Designer Spotlight – ARDesign
“Opening our eyes to more than just one design perspective; together we improve our design capabilities. We really are the perfect team and it has truly paid off.” – ARDesign
Q: Can you tell us a little about how you got started in interior design and your achievements since?
A: The first year out of school was a bit rough for me, I (Alina) had some tough experiences in the beginning of my career that compelled me to go out on my own. Truthfully, I thought it would be a temporary venture, because let’s face it what did I know about running a business, right?! Reflecting back now, the trials of that first year played a significant role in where I am today.
Turns out that despite my age and experience, I had a lot of determination. I fell in love with the projects, my clients, and the sub-contractors that helped me bring the designs to life. I enjoyed the process from the early stages of design through construction including every fire that had to be put out on what seemed like a daily basis.
But behind this designer was always an incredible advocate, my husband Ryan Spicer. He never let me give up on myself, spent nights and weekends being my mentor, and helping me through every project.
Four and a half years into my venture, Ryan and I were newlyweds and I had another bright and crazy idea, “let’s not just be life partners but business partners as well!” We signed the marriage certificate and changed my last name then shortly after signed the business certificate and changed our business name!
Since then, we grew the business from small bathroom remodels, to full condo renovations, to having our first commercial project together now under our belts. It has been an amazing and very rewarding 6 years, but truthfully, I feel like we just got started. We have a new “high” for our business and it is so thrilling what the future holds.
Q: I know Ryan has been an integral part of your journey, what’s that been like for him?
A: Watching Alina grow through the years on her own as a professional and as a person has been inspirational for me. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to grow along with her. Together we were able to make it through the growing pains of starting a practice especially at such a young age and with only one year of professional experience. Her determination as an entrepreneur took us together through many new avenues of the profession that we would have likely not experienced working with a firm. The learning curve was steep but together we helped each other; where one fell short the other picked up. We complement each other very well.
Despite our team approach as a married couple and now business partners the road is not always paved in gold. We experienced the joy that life can bring and the harsh realities of life through the seven years we have been together. We have had several job transitions between the both of us, the start of a new business, our engagement and marriage, my transition as a business owner, successful and failed business attempts and relationships, the loss of a sister, and the effects of cancer on family and friends are just a few.
Through all the successes and failures whether it be personal or business I’m grateful that I can share all of them with my wife and business partner.
Q: With you as the Interior Designer and Ryan with experience in the field of Architecture, this sounds like a well suited match! It’s somewhat rare to find couples who work together in the same industry like you do, but with such creative minds, does working together ever become difficult, challenging, or even more creative?
A: The transition between newlyweds and business partners has its own challenges. We often reminisce and laugh about Alina’s “crazy idea” to become business partners. We are always looking for a challenge so why not get married and start a business together!? We had to now learn to be married full time and work together full time. Each day is a new start as we become better at learning to communicate with each other, how each other works, and becoming cognizant of when and how the other needs support; which is at times not obvious.
We must watch ourselves that business does not overwhelm us. There is a time for business and a time for us. We have a date night set in stone. But we often find ourselves at dinner searching for design inspiration or discussing the restaurant’s restroom design, which seems to be some sort fetish for us!!
Ryan comes with 12 plus years of experience in the field of architecture and interior design and is currently taking his exams to become licensed (because why not throw another challenge into the mix?!). He is a perfectionist and loves white on white with a splash of color. I am a crazy (the good kind of crazy) Interior Designer that loves color! We have our differences for sure, and that is exactly what makes us more creative.
My weaknesses are his strengths, and his weaknesses are my strengths. He sees what I don’t at times and I see what he doesn’t at times. Opening our eyes to more than just one design perspective; together we improve our design capabilities. We really are the perfect team and it has truly paid off.
Q: I’m sure each present their own special challenges, but do you enjoy the commercial side or residential side more of design and why?
A: Wow, this is a tough one and we are a bit torn as we can’t say if we enjoy one over the other.
True each project type has its own challenges; but many are shared between residential and commercial design. Each design is distinctive, and tailor made for the client regardless of the project type. We find residential design to be very personal, down to knowing were the client’s underwear drawer is. In Commercial design, the end user may or may not be the client.
It all comes down to the scope of work when it comes to the commercial or residential project; what the client wants to do. We are inspired by clients that are open to and appreciate design. We love pushing the envelope and designing spaces as a whole; our business plan steers us in that direction. Because of this many times we will not take on a project that requires only furniture or paint color selections. Despite whether it is a commercial or residential project the more walls we can take down, ceiling details we can design and impact we can have in creating spaces that work both aesthetically and functionally the better! This is were the value of a licensed design professional is beneficial for the client and for both project types.
Q: Lastly, I learned that you’re a big fan of our materials here at UMI, especially Pompeii Quartz, and have used it a lot over the years. Thank you for that! Would you mind sharing what some of those projects were, and pictures of those completed projects?
A: Absolutely! Below is a photo of a kitchen install where we used White Mist, Pompeii Quartz.
Q: How can customers get in touch with you if they would like to learn more?
A: We would love to invite them to visit our website www.ardesigninc.com or give us a call with any questions they may have at 239.580.7121.