Advisory Services in 2o08.  It wasn't too long before Elizabeth joined her sister as a partner at Munger Interiors.  
Elizabeth was working for an interior design firm and decided she was ready to go out on her own.  With one client, they were officially in business.  "We began our business in 2008, during the economic downturn.  It was actually a blessing in disguise, because the slower economy allowed us time to figure out how we were going to run our business and to adjust to our new roles as business owners" Amy and Elizabeth explained.

What is your favorite part of your job?

"We honestly have the very best clients.  They become like friends to us!"  Elizabeth says.  "People tend to think interior design is a rather superficial business, but at its core you are designing a home where a family will share their most special moments- Christmases, birthdays, new babies, etc.- it's a much more personal process than one would think."  We are also very lucky to have another design associate, Laura Weaver, and assistant, Lindsey Looke, in our offices.  We all work together well as a team, and that makes things fun!

Do you have any advice for aspiring designers?

Both sisters emphasized being kind to others.  "You never want to burn a bridge.  Do whatever it takes to make things right.  Sometimes that means admitting to a client that you dropped the ball on an order.  Just communicate with them and be open about the situation."  Amy says.  In addition, Elizabeth says, "Pursue a career you are truly passionate about.  If you aren't sure what your passion is- keep searching and exploring till you find it."

What are 3 items currently on your "bucket list"?
1.) Travel to Europe-we are taking their first business-related trip there this year!
2.) Have our own fabric line someday
3.) Have our work published on a cover of a magazine- and our own coffee table book would be a dream, too!
[Editors Note:  Munger Interiors' work will be published in the May issue of Coastal Living!  I don't think it will be too long before they have a cover.]

How do you balance your home life with your work life?
"We are very family-oriented.  Our family means the world to us.  We want to have it all- the family, the fulfilling career, the social life.  So for the other Munger Interior employees- we want them to be able to have it all, too"  Amy explains.
After leaving their office, I couldn't shake the overwhelming feeling of positivity both girls exhibited.  It was such an inspiring interview for me, as I embark on my own journey of starting an interior design business.  It is quite evident both girls love what they do, and are passionate about creating beautiful spaces for their clients.  It was also inspiring to meet such kind, genuine women, who were willing to speak openly about their experiences.

I can't wait to see what's next for Munger Interiors!  Don't forget to pick up your copy of Coastal Living this May to see the Galveston, TX beach house they designed.  To view more of their portfolio, visit their website here.
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