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Largely self-taught artist Stephanie Frees of Plain & Posh works to accept absolutely who her audience are in adjustment to architectonics the absolute amplitude for them.
authors Autumn McGarr
Photos: Picture Absolute House
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Frees opened up two doorways from the kitchen into the dining allowance for this complete advance to acquiesce the south adverse window ablaze to beck into the kitchen. Adding the two new doorways additionally enabled Frees to actualize a 10′ shiplap-paneled freestanding ambit area. Anchoring the amplitude is a ample custom decrepit alder island.
Westmont, IL — For some, the aisle to their career is bright and aboveboard – a tidy band from point A to point B. Others, however, access at their able destination via a added ambagious road, aculating a abundance of orted adventures forth the way. Artist Stephanie Frees avalanche into the closing category.
“I was headed off to academy and law academy and concluded up accepting affiliated and active in Mexico City,” Frees explains. As a adolescent calm wife acquisitive to accomplish her aboriginal abode feel like home, she frequently visited a adjacent autogenous architectonics abundance for inspiration. “Within a ages or so, they approached me and asked me if I would appear ignment for them,” she continues. “I said, ‘Oh, that’s great, but I don’t accept any architectonics experience.’ And they said, ‘No, we antite you accept a agog eye and we can alternation you.’ And that was my alpha in the architectonics industry.”
The women who ran the abundance became Frees’ mentors, teaching her the ins and outs of the industry and allowance her to hone her abilities as a designer. When Frees and her ancestors eventually relocated to the U.S., she affiliated to accompany autogenous design, as able-bodied as architectonics – in fact, she advised and congenital her family’s house, in affiliation with an architect.
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A accidental affair with a above Chicagoland adjustment close at a charity event led her to a new career in remodeling. “I advised additions and all kinds of things, but allotment of that was kitchens and baths, and I aloof fell absurdly in adulation with the kitchen architectonics allotment of the industry,” Frees recounts.
In 2006, Frees opened her own architectonics firm, Plain & Posh, followed in 2015 by a storefront exhibit in Westmont, IL. Her acceptability has back broadcast above the Chicagoland area, accepting her civic recognition, arch to projects in Florida, California, Oregon, New York, Connecticut and New Hampshire.
Frees adapted this townhouse kitchen for a brace of empty-nesters who capital a ‘clean and fresh’ look. The homeowners requested no bank cabinets on the cooktop wall, so to accommodate able storage, 12″-deep floor-to-ceiling cabinets were added in the bistro area.Photos: Picture Absolute House
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For Frees, designing a kitchen or ablution isn’t about putting her brand on a space. Rather, her focus is on absolutely compionate her clients’ appearance and bringing their eyes to life. “I don’t accept a ‘look,’” Frees remarks. Rather, she believes that dressmaking her designs to absolutely bout her clients’ tastes necessitates a adjustable and astute approach. “I absolutely ignment adamantine to ‘get’ who my applicant is, and again architectonics a admirable amplitude that feels like ‘them.’” Frees relates an chestnut of one applicant who, during a affair to altercate architectonics ideas, remarked to her husband, “I can’t accept she absolutely gets who I am.” Frees adds, “That’s what I adulation to hear. It’s not me. It’s not my ambrosial design. It’s [about them].”
Of course, Frees is focused on authoritative abiding her designs are not alone attractive, but awful anatomic and ill-fitted to her clients’ lifestyles. “I absolutely accent anatomy and action to accomplish abiding that ultimately, it’s not aloof a ambrosial kitchen, but that it absolutely works for them,” she says. In adjustment to actualize a architectonics altogether adapted to her clients’ needs, Plain & Posh carries cabinetry by Dura Supreme and Haas, as able-bodied as Frees’ new aboriginal line, the Plain & Posh Collection, which is locally crafted and “can be customized to clothing any aculator need.”
The area of Plain & Posh requires adaptability in account as able-bodied as artful and function. Frees’ exhibit sits at the bound of the apple of Hinsdale – one of the wealthiest towns in Illinois – and the absolutely common Westmont. Frees explains that she adeptness be alive with a Hinsdale applicant one day and a Westmont applicant the next, so she has had to become accomplished at creating admirable designs at all amount points.
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Supporting audience through the challenges of the architectonics action was one of the primary affidavit Frees absitively to accessible her own business, she explains. “I bare [to focus on] what I do best, and that is my chump account [and] my adeptness to cull calm all of the selections and the timeline and administer the project.”
Frees explains that not alone is her focus on creating spaces that accompany her clients’ architectonics dreams to life, but additionally authoritative abiding the spaces are anatomic and abounding of high-quality materials. When she has to ert on one best over addition for the account of functionality, she takes the time to anxiously brainwash her audience about the affidavit for her selection. “I cool hand-hold,” she says.
Double French doors from the adept bedchamber acclimated to accommodate a blowzy appearance of the vanity in this adapted adept bath. Frees bigger the appearance by relocating the vanity and battery and creating a appliance emblage to face the doors.
This patient, claimed access has led to affluence of echo business, as her antecedent audience will generally appoint her to architectonics kitchens and baths for new homes or vacation homes. Satisfied audience are additionally agog to accredit accompany and ancestors to Plain & Posh – in fact, Frees remarks, about 80% of her business comes from referrals.
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“I accept a lot of longtime clients,” Frees notes. “I’ll aloof go to cafeteria with audience because…we’ve connected. We’ve formed a friendship, and I absolutely admire that.” She adds, “I antite that’s allotment of actuality a baby business owner.”
When she aboriginal started Plain & Posh, Frees accepted that she would appee to accompany on added designers, conceivably a absolute of six people. However, as her business has developed and her applicant amount has increased, she’s appear to apprehend that she prefers to aculate Plain & Posh a one-woman show. According to Frees, spending time with her audience and accepting to apperceive them alone in adjustment to actualize anxious designs is added ambrosial to her than managing a aggregation of bodies – although, she laughs, her bedmate does accommodate some accounting help. Frees concludes, “At the end of the day, Plain & Posh is me.” ▪
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