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Discussing interior design with Kathie Chrisicos

Posted by Chad O'Connor  June 20, 2013 11:00 AM

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[The We are the Creative Industries series: The Creative Industries - video game companies, design, marketing and architecture firms, and talented people who write books, design houses, shoot movies, make art and record music, just to name a few examples - are an important part of Massachusetts' economy, with $1 billion statewide impact and over 100,000 workers. Click here to learn more.]

Intrigued by the interior design world, I interviewed Kathie Chrisicos, President and Founder of Chrisicos Interiors, an award-winning Boston-based residential interior design firm, to learn more. Chrisicos’ firm was founded in 2002. Since then, her work has been featured in a number of significant publications, and she has been recognized for her expertise and impressive eye for design.

Tell me about the interior design business.
The interior design business is all about creativity but has to be run like a business. It is beneficial when one comes to the world of design with a business background. The result is well thought out work. When I work with clients, we work with agendas, goals, action items, and I have regular meetings with clients and subcontractors throughout the planning and implementation process.

In addition to design in general, how else can a professional designer help?
Professional designers can help with problem solving. For example, when living in the city, sometimes a client wants to maximize a small space to handle many functions, and I always want the space to look good and flow with the rest of the home. In one particular home, I created a room that served several purposes:
1) a space to function as an extra guest bedroom for the occasional guest
2) a full-time sitting room for TV viewing and relaxing, and
3) a storage area.

In that case, we selected a TV viewing and sleeping area that are both comfortable and attractive. It included a custom book case built in to the available space for storage, a closet outfitted with a storage system customized to the client’s needs, and furnishings that were flexible and serve multiple purposes.

I imagine you work with several types of businesses on projects?
Interior design projects involve everything from the purchasing of furniture and lighting to retaining architects and contractors for their services - all while contributing to the economy which is great. It takes a team effort, and we often work with many local area businesses on a specific project, such as the showrooms in the Boston Design Center - cabinet makers, upholsterers, artists, etc.

Do you specialize in a certain design style?

Photo by John Horner

Interior design by Chrisicos Interiors

The three major categories in design are referred to as traditional, contemporary and transitional. I specialize in transitional design. It is a popular yet not often known by name design style. Transitional design has been around for a decade or so. No longer a trend, it is an option that people select. There are other styles such as modern, mid-century American, shabby chic, etc. Traditional and contemporary are broad categories and are subjects all on their own. Transitional for me is a style that takes the traditional lines of furnishings such as ball and claw feet and calms these details down.

Another feature of this type of design is the use of oversized or large scale traditional patterns and motifs for upholstery materials, window treatment materials, accessories, and wall coverings. Transitional is traditional with a twist. It is taking classic designs and reinventing them with a new look for today. A well-known furniture designer of transitional furnishings is Barbary Barry.

Does transitional design work in the burbs and in Boston?
Yes and yes - almost all homes and locations can handle and support the transitional-styled designs. In the city with the standard modest square footage, transitional furnishings please the eye with their “clean” and subtle lines. Often city homes in the brown stones and condos are either older architecture or newly built. In both cases, it works. And in the suburbs, transitional furnishings fit well with the older homes and the newer construction.

Can you integrate transitional design into current décor – or do you need to do a complete redesign?
Integration usually results in an eclectic décor. When we work with a client’s existing area rug, upholstered sofa, or dining room table as a starting point, and introduce transitional pieces, the results are fun, young, and current.

And that is what I have found our clients’ desire for their homes to be – they want a refreshed and updated look without being trendy. We often work with cherished pieces that serve as the inspiration for the design.

Looking at pictures of the final products of interior design work, it seems the possibilities are endless. Why not work with an interior designer and design the space you did not realize was possible. For the time, money, and effort you put into the project, the end result can be a great reward!

Ellen Keiley is President of the MBA Women International Boston Chapter Board of Directors, serves as a Vice Chair of the United Way and City Year’s Women’s Leadership Initiatives, serves on the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Women’s Advisory Council, is a member of The Boston Club, appears weekly on RadioBDC’s Global Business Hub segment, and writes for The Women’s Book and Project Eve. She can be contacted at

[We are thankful for Global Business Hub’s support of the Creative Industries. Please note: This article does not necessarily reflect the viewpoints of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development or its Creative Economy Industry Director for the Commonwealth, nor is it an endorsement of any views, products, or opinions contained therein. The author is solely responsible for the content.]

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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