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Winter Warm with Chicago Designer Alexis Bednyak
And she is gracefully pulling it off. With her classic style and fashion savvy ways, the windy city has gotten a serious dose of Alexis Bednyak Design over the last five years.
From transforming a 1960’s condo on the waterfront, and being featured in top design publications like AD and LuxeHome, to hitting up the Randolph Street Market in search of the perfect accessory, Alexis is doing exactly what she loves. And she is no stranger to designing spaces that make her clients feel amazing. In fact, pulling it all together to create the perfect mood is where she started early in her career: as an event planner.
Join us, as Alexis tells us more about her unconventional entry into the design industry, why Carlisle IS the answer, and what she “must-have” to stay happy, IN and OUT of the home this winter…
Alexis Bednyak, Interior Designer
C: Good morning, Alexis. Thanks for taking time to chat with us. We are loving everything about your style. We know you have an extensive background as an event planner. Can you share a little bit about how Alexis Bednyak Design came to be?
AB: Good morning to you. And thank you. Yes; my foray into the field of interior design was anything but conventional. After more than eight years working as an event planner in a variety of platforms, I was given the opportunity of a lifetime: To manage more than eight construction and design project across the country.
It was this six-year stint, combined with the guidance of an incredible mentor and businesswoman, that helped me meld my event experience into design savvy and launch my own firm in 2013.
C: You credit your mentor; what’s the number one thing she taught you about yourself and the business?
AB: Do what you love. It will never work if you’re not doing what you love. She also instilled the importance of building good relationships across the board in order to run a successful business. I am very grateful for the insight she’s given me over the years.
I also learned not to get caught up in trends. Trends have a way of distracting us from what we’re really feeling in our gut as designers. Sometimes you need to have tunnel vision to power through to good design.
C: Was your experience as an event planner a natural lead into design?
AB: Very much. I often say that event planning is like a “cousin” to interior design. When you’re working on an event, you are essentially creating a mood. And much like design, it’s always a collaborative effort between you and your client. I would channel what their wants, needs, and dreams were, then use my creativity and resources to deliver. These skills were completely transferrable to the design world.
C: Let’s talk about your experience with Carlisle. You work with our showroom located in the Chicago Merchandise Mart. How did you learn about us?
AB: My wide plank specialist used to be a colleague in a different niche before she came to Carlisle. We had a great relationship, so I naturally followed her over. The first time I stopped by the showroom, I couldn’t believe how excited she was about her role and the product. It was very clear that this was more than a job.
And it didn’t take long for me to jump in as a fan for many reasons. First, the customizability is SO attractive for designers. I can walk in and say, “Can you do this?” not knowing if what I was envisioning was even an option, and their answer is always, “YES!” It’s awesome.
The ability they have to really tweak and fine-tune a color, length, and width of the boards is phenomenal. It gives me so much freedom to get creative! Whenever I have a project that calls for a particular type of floor, for me, the answer is ALWAYS Carlisle.
Lastly, I feel like it’s really important to support business in the United States. The fact that Carlisle harvests and makes their product in New Hampshire has me feeling good every time I specify a floor.
C: Thank you for such kind words. We love hearing what designers are saying about our floors. We are truly passionate about bringing you a product unlike anything else in the industry.
Shifting gears, we are a little infatuated by your ability to make classic yet bold statements feel effortless and comfortable. What are your must-haves right now for staying happy, warm, and stylish IN and OUT of the home?
AB: Yes! I have a few:
Chicago winters are super gray, so I try to keep my life colorful in other ways. We are obsessing over this new Canadian artist Brent Wadden and his hand-woven acrylic paintings in amazing geometric, bright color combinations. Guaranteed to lift your spirits on a cold and dreary day.
Clichéd I know, but I love a great scented candle. I took a recent trip to the Four Seasons in Surfside — the newly designed Surf Club by Richard Meier with interiors by Joseph Dirand (SWOON!). They had Maison Louis Marie candles lit in the lobby in this lovely scent that just set the tone for the whole vibe of the hotel. I bought a few for my own home, so it could take me back to the beach in spirit when I am stuck indoors all winter.
We aren’t nicknamed the Windy City for nothing. The weather can get brutal here in Chicago, so I LIVE in my Eugenia Kim knitted beanies. She has the best designs in the most delicious materials. I highly recommend them for keeping warm and stylish at the same time.
Alexis, we are already dreaming… how’d you do that? You are a mood whisperer! We can’t wait to see what kinds of wide planks we’ll be crafting for your beautiful Chicago interiors this year. We feel warmer just thinking about it.
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