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!

kerr1
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.

kerr5
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 <<

5 Ways to Make Your House Look Like a Luxury Hotel

There is no better feeling than arriving at a beautiful hotel after a long day of travel. Imagine recreating that feeling every time you walk into your home! Check out these 5 tips from our resident Interior Designer, Ariana Lovato of Honeycomb Home Design, for making your house look like a luxury hotel!


  1. Upgrade your bedroom linen game – Invest in high thread count sheets, down comforters and a comfortable mattress…you’ll thank us later! Just like your mother always said, “Make your bed”! Take a few extra minutes every morning before you rush out the door to make sure your bed is staged back to normal. It makes a big difference to walk into your room and see an inviting and comfortable bed!
Image via PInterest
Image via Pinterest

2. Add a little bit of Mother Nature – Greenery and floral accents are a small investment but pack a big punch. Baby’s Breath, Sunflowers, Gladiolus, and Chrysanthemum are inexpensive yet beautiful flowers to accentuate your home with!

Image via Houzz
Image via Houzz

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“Think of your home as your own mini sanctuary… it is the place that you should feel most at ease. Create a surrounding that reflects who you are!”


3.  Luxury towels are a MUST – Pottery Barn has the nicest and most durable bath towels. You can even get them monogrammed, if you are feelin’ extra fancy.

Image via Kutut.com
Image via Kutut.com
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Pottery Barn Towels

4. Go bold with color – Hotels often use accent walls to add drama and interest in a small space. Apply this in your own home by painting three walls the same color, and the fourth wall a few shades darker or wallpaper it! This will instantly add a designer touch!

Home and Garden
Home and Garden
The Decoist
The Decorist
Home Edit
Home Edit

5.  Let there be light – Install “His and Hers” wall sconces in the Master Bedroom for an ultra luxe look! There are plug-in and battery operated options if you cannot wire for them!

Image via Houzz
Image via Houzz
Image via Pinterest
Image via Pinterest

Check back with us for more industry tips, news and headlines!

Designer Spotlight Series – Cynthia Ryan with Circa Studio 8 Interiors

Hi iHomeRegistry Users! We are SO excited to announce our new Designer Spotlight series! Every week, we will feature an amazingly talented Interior Designer that is part of our iHomeRegistry Community! After all, we are the #socialnetworkforinteriordesigners, right?!

This week we are happy to announce Cynthia Ryan, of Circa Studio 8 Interiors! Cynthia shares her tips on which pieces of furniture to splurge on, last minute dinner party decor, and who her Designer crushes are!

Circa Studio 8 Interiors
Circa Studio 8 Interiors

1.      How did you get started in Interior Design?

I think I flirted with Interior Design for most of my life. When I was very young, my mechanical engineer father gave me a big red brick building set, which I absolutely loved.  After University of Maryland and Maryland Drafting Institute, I began working in a small lead Architectural section where we would draw all the tracking stations in the world for the Space Shuttle missions. I then transitioned into a Graphic Design position and then onto Kitchen and Bath, which I excelled at and loved! When I relocated to San Diego I started attending The Design Institute of San Diego where I earned my BFA in Interior Design. I felt like it was fate!

2.      Where do you find your inspiration?

Everywhere! Nature, art, museums, travel, antiquities/old cultures and Architecture for sure, as that was where I originally wanted to direct my education. There are also certain museum exhibitions that I just cannot miss!

Circa Studio 8 Interiors
Circa Studio 8 Interiors

 

3.      What are your favorite design publications?

My favorites are Elle Décor, Veranda, San Diego Home and Garden, Luxe, and I recently started subscribing to Milieu… beautiful photography!

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

I really think the big key is to decide where to invest your money and how to divide the budget up. For example: One can find a sofa at any price range, but how is it built? Will it last? Is it comfortable? I try to figure out how many quality pieces that can be afforded and what we must compromise on. Accessories for example, they are very plentiful and easily obtained at affordable prices, and you don’t have to sit on them!

5.     What pieces of furniture should you splurge and where should you save?

I think sofas and a few good chairs, I think you can sneak in some occasional pieces that are of lesser quality. I say buy a great mattress and bedding, and case goods that last. I have a very high quality sofa in my living room and a 800 lb. walnut armoire in my bedroom that I bought when first married, and I still love them both!

6.       You have last minute guests coming over for dinner – how would you decorate for them?

Fresh Flowers, fresh linens, candles, beautiful ice bucket and glasses. I like a mix of place settings. I am not much for matchy-matchy, Oh and lots of wine! I like these days for it to be somewhat casual and comfortable.

Circa Studio 8 Interiors
Circa Studio 8 Interiors

7.      Who is your favorite Celebrity Interior Designer?

I have a few, but Jean Louis Deniot, would probably be my international favorite and top pick! Domestically; Kelly Wearstler, Thomas Pheasant, Barbara Barry, and Jan Showers.

 

Jean-Louis Deniot
Jean-Louis Deniot

8.      If you weren’t an Interior Designer, what would you be doing?

Maybe Architecture, City Planning, or possibly a Historian or Docent at a historic place!

Circa Studio 8 Interiors
Circa Studio 8 Interiors

 

Like what you see? You can check out Cynthia Ryan’s portfolio on iHomeRegistry.com HERE!

Check back next week for our next Designer Spotlight!