Approach & Journey
HOW WE WORK
A Deeply Personal Process
There are many ways to measure success at an interior design firm – awards, media recognition and exceptional interiors are a few. But at Studio Brunstrum, our definition of success hinges on the journey we take with our clients.
We believe that collaboration, based on mutual trust and respect, along with open dialogue, is essential to the design process. From there, we can create, solve challenges and infuse each home with beauty as if it were our own.
To design a home, to be invited into someone’s inner sanctum, is a privilege.
Susan Brunstrum is involved with every project and is the creative force behind Studio Brunstrum design. You can expect her to lead all client presentations, when architectural schematics, color palettes, floor plans, furnishings and more are reviewed and discussed. As a unified collective, Susan and her team learn your habits, day-to-day routines and aspirations.
If collaboration is our bedrock, then simplification is our path to a smooth process. Years of valued client input have yielded a streamlined design journey. Billing, ordering and invoicing are transparent and easy to understand. Our touchpoints make it easy for clients to stay informed, even during the most complex assignments.
Studio Brunstrum can manage projects from the ground up, including architectural plans through to construction or renovation. We design for primary residences, vacation homes, pieds-à-terre and commercial properties.
- Turnkey transitioning from one home to another – upsizing, downsizing or rightsizing
- Project orchestration and consultation on existing homes, renovations and new construction
- Interior architecture and space planning
- Project management, including selection and scheduling of service providers, trades, architects and contractors, and specifying, ordering and installing all necessary elements
- Design development, selection and placement of furniture, accessories, window treatments, floor coverings, paint and wall coverings, artwork, antiques, upholstery and fabrics
THE STUDIO BRUNSTRUM TEAM
Founder and Principal
As founder of Studio Brunstrum, Susan combines her marketing and business acumen with her love of art and creativity. Her master’s degree in advertising from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, was earned while she continuously took classes in art history, drawing and design. Susan eventually parlayed her advertising background into corporate marketing and even led her own marketing/communications firm before discovering her true calling – design. From a one-woman, home-based business, Susan nurtured Studio Brunstrum into an award-winning firm with a team that shares her passion for catering to a discerning clientele. She spreads her enthusiasm for design as an active participant in the design community and as an on-air contributor. When not working, you will find Susan spending time with her two adult children or seeking creative inspiration in fashion magazines, art and travel.
Designer / Project Manager
An art enthusiast who likes to experiment with painting, drawing, charcoal sketching and block printing, Lauren infuses her work with creativity as a Designer/Project Manager. Being a designer was always her dream, and she joined Studio Brunstrum immediately upon earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts in interior design from Chicago’s Harrington College of Design. Her favorite aspect of her job is finding the perfect “wow” piece for a space – a unique light fixture or a stand-out piece of furniture that a client never knew existed. At the studio, her days are a mix of creativity and organization – making design decisions as well as maintaining schedules and project management for clients. A city girl at heart, Lauren loves the energy of city living, where she can explore hot new restaurants, wander the Art Institute of Chicago or walk the lakefront. “My inner designer comes out during my free time at home. I love to read and scour fashion, lifestyle and design blogs for inspiration.”
Cristina understands procurement from both the inside and out. She has worked in-house for a contractor, vendor and at an interior design firm. At Studio Brunstrum, Cristina is responsible for keeping the buying and fulfillment side of the business in order. She purchases all furnishings, materials and services required by the design team, coordinating delivery schedules and following up with vendors. Her position is perfect for her, as she started her career seeking a profession that leveraged her strengths in organization, mathematics and attention to detail and included her passion for creative minds and culture. Cristina indulges her interest in the arts by listening to late night jazz, discovering little-known artists, experiencing cultural events and exploring writing, dance, music, canvas and design. Her cultural curiosity was sparked by a diverse family background that includes Mexican, German, Bohemian and French. She is a life-long Chicagoan and lives in the city with her son.
Alycia Dagenais brings a well-rounded background in interior architecture, space planning and sustainable design to her position as Project Architect. Originally from New England, much of her design aesthetic came from a childhood spent helping her parents continually remodel their 150-year-old home. After graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she worked in Chicago, Detroit and Milwaukee. Alycia is responsible for architectural drawings and CAD from floor plans to tile layouts. She can be found at job sites coordinating with architecture firms, builders and contractors or working to ensure that projects follow city codes and ordinances. Alycia shares her experience as an Adjunct Professor at Kendall College where she teaches “Interior Design for Hospitality.” When she is not working or teaching, Alycia works alongside her husband undertaking their 100-year-old home renovations in Elmhurst and raising their three young children.
Director of Business
As Director of Business, Kelsey manages all financial and business processes, including purchasing, expediting, invoicing, weekly client status reports, payroll, HR, legal and banking for Studio Brunstrum. Creating the most efficient systems and procedures in the workplace has long held her interest. She graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor of Science in Business degree with a major in Marketing and Sales. Her early career was spent at fashion retailer Abercrombie and Fitch in Columbus, Ohio, where she managed a multimillion dollar sales effort as an Associate Merchant. She claims to have right and left-brain tendencies that combine a love of business strategy and systems with a love of design and fashion. She caught the interior design bug from her mom, Susan Brunstrum, whom she is still happy to hang out with over a glass of wine and a movie. Kelsey is delighted to be back in Chicago where she can attend sports events and cheer on her favorite teams.