Arlene Critzos has a B.A. degree in design from Mount Vernon College, and she has earned Foreign Study League Art Degrees in the Decorative Arts in London, Holland, Rome and Paris. Founded in 1979, her firm creates a broad spectrum of design from well-appointed family homes, beach homes, mountain retreats, large flats and estates in some of the most prestigious addresses. Arlene and Interior Concepts, Inc. have worked in England, Spain, the Middle East, Malaysia, China and the United States. We recently spent some time chatting with Arlene about her journey to success.
1. How would you describe your signature style, why clients most often choose Interior Concepts?
Arlene: I can comfortably say I don’t have a single signature style. Our designs are not equational, but more gathered and interesting.
2. When you stage a model home, what is your approach to making it relatable to prospective buyers?
Arlene: We begin every model home design by researching the prospective buyer profile and create a competitive analysis. By doing this, we are able to envision a home that will inspire the primary target market. Every buyer gets excited about what’s new and next, so current trends always take center stage and lay down the foundation for the style and color of our designs. Our talent lies in defining the balance the buyer will want and can buy… Just enough to say “I must, I can, I will buy this home because it’s me!”As we begin our model home designs, we always talk about “the story”. We translate our research into reality and weave personality into merchandising each space.
3. We love the way you use large-scale art and wall coverings to complement the theme of a room. Do you generally design around a unique element?
Arlene: Scale is key to the power of a room. The oversize scaled items speak for themselves, but the use of “diminutive “piece of art can be just as effective. Many times, we do begin a room with a unique element.
4. What is one of your favorite projects and why?
Arlene: It is impossible to pinpoint a favorite design. Passion for style and design and working in many variety’s always keep keeps projects new and inspiring.
5. When you design for luxe coastal living, what are some considerations that may not apply to city dwellings?
Arlene: Interior considerations for luxe coastal living that don’t apply to city dwellings would be the following:
Lighter fresher rooms
Textiles of cotton and linens with soft relaxed textures
Organic clean elements
Always add a little fun for family & children in art
6. When you partner with a builder, what makes the collaboration successful?
Arlene: Communication, Communication, Communication! Also, the respect for creating schedules for what is needed.
7. How have clients’ tastes changed over the years?
Arlene: Over the years, in general, clients have become more relaxed and cleaner in style. However, in our geographic area, formal interiors do continue to be relevant.
8. What are the most often requested features for kitchens and bathrooms?
Arlene: In kitchens, large pantries and large gathering island space. In bathrooms large showers and good storage.
9. How important is ageless design to your clients?
Arlene: Some clients insist on ageless design. Other clients want change as time goes on. Designing in neutral tones allows you to always change a paint color, art or accessories. I love to move things around.
10. You recently were awarded top honors in Annapolis for eclectic contemporary, historical composition and contemporary rustic interiors. What’s your secret to excelling in these disparate styles?
Arlene: Excelling in any style is a must. Research, collaboration with our exceptional designers always creates the best results.