DESIGNER Q&A


The foyer, after (above) and before (below), was one small part of the complete renovation of a 6,000-square-foot, sixbedroom, eight-bath home in Quail West.

The foyer, after (above) and before (below), was one small part of the complete renovation of a 6,000-square-foot, sixbedroom, eight-bath home in Quail West.

Chicago native Ruta Menaghlazi has been in Southwest Florida for 10 years and became vice president of design at Theory Design in 2018. She leads a team of eight interior designers and design assistants in coordinating all the architectural elements of a project, harmonizing them with surrounding nature and creating an extension of each client’s lifestyle and personality.

Ms. Menaghlazi studied interior design technology at Harrington College of Design in Chicago and over the years has created stunning interiors for clients in Florida, Illinois, Las Vegas and Morocco, relying on timeless and classic elements but, she says, “always including something unexpected.”

Describe you approach to interior design in five words.

Holistic. Timeless. Livable. Natural. Understated.

When/how did you know you wanted to be an interior designer?

I started studying graphic design in college, but then the execution of that started going digital and soon everything was designed on a computer. I realized it was drawing and creating with my hands that I loved the most. So, switching direction to interior design was an easy move for me.

Ruta Menaghlazi of Theory Design took the home from its dated Mediterranean original (above) to light, bright and contemporary (top). More photos on page A26. COURTESY PHOTOS

Ruta Menaghlazi of Theory Design took the home from its dated Mediterranean original (above) to light, bright and contemporary (top). More photos on page A26. COURTESY PHOTOS

Tell us something about your most challenging project.

It was a 13,000-square-foot grand estate home in Port Royal that had to be designed and installed in a year’s time.

And tell us something about a favorite project.

They’re all my favorite. When I’m in the middle of a project it’s always my favorite. I am always invested in every project; they’re all my babies.

What is your favorite room/place in your own home?

The main living space. It’s where all the action is.

MENAGHLAZI

MENAGHLAZI

What three things do you consider must-haves for a great room/ family room where people gather?

Comfortable seating, great lighting, and lots and lots of love.

Walk us through the process when you start a new project with a client.

I engage with my new clients to get to know what their lifestyle is like, what they expect from our project and what they favor in terms of design. We strive to educate them along the way as we help make their dreams come true.

For clients who are new to Southwest Florida, what is something you have found that surprises many of them about having a home here?

Often they are surprised by the amount of time and attention we give to outdoor spaces. Our exterior spaces are truly an extension of our interiors. Outdoor kitchens, furnishings, rugs, and even artwork have come such a long way. The esthetics of today’s best outdoor spaces closely mimic the inside of the home.

Describe the perfect client.

The perfect client shares their vision and then gets out the way and lets me do my job. And they have the funds to pay for it.

Do you have a design pet peeve?

In a word, purple.

Remodel or start from scratch? Do you have a preference?

I have always loved new construction because you can create something from nothing. But after the last several renovation projects, my viewpoint on remodeling has changed. The challenges of a major remodel can be huge, but the transformation can be remarkable and amazing.

Any trends you especially love today? And any you will be or were delighted to see go away?

I don’t follow trends so much. But corner pantries and corner showers, no thank you!

Any words of wisdom for a young person who thinks they want to be an interior designer?

Do not be deceived by the notion that it is just about picking paint colors and shopping. It takes a tremendous amount of work and dedication. Honestly, you must be half out of your mind to do this job. A normal person would not be able to make it in this business. It shocks me by the amount of detail you must learn about construction in order to be a good designer.

What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t doing this?

I would be a gardener. Landscape design has always intrigued me.

 

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Commercial Design

Your commercial space may have a multitude of possibilities and equally, more than a few challenges along the way.  Whether you are dealing with a project starting from the ground up or the need to renovate a preexisting space, Theory Design understands how to maximize your commercial space saving you time, money and hassle along the way. We work as a team with your building contractor to manage the schedule and budget for a seamless building process.

Renovation Design

We understand that your renovation project, regardless of the size of that project, can become a daunting and frustrating task. Theory Design will be there to guide you through the process from the initial planning stage, product selections, as well as coordinating with the contractor. Your experience will be a much smoother process with our design coordination. We understand the hurdles that can arise in the middle of a renovation including delays with unexpected site conditions. We realize there could be possible design alterations and are prepared to offer solutions to avoid delays and cost overruns.

Residential Design

The Theory Design team will get involved early in your home design process. We get to know you, your lifestyle, your budget and your style to create a Design Concept. We then collaborate with you, your Architect and Builder as well as the Landscape Designer to create a functional plan that reflects the Design Concept. We create your color scheme and interior details. We select and specify every element of your home down to the smallest detail. Theory Design is engaged in the process of designing your home from start to finish.

