A Few of our Favorite Things

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chinese cabinet

Meet Cara Stringari | Scottsdale Customer Service

Cara StringariTell us about your past work experience | education:
Prior to C.A.I. Designs I worked at the Arizona School of Real Estate & Business as the Faculty Coordinator and Scheduler for 800 monthly classes and over 125 teachers among 4 campuses.

Before the school, I worked for local designers as Office Manager while I studied Interior Design at Scottsdale Community College.

 

For 10 years prior, I was in various administrative positions such as Office Manager, and Executive Assistant. However, I always had an interest in design which is when I took the leap into this industry.

I have also been a bartender for over 15 years. The industry has come a long way with craft cocktails and craft beer. It is a fun way to entertain guests or spice up a party.

Where were you raised?
Originally from Dallas, Texas; I moved to Scottsdale, Arizona in 1992. The weather was so nice and the town was very quaint so I finished high school and made it my home.

When the summer is too hot we just jump on a plane to the California beach for the weekend, or take a drive up north to the mountains.

In your opinion, what is “good customer service”?
All business is based on relationships with people. Helping people find what they need, or a remedy for a problem. Most people want to feel acknowledged and understood. In my experience, working together to solve the issue is what makes a great relationship prosper. People like to do business with those that make them feel important and that they have trust in. Efficient communication is how you build trust in new relationships.

How would you characterize your design style?
My style is very eclectic. It has changed a lot over the years. When I was younger I enjoyed contemporary, modern clean lines and simple design. More recently I have enjoyed the refinement of luxurious fabrics and incorporating Gothic, Tuscan, and Spanish influences; especially, with rustic woods. I appreciate every style for it’s unique qualities that give it a personality. I have a difficult time choosing one style because I love the feeling they evoke and the mood it sets.

What is your favorite color?
My favorite color is orange. It can be the color of flowers, the gorgeous sunset, or even a metallic copper. It is a vibrant, happy, warm color that compliments my personality.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love to play golf. It has been a passion of mine for over 20 years. We have such great weather in Arizona that we can play year round. I enjoy being outside, and playing a mental sport that challenges me at every new course. I even got a hole in one within the first few years of playing which makes me want to get another.

I frequently travel, and enjoy the change of scenery as well as learning about new people and cultures. I have been to over 40 states, Canada and Mexico. My next adventures will be Hawaii, the Caribbean, and then Europe where I have family and friends.

What is your favorite food?
I love all food! I enjoy cooking and using my home grown vegetables. If i had to choose a favorite it would be Italian. In addition to being comfort food, it is very versatile and perfect to share with friends. You can easily accommodate a variety of diets and customize recipes to make everyone happy. I recently taught myself how to make pasta and pizza from scratch. What a difference it makes when it’s fresh!

What methods do you use to turn negative circumstances into positive ones?
Initially, when an issue arises there may be some tension to relieve. I try to listen to the person, and acknowledge their concerns. I reassure them that I am going to do everything in my power to resolve the situation to the best of my ability and that I am fully capable of handling it. If not, I am more than happy to involve my manager to escalate and have it resolved. I always recap the conversation so the client trusts that I understand all the facts, and follow up with a detailed email letting them know a status update when possible.

Anything else you would like to share?
I am thrilled to be working at the newest C.A.I. Designs showroom in Scottsdale. It is by far the most beautiful office I have ever had the pleasure to work in. It is very hard to have a bad day when you are surrounded by such gorgeous products.

If you are at the Scottsdale Design District, be sure to stop in C.A.I. Designs and say Hello! Contact Cara at (480) 565-3775 x6932 or caras@caidesigns.net

A few of our favorite things

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Lee Sectional

Meet Kady Lindback | C.A.I. Denver Sales

Kady Lindback

Tell us about your past work experience | education:
I was studying photography & culture in Florida when I received a scholarship to Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design.

It was upon moving to Colorado that I decided to change my focus to interior design. In 2010, I graduated with my BFA in Interior Design with an emphasis in Sustainable Methods.

I have since been working in and out of the design world, and it feels great to be back!

 

So you’re originally from Florida?
I grew up along the Gulf Coast of Florida, in Cape Coral. Growing up near the water is a very dear part of my childhood.

What is/was your most rewarding project and why?
The most rewarding projects are always the ones that require you to dig the deepest to find an appropriate solution. I enjoy a challenge and having my hand in a project that’s truly one-of-a-kind.

How would you characterize your design style?
My design style is very eclectic. I’m a definite mix of progressive retro and bohemian funk. I also love antiques. I like a piece that’s had 10 lives before making it into my hands; things with a story.

In your experience working at C.A.I. Designs thus far, what is/are some of your favorite product lines and why?
I’m really digging Taracea, Cisco Brothers and Palecek. Each of them have a very disctinctive look, yet can fall into a laid-back, “California Cool” cohesion. I’m a sucker for the Cali look.

What is your favorite color?
This is a real brain-buster, because my favorite color changes like the wind changes direction. I’ve recently been into this very specific and dynamic shade of pale blue, that I lovingly refer to as “cloud”.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to involve myself in various creative pursuits. I love to write, and I’ve been working on a book of short stories for some time.
I also enjoy refinishing furniture, collecting albums on vinyl, gardening, supporting local music and restaurants, and traveling.

