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
Principal | Founder
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.
Senior Designer | Project Manager
With a family background in the building arts, Kay knew she was destined to end up in an artistic profession. Her exposure to construction and renovation from a young age, combined with her intense drive for perfection, allows Kay to infuse both creativity and a keen attention to detail into her role as Senior Designer | Project Manager at Studio Brunstrum. Kay has specialized in residential design in the Chicago area since graduating at the top of her class with a BFA in Interior Design from the Illinois Institute of Art in 2012. 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. Kay’s belief in “living where you love and loving where you live” drives her passion for her profession and her dedication to forming personal relationships with her clients. A Chicago native, Kay spends her spare time in and around her apartment watching scary movies, checking out local wine bars and restaurants with friends, and cuddling with her Maltipoo, Tiger.
Office | Procurement Manager
Cristina understands procurement and office management 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. She is also responsible for the day-to-day management of the office at Studio Brunstrum. 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.
Director of Business | Marketing
As Director of Business, Kelsey manages all financial and business processes, including banking, invoicing, accounting, payroll, HR and legal for Studio Brunstrum. As Director of Marketing, Kelsey also manages business development, social media, advertising, and marketing strategy. She graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor of Science in Business degree with majors 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, perfect for her positions at Studio Brunstrum. Kelsey is delighted to be back in Chicago, close to family, friends, and her favorite sports teams.
Project Architect Associate
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.