Designer Spotlight Series: LAGRUTTA DESIGNS!

She has her MBA in Marketing, has designed events all over the country, launched her Interior Design business and balances all of this while being a new mom – so who is she?!

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Kerri LaGrutta-Otto

Her name is Kerri LaGrutta-Otto. She’s built a name for herself in the event planning industry as the most successful account manager for CORT events over the past 8 years and she’s here to share her top tricks on maximizing your budget, balancing work/home life, and how she got her start in the industry!

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CORT Events/ LAGRUTTA DESIGNS

How did you get your start in event planning and interior decorating?

I launched my career in events eight years ago.  A fellow alumni of  Iona College recruited me after he saw that I had my MBA in marketing and had worked in the fashion industry.  He thought that pairing would be a good fit and he was right!   It truly was such a wonderful position for me and I’m the most successful account manager  at CORT events to date.  I’m still there today and absolutely love designing events and meetings all over the country and locally in the  New York metro area. Interior designing  is something I’ve always done in conjunction with CORT.  It’s always been such a passion of mine ever since I was a little girl.  This year I have taken it to the next level and launched my own brand, LAGRUTTA DESIGNS in the interior decorating world and I couldn’t be more excited!

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CORT Events/ LAGRUTTA DESIGNS

What is your favorite venue that you have ever decorated?

There are so many venues in New York that are absolutely stunning but my favorite kind of venue are those that are a total blank canvas.  I love to start from scratch and create an event experience from the ground up.  It’s a fun creative challenge. Since my specialty is event furnishings, the larger the space the better!

I also have to say designing my own wedding two years ago was one of my favorites as well, for obvious reasons! It was featured in about five different wedding publications too.

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CORT Events / LAGRUTTA DESIGNS

What are the best ways to maximize your budget while planning an event?

I work in the luxury events market in Manhattan so budgets can be tricky! For both corporate and private social events you need to first make a list of what’s most important to you.  You have to figure out your guest list first and foremost because that will dictate the rest of your budget planning.  Then you’ll have to weigh in what’s most important. Is it rental furnishings, food and beverage, entertainment or floral design?  Allocate your spend in each department and sort through what you can do and stay on target. I personally want the best experience for my guests so if that means shortening the guest list, so be it!  I have to have great food, CORT furnishings and beautiful flowers! I’d rather have less people and treat them amazing verses having too many people and not doing it right.

How do you achieve the work/life balance, especially with a newborn (and adorable) son?

work- life balance is key to a successful career and happy family life.  If you don’t integrate the two, both will fail.  I’m the type of woman that works when you get up in the morning until you go to bed at night.  It’s blending the two that will give you that balance and make you happy.  When you have a career that is essentially 24/7, it’s imperative that the two are integrated.  I’m proud to have an accomplished career and being a great mommy to my perfect little baby boy!

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LAGRUTTA DESIGNS

 

Check out Kerri’s website >> HERE << and her profile on iHomeRegistry >> HERE <<

Designer Spotlight Series: CG Home Interiors

Our Designer Spotlight this week is on the fabulous Christina Goldsmith from CG Home Interiors! With a loyal Instagram following of over 21k, a beautiful portfolio of fresh interiors, and a love of DIY, it is easy to see why Christina has built such a name for herself. She is a sweetheart to boot! Read her tips on hostess gifts, her favorite paint colors, and tips on choosing the perfect paint for your next DIY project!

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1. What drew you to Interior Design?

I’ve had a passion for making things pretty since I was a little girl; from decor to fashion, it’s what I love!  It wasn’t until our most recent home purchase that we went into with the intention to fix it up that I realized how much I truly enjoy doing this, and helping others achieve the same!  It’s second nature to me so I just assumed it was to everyone else as well (naive, I know!), but the more people that asked for my help the more my passion for decorating blossomed and all those years of people telling me I should pursue this path came to fruition.

  1. Where do you find your inspiration?

Oh goodness… everywhere!  Tradeshows, markets, stores, nature, social media, TV, it’s endless.  The gift of sight is such a beautiful thing and I think of my eyes like a camera lens, constantly capturing the beauty that exists in everything we see.

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CG Home Interiors

3. When designing a cost-effective space, what are some key things to keep in mind?

Don’t get hung up on brands (most people can’t tell anyway), and don’t always pass up a piece of decor you love because it’s the wrong color.

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CG Home Interiors

Almost anything can be painted now!  Paint is the most cost effective transformation you can do for any space.  Whether it’s walls, that vase you’ve had your eye on but just isn’t the right color, or furniture that needs an update. Don’t be afraid to paint!  Spray paint is great for smaller items like frames, vases and jars, candle pillars, and so on.  Rustoleum and Valspar make fabulous furniture paint that doesn’t always require laborious hours of prep. You can even paint your outdated counter tops! Giani granite counter paint is a cost effective solution if a full renovation isn’t in the budget at the moment.

4. What is your favorite piece that you have “DIY’d”?

The coffee table for my living room I found on Craig’s List.  I never have much luck on Craig’s List but knew if I found the base I was envisioning I could always tear off the top and build a new one.  It was my lucky day because I found exactly that and it was priced to perfection for a DIY project.  When I went to pick it up the woman apologized to me because the table top was loose.  I responded nonchalantly with “no problem”, while I was doing cartwheels in my head because my work was already cut out for me.  I knew I wanted to build a plank top, so we got it home and took our measurements, then purchased a piece of plywood, and planks to adhere to the plywood.  I stained it with my favorite stain (Jacobean by Minwax), sealed it, attached it and could not be happier with the outcome!

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CG Home Interiors

5. You have last minute guest coming for dinner – how would you decorate for them?

I love to have a spread ready for guests to snack on and socialize before the meal.  I’ll fill our island with white ceramic trays and dishes with finger foods and dips, set out mason jar glasses for drinks with fun paper straws, and a bottle of wine or Sangria and wine glasses.

6. Who is your favorite Celebrity Designer?

Joanna Gaines!  I only recently started watching Fixer Upper and was drawn to her from the get-go for so many reasons.  She has her signature style but can also deviate from that to tailor to her clients’ goals while still staying true to that signature style.  I love that she’s a rock star designer and went to school for something completely different.  She was truly born to do what she does.  Then, of course, just watching her and Chip as the cutest couple in America work together so well!

7. If you weren’t doing Interior Design, what would you be doing?

I’d love to say something cool like saving the world, but the truth is that the mortgage industry is all I’ve known other than this so that’s where I’d be!  My time doing that ended up being a great segue into home staging because of the relationships already formed with Loan Officers and their Real Estate Agents designing their marketing material.

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CG Home Interiors

8. What is the best hostess gift?

Well I’m pretty sure wine is the best gift for any occasion! Haha. But if your hostess isn’t a fan of it, fresh blooms in a bottle or mason jar that they can keep and reuse work just as well.

9. What is the best paint color?

Well this depends what we’re using it on!  Sherwin Williams Windfresh White for the walls, Rustoleum spray paint in Heirloom White for decor, and Valspar Chalky Finish in Her Dainties for furniture.

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Check out Christina’s profile on iHomeRegistry <here>