Interior Design Assistant

THEORY DESIGN OVERVIEW

Theory Design, a Seagate Development Group company, is dedicated to excellence in interior design via new construction and renovations for residential and commercial properties. With a portfolio of concept-to-completion projects, the team is inspired by nature and organic elements, the spirit of handmade objects and a timeless, holistic design. Their goal is to engage with clients and infuse his or her character and personality into award-winning interiors. 

CORE RESPONSIBILITIES

  1. Assist Operations Manager and Interior Designers
  2. Prepare and update finish schedules and various design presentations
  3. Organize multiple projects including information flow, communication, documents, samples
  4. Assist with furniture ordering and payment, follow up on lead times, coordinate deliveries and installations
  5. Facilitate warranty claims.
  6. Enters and maintains project budgets
  7. Maintains an advanced knowledge of the Design Manager software
  8. Pricing and specifications
  9. Assist with furniture installs
  10. Interact with clients
  11. Pick up samples and miscellaneous items
  12. Additional office management and administrative tasks

ADDITIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES 

  1. Assists with client billing. 
  2. Assists with furniture installs. 
  3. Picks up samples and miscellaneous items. 
  4. Conducts additional office management dues and administrative tasks. 

QUALIFICATIONS

To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below represent the knowledge, skill and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Quality Communication: 

The Interior Design Assistant must be a detail-oriented individual with strong communication skills, exceptional organizational skills.

Computer Skills: 

To perform this job successfully, the Interior Design Assistant must be proficient in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook. 

Education/Experience:

Three-plus years of experience at an interior design company; high school diploma and two to four years of postsecondary education. 

Certificates and Licenses:

Valid driver’s license

BENEFITS

Group Health Insurance

401(k) Matching

Paid Holidays, Vacation and Personal Days

Senior Interior Designer

Apply Now

THEORY DESIGN OVERVIEW

Theory Design, a Seagate Development Group company, is dedicated to excellence in interior design via new construction and renovations for residential and commercial properties. With a portfolio of concept-to-completion projects, the team is inspired by nature and organic elements as well as modern but timeless, holistic design. Their goal is to engage with clients and infuse his or her character and personality into award-winning interiors.

CULTURE

Our culture can be found where collaboration meets diversification. We channel our diverse experiences toward recognizing, achieving and perfecting the Seagate mission:

  • Peer Presentations
  • One-On-One meetings
  • Management Training Courses
  • Refreshed Marketing Materials

From there, our company celebrates the successful application of that mission:

  • Team Outings
  • Food Trucks and Treats
  • Awards/Honors
  • Impromptu Prizes

Every component of our culture is ultimately filtered through our corporate headquarters – designed with collaboration and diversification in mind:

  • Floor-to-Ceiling Windows
  • Open-Concept Areas
  • Uniquely Named Conference Rooms
  • Hotel-Like Reception and Common Areas

CORE RESPONSIBILITIES

  1. Communicates and works with clients throughout the interior design process.
  2. Sources interior finishes, hard and soft furnishings, lighting and interior details.
  3. Creates and executes design concepts, interior detail drawings and presentation materials.
  4. Creates finish schedules and keeps organized records of project details.
  5. Coordinates multiple projects simultaneously.
  6. Assists with order placements and management.
  7. Oversees project installations.
  8. Maintains an overall luxury experience by supporting clients with expertise and courtesy.
  9. Completes projects on schedule and within established budgets.
  10. Works on client projects as well as in-house projects.

ADDITIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES

  1. Maintains a thorough knowledge of market design trends.
  2. Helps manage materials library.
  3. Works with contractors and vendors.

QUALIFICATIONS

To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below represent the knowledge, skill and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Quality Communication:

The Senior Interior Designer must have superior presentation and communication skills, both in verbal and written form, as well as be able to take direction and work independently to meet deadlines.

Artistic Abilities:

The Senior Interior Designer must have strong artistic skills, including hand-rendering and sketching capabilities, with CAD experience preferred.

Customer Service Skills:

The Senior Interior Designer must be able to identify clients’ needs and provide a first-class experience to clients via attention to detail and outstanding problem-solving skills.

Computer Skills:

To perform this job successfully, the Senior Interior Designer must be proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.

Education/Experience:

15-plus years of design experience, with residential new construction and residential remodel experience required; knowledge of interior finishes, furniture, codes and construction process; degree in interior design or related field preferred.

Certificates:

NCIDQ certification (preferred)

BENEFITS

  • Medical, Dental, Disability and Life Insurance – Effective Immediately
  • 401(k) Matching – After 90 Days
  • Ongoing Education (Third-Party Conferences, Seminars/Webinars and Networking Events)
  • Two Weeks of Paid Vacation
  • Five Paid Personal Days
  • Eight Paid Holidays
  • Cell Phone Reimbursement
  • Gas Card

Apply Now