When Carly Loobeek wanted to move closer to her family in Burlington, WI, the one drawback was her love for her job as an interior designer with Studio M Interiors in Minneapolis, MN.
Loobeek had interned with Studio M while pursuing her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. After graduation, she joined the firm as a design assistant before becoming a designer.
When Loobeek told the company of her plan to move, she discovered that Studio M was as reluctant to lose her as she was to leave her job. The company in turn presented her with a proposal–seeing if she would be interested in becoming a Studio M partner and opening a new location in Lake Geneva?
“It was the right time and the right fit for both of us,” Loobeek says.
In September, Studio M Interiors purchased the building at 300 Sage Street in Lake Geneva. After a two-month remodel, the firm opened a 2,300-square-foot design studio and showroom, the first outside of its Minneapolis location.
The Lake Geneva studio extends the Studio M brand, albeit on a smaller scale than its Minnesota parent, with its 25,000-square-foot showroom and ten in-house designers. The Lake Geneva location employs one designer in addition to Loobeek as well as a design assistant.
The two locations have similar clienteles, as the Minneapolis headquarters is in Plymouth, not far from the Lake Minnetonka resort area.
“The firm became known for its design of lakehouse interiors,” Loobeek says. “Coming to Lake Geneva felt like the perfect fit.”
While Loobeek helmed home remodeling projects, design for interiors in new construction, and commercial projects in Minneapolis, the early work in the area surrounding Lake Geneva has largely been residential.
Studio M Interiors is “full service,” Loobeek says, “down to the last accessory.”
When someone comes to us looking to design a home or remodel an existing residence, “we walk them through the decisions that can become so overwhelming,” Loobeek says.
During the first consultation, a Studio M designer’s goal is to listen to the client’s likes and dislikes as well as take pictures and measurements. Sometimes clients are inspired by something they have seen on television or in a magazine and other times they have their own original ideas for the designers to work with. The designer then takes that information and adds in various considerations–the scale of the home, budget expectations, and appropriate applications, such as if a wall covering needs the durability for a high-traffic area.
“We help clients find the appropriate way to bring inspiration to reality,” Loobeek says.
As the consultations continue, ideas are refined. Will the work be done all at once, or perhaps one level or room at a time? “We try to pick the most important and achievable spaces to do right away,” Loobeek says.
At what Loobeek calls the ‘business meeting’ portion of the project, the designer and clients discuss the scope of the work and approve the budget for the designer’s time and the cost of materials. After that, “the design is the fun part,” Loobeek says.
With “respect to the timeline of every project,” the choices for materials and finishes are finalized and ordered. Studio M does not require clients to work with particular contractors or builders, but will make recommendations if needed. Once the furnishings are delivered, the designer supervises their installation before inviting the clients in for “the full reveal.”
In addition to its design services, which are conducted by appointment, Studio M Interiors’ showroom is open Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Studio M’s small storefront for point-of-sale purchases is geared to customers looking for accessories for their lake homes – throw blankets and pillows, trays, centerpieces, console tables, lamps, artwork, and ottomans. Additionally, the showroom displays one piece of furniture from each of the firm’s key vendors.
Now ensconced in Lake Geneva with new clients to serve, Loobeek has made the transition from an urban to a country setting and she says, “I love being back.”