We had the good fortune of connecting with Stephanie Stuart and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Stephanie, how do you think about risk?
From moving 800 miles with my now-husband after only 6 weeks of dating to choosing bold colors and patterns in interior design, I’ve learned that risk moves the needle. My husband is so smart and handsome, I can’t imagine life without him and our two awesome kids. I’m grateful for taking that risk and it taught me to follow my instinct. A friend once said, “the universe has your back,” (which I think is a book I should listen to) and I never forgot it. I’m not sure my friends would fully describe me as a risk-taker, but I bet my clients would.

When I started Stuart Design Co in late 2017, I was focusing on the large commercial construction projects I had done while at other firms. By 2019 I landed contracts for a boutique hotel, a 300-unit apartment community and a 5-acre senior living development (yay!). Around that time, we had had enough of California and decided to move to Arizona. We needed a new vibe and moved in March 2020, after renovating a home we purchased in late 2019.

Needless to say, everything changed that month and the projects kicking off in 2020 were thwarted for a number of reasons, culminating in risk associated with the pandemic. Losing those large projects was unfortunate, but I wouldn’t change the outcome. I’ve connected with my tribe here in Arizona and the Stuart Design Co you see today is a result of that. Like a lot of us 40-somethings heading up to Sedona on the weekends, I have arrived at my passion which is bold, authentic design. And if it’s new construction, all the better!

When I was 26 and wanted to lose weight & gain confidence. I trained for 8 weeks and entered a bodybuilding competition (spoiler alert, I didn’t win). When I met the love of my life I chased him down (*wink*), married him and moved him to the burbs with two kids. When I got tired of the cookie-cutter design, I changed my focus to the things I love to share with others. Maybe my friends would describe me as a risk-taker?

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Bold patterns, saturated color and an eclectic mix of old and new gets me up in the morning, especially on a new construction project! I just can’t do cookie-cutter anymore. I’ve been a designer for over 15 years from large commercial projects to decorating and can deliver any style of interior design. But I’ve learned that solving design challenges and bumping up the modern victorian vibe is my sweet spot. When clients come to me, they are trying to solve a few main problems.

One is that their space was not designed for them. It takes thought and planning to set up your space. As you get into a routine, you see what doesn’t function properly or bring you joy. I simply ask a lot of questions to determine the core issues from the start. What is really bothering you? Do you have too much stuff or no drop zone for the bags, shoes and keys. Nothing converting an unused coat closet to a custom built-in can’t fix.

Sometimes we take a nuclear option and knock down walls, and other times it’s changing finishes. As we spend more time at home, people are realizing the mental and physical importance of upgrading their environments. Treating your home as a sanctuary plays a major part in creating the life you want to live. You know what you like and I know how to bring it together so you can show up authentically in your interior design.

Second only to authenticity, the next popular challenge I encounter is on custom home construction. When you’re building a new custom home, there is a point when clients realize the architect’s scope doesn’t include choosing interior finishes (unless they have an interiors department). I love a clean slate. You don’t know what you don’t know, but I do! Do you need floor outlets so your lamp cords aren’t running across the living room? Do you want a separate dimmer switch for the task lighting? This isn’t the sexy part of design but I can rock it! My background in new construction projects allow me to understand the process and advocate for my clients. I play well in the sandbox, know the lingo and can trade in heels for work boots when the situation calls for it. I grew up in a construction family and was seriously taking down wallpaper and changing light fixtures by age 12! My solution is a robust set of detailed interior design drawings and specification binders to clearly communicate between clients and builders. I believe your plans are your contract and through this communication, we can return a sense of ease to the building process. Hell, it might even be fun!

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We’d hit up The Tipsy, a wine lounge in Glendale. I love the chic design and high-energy vibe! I always get great service and delicious wine; the hummus plate is my favorite!

We would for sure be seen heading up to Sedona for at least one night, maybe two. We’d visit all the local consignment and thrift stores for fun finds. I love to repurpose furniture and find special art and accessories to give them a second life and new home. Before we left Sedona we’d head to the Center for the New Age and get a psychic reading to see what the universe has in store.

Once we’re back down in Phoenix, we’d have dinner at my absolute favorite restaurant – Buck and Rider in Scottsdale. Again, the interior design is so much fun – I’d describe it as eclectic traditional with a fresh spin. I cannot get over the drapes and the chandelier in the entry is my spirit animal. The energetic, professional service is always amazing and the food never disappoints. Throughout the week we’d enjoy the outdoors with a few easy hikes. I know the weather would be perfect because I cannot get anyone to come visit during the summer so I know it wouldn’t be too hot, lol.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d love to dedicate my shoutout to Wildflower Connections. This loving & supportive group of badass business women continues to encourage me every day. They provide inspiration and friendship as we learn together. I believe Jim Rohn’s famous quote,”You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with,” and am grateful to have this group of beautiful souls.

Website: stuartdesignco.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/stuartdesignco/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/stuartdesignco/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stuartdesignco

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbKUTlgOzEEsohWfTNktc0g

Image Credits
Nanette Wiser

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.