Meet Marie Flanigan – the founder of Marie Flanigan Interiors. At 31 years old, she is an award-winning interior designer with a decade of experience under her belt. Marie Flanigan Interiors has been in business for nearly 4 years thanks to Marie’s hard work, dedication, and passion for design. Without a doubt she is a frontrunner among Houston’s interior designers.
She graduated with a degree in Architecture from Texas A&M and went on to get her MBA shortly after from the University of Houston. She resides in Houston’s Heights with her husband Joe and soon enough there will be one more inhabiting the Flanigan household. That’s right, they’re expecting their first baby in less than 3 months. Congratulations, Marie and Joe!
With her extensive background in Architecture, Marie knows how to help her clients from conception all the way up to completion of their home. She has built solid relationships with some of the industry’s best-known architects, contractors and vendors ensuring client satisfaction. I wanted to dig a bit deeper and identify just what it is that makes Marie Flanigan Interiors such a success. What I learned is that this soon-to-be mommy has one vision in mind: to change lives, with style.
What inspired you to go into interior design?
My first love was architecture which is what I studied at Texas A&M University. Following graduation, I began working for an architecture firm but found that I was undeniably drawn to the facets of the profession that were rooted in design. I was amazed by the meaningful relationships I saw being built and by the emotion-filled reactions of clients as they experienced the transformation of their homes. I ended up switching to a firm that offered both architecture and interior design services so that I could combine those two passions.
It didn’t take long for me to decide that the world of interior design would hold my future, and I began to consider what life would be like if I opened my own firm. I was determined to make the venture a successful one, and knew that an MBA was the best way for me to polish my business skills. I completed my MBA program in 2010 and the rest is history!
Houston is overflowing with interior designers, why do your customers select you over the competition?
We improve a client’s quality of life by delivering beauty through design, and we do this while offering exceptional customer service. Our everyday goal is to exceed a client’s expectations and that goal drives all aspects of the firm. We pride ourselves on being highly responsive because without that open communication it would be difficult to understand a client’s overall vision and meet their needs.
What is the most frustrating aspect of your job as a designer?
The waiting game is one of the most frustrating aspects of the job. Custom furniture, upholstery, and antiques often take a great deal of time to come in and that can be stressful if we are working on a tight timeline. Luckily, we live in Houston, a large bustling city, where furnishings are often readily available. In addition, we rely on the strong relationships we share with our local vendors. They work tirelessly and do everything they can to help us meet our tightest deadlines.
And, of course, what is the most rewarding?
The most rewarding aspect of the job is the feeling I get when we unveil the final product and clients have trouble containing their joy! I love knowing that I have improved a person’s quality of life by transforming the environment where they spend so many significant moments of their day. We collaborate closely with our clients and work to understand their vision, creating spaces that feel layered over time; spaces that are true expressions of their rich life and history. Watching everything come together successfully is incredibly moving.
I can tell from your portfolio that you have a trademark style, how would you describe that style?
Sophisticated elegance. I place a high value on classic lines, graceful simplicity, and quality craftsmanship. Instead of tying ourselves to any one particular style, we offer a clean aesthetic that serves as a common thread running through our work. Calming, refreshing designs that express the individuality of each client and furnishings and accessories that serve a real purpose are where we make our mark.
How long would you say a typical project lasts?
Project timelines vary depending on what stage a home is in. If a client is in the process of architecturally designing or renovating a home, we will work with them to select everything from exterior paint selection to hard finishes, furniture, drapery, and accessories, and the process could last anywhere from 1 – 5 years, we will help them find the best. If we are assisting a client with a limited number of spaces within their home, it will generally take around 6 months from start to finish.
What is your favorite part of the design process?
Collaboration. I have always enjoyed working closely with clients to design spaces that serve as true reflections of their life story. I also love the collaboration that takes place within the firm. We are an incredibly strong team – everyone brings a unique vision and skill set to the table. These diverse talents set us apart in the industry and make for an exceptionally inspirational workplace.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years? Do you plan to expand your employee base?
I look forward to managing a medium-sized design firm that has continued to take on quality luxury projects. We will be rooted in Houston, but I am very interested in expanding our portfolio of national and international work.
So what do you do when you’re not on the job?
My hobbies are photography, CrossFit, and jogging. Anything active!
How about your favorite Houston restaurant?
Jonathan’s The Rub. You’ve got to try the desserts!
What has been the biggest challenge with being a business owner in this industry?
Strategically handling the firm’s rapid growth. Of course, growing quickly can be exciting, but it was essential that I maintain a service rooted in quality and that I offer clients a properly trained team. Therefore, I waited to bring on the right staff members at the right time.
Being a woman business owner, what would you say to other aspiring women business owners?
Looking back, I believe the simplest bits of advice have been the most meaningful: actively listen to yourself and always follow your heart. What intrigues you? What challenges you? Follow what you are most passionate about and learn everything you can about that subject. Find out how to serve others though your passion. The journey is one you will never regret.
Thank you Marie Flanigan for sharing your thoughts with us!
For more information on Marie Flanigan Interiors, visit the website here.