On this episode of The Chaise Lounge, Nick chats with Mark and Isabel Candelaria of Candelaria Design and Earth and Images, respectively. They discuss running their businesses separately, working together, andand how they push the envelop by incorporating technology on a regular basis.
Getting to know Mark & Isabel Candelaria
Currently residing in Scottsdale, Arizona, Mark is an architect and Isabel is an interior designer. They met on Facebook through friends of friends and the rest is history. They both love to travel, especially to Italy for the food, architecture, and people.
How did Gillian get into design?
Mark studied at the University of Colorado, Boulder, then transferred to Arizona State University. While in school, he started working for a professor as a draftsman and quickly became a partner in the firm. Rather than graduating from school, Mark was able to get the experience he needed to pass the qualification exams. He has worked in the field ever since.
Isabel was first hired as a visual merchandiser at a retailer, then she moved over into selling customer furniture and cabinetry. Later on, her mentor, a wholesaler to the design trade, decided to sell her business and Isabel bought it. Isabel was able to go back to school for interior design and soon started working on her own projects.
What the business looks like today
Candelaria Design, a residential architecture firm, employs sixteen individuals. Their projects are all over the place including Montauk, Oregon, and San Antonio. As it turns out, the founder of HGTV lives in a home that Mark designer. This sparked the conversation that led to Mark on the team of designing the 2017 HGTV Smart Home in Scottsdale, Arizona, which includes the latest and greatest in technology.
Isabel is the lead designer in her firm, with two junior designers who also act as project managers. She also employs an office manager who keeps things running. This allows the designers mental freedom to focus on projects. Earth and Images focuses primarily on residential design projects, but also has a small showing of retail space in the studio too.
Both Mark and Isabel enjoy utilizing technology to work on projects that aren’t local. Tools like Skype, FaceTime, and GoToMeeting provide productive and efficient experiences for contractors and clients .
In addition, Mark and Isabel also employ very collaborative design processes. It can be risky or scary to be this exposed, but they don’t worry about that. Each time is different and Mark even mentioned that they land on something incredible that he wouldn’t have come up with on his own. The process forces you to give your client their house, rather than one you designed in a vacuum for them.
Candelaria Design and Earth and Images take part in many types of marketing from community involvement, social media, blogging, and even trips to Italy and Spain! These trips started in 2000 and are open to anyone. Mark mentioned thattravel is the greatest resource for a designer. He and Isabel have compiled a database of photos from travels which they find inspiration in for projects once they return. Traveling with others in the industry also allow for deep relationships and bonds to be formed. They find that the competition cannot compete with their authenticity.
Mark and Isabel are also involved with The Design Network, which showcases unique ways they use architecture and interior design. Facebook brings in clients more directly for Mark and Isabel. As a visual platform, they are able to show time lapse design videos or aerial shots from a job site captured by a drone. They love the immediacy and cost effective nature of the platform. Isabel mentioned that when she does meet with a client for the first time, they already feel like they know her because of social media.
Mark and Isabel enjoy wearing all of the hats in the business. They see challenges and problems as opportunities that they can’t wait to solve! Overall, they want to design and create a home that inspires you to live at a higher level.