What is your favorite food?
How am I to choose just one?! Cheese is life–the stinkier the better. I am also obsessed with Alfonso mango and avocado (A.K.A., nature’s butter).

Where do you draw your inspiration from? Is there anything you do to get you inspired when you hit a slump?
I draw inspiration from myriad sources. I’ve always felt like I was from different era, so I tend to draw inspiration from classic movies and TV sitcoms, as well as current trends I see in Western Europe and Scandinavia. I love mixing elements of new and old, or putting a new spin on something that’s otherwise outdated. Laverne & Shirley and Mary Tyler Moore have always been monumental inspirations for me, in all capacities of life.

If you are at the Denver Design District, be sure to stop in C.A.I. Designs and say Hello! Contact Kady at (303) 282-8100 x6970 or kadyl@caidesigns.net

 

A Few of Our Favorite Things

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A Few of Our Favorite Things

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A few of our favorite things – The bar

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bar cabinet

For more information, visit Old Biscayne Designs, or contact your local showroom.

A few of our favorite things

Amanda Veller Chicago

Visit your local C.A.I. Designs Showroom, or meet Amanda in person in our Chicago Showroom to answer any questions you have.

Meet Victoria Larsen | Scottsdale Customer Service Representative

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Education/certification

Brief History of your work experience. My first job, at age 9, was setting up the breakfast room and making waffles for guests at my mom’s hotel. Since then, the majority of my work history has been in hospitality. Most recently as a concierges in the city of Chicago. I felt like an ambassador for the Windy City, it was very rewarding when my recommendations made memorable experiences for my guests. I still strive to add a flair of hospitality into my working life today.

Where are you from?

I was raised in the US’s largest piece of land with the smallest population. The back woods of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

What was your most rewarding project and why?

Taking notice of our hard working designers eating habits, I hosted Working Lunch Wednesdays at CAI Designs Arlington Heights. Typically a designers lunch consists of a granola bar or dining in the car on something picked up in the drive thru. Designers appreciated the opportunity to enjoy a homemade lunch and it was nice to see our designers interact with each other and focus on something that brought them joy, like my chicken salad recipe.

What does a usual workday look like for you?

Multi-tasking is the only usual part of my day. At some point I am on the phone, emailing a vendor, and printing out a tear sheets simultaneously.

How would you characterize your design style?

Worldly Eclectic with a Rock n Roll Edge

Where or whom do you draw inspiration from?

Fashion and travel

Where do you see the interior design market going in the future?

More Mechanisms! Custom fitting sofas with a “sleep number” technology, functional accessories like the hand wall hook in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

What is the most important thing to consider when choosing interiors for your home?

It should be a reflection of you and what makes you feel comfortable.

Why CAI Designs?

I hold a deep admiration for the way the owner of our company has grown his business. Starting out in the fabric industry, adding a small furniture showroom with only a few lines, growing into who we are today.

What is your favorite color?

Lavender puts me ease, think of orchids, lilacs, and the color the clouds turn at sunset in Arizona.

What is your favorite food?

Stroganoff, the more tangy, beefy, and creamy the better.  It is the one thing I cook and also enjoy second helpings. I have mastered my recipe.

What is your dream interior design job?

A home for Mr and Mrs. Alice Cooper

What is your favorite part of your job?

It is satisfying to become a trusted resource for the designers.  I enjoy seeing the different ways a designer approaches a project and what inspires them.

Would you say it is helpful to have a designer as the middle man and why?

Are their any insights or helpful hints you can share with designers when they are working with their clients on projects?  A very wise designer, whom I adore, has her clients sign an agreement of expectations. It spells out how special ordering in the industry works, includes a “Murphys Law of Design”,  lays out common bumps in the road with freight companies, and states “Your party/holiday is not a deadline” I think this is genius.

Meet Dana Bryant… C.A.I. Designs Scottsdale, Showroom Manager

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How did you get into interior design?

Being a self taught weaver and lover off all things art and textile, I had the blessed luck of meeting a most talented artist who had just returned from being educated in Paris. We created, wove, sold and shipped beautiful upholstery fabrics to interior designers across the United States, Canada and Mexico for over 15 years. I have continued to love the world of design ever since.

 

What was your most rewarding project and why?

That is really a very easy question to answer. All of them! Seriously, I get the same satisfaction in helping designers and their clients find the pieces that ultimately combine to create their perfect spaces no matter how big or small the project. Their happiness is my happiness!

 

Where do you see the interior design market going in the future?

Humans naturally want to be surrounded by beauty and furnishings that make them happy. Decorated cave dwellings and the stories of Josephine decorating Napoleon’s tents during long battles tells us this human desire has been around before man was even civilized, so it’s not going anywhere. Like most professions there is an art and an education to being an interior designer. The educated general public knows that an interior designer will ultimately save them money and create those beautiful environments we all desire but most cannot accomplish themselves. The direction the industry will go would require the purchase of a crystal ball.

 

Are their any insights or helpful hints you can share with designers when they are working with their clients on projects?

 Yes, two actually. The first rule of sales is to listen to your clients.

Secondly, manage client expectations. Giving clients realistic expectations of the products and process will eliminate a lot of misunderstandings and unrealistic demands.

 

What is your favorite color?

 I love White! White goes with everything; it is the presence of all colors.

Then secondly I love most all colors.