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“I love working with clients and telling their story through design. Throughout the process I ask them to trust me and step a little bit outside their comfort zone.”
— Anne Arkebauer
Designer Spotlight | Ann Arkebauer
Ann is a Kansas City-area interior designer and artist. For more than 30 years Ann has worked with families, individuals and businesses to elevate their spaces, and take a little design risk along the way. Unruh has worked with Ann on several projects and we love what she comes up with, like the Holton Desk and Coleman Bookcase pictured below. We hope you enjoy this little interview.
How did you get started in design?
Ann: “From early on, as far back as grade school, I had a weird desire to rearrange rooms at home and anyone else who stood in my path. (lol!) To my parents, this became an expected and common event…luckily they allowed me to just go with it. Many miles, years and life events later and a giant leap of faith, I moved to Kansas City to live close to family and hopefully grow my business and exposure.”
What is your design aesthetic?
Ann: “I have been drawn to a contemporary and modern flavors forever. I don’t even know why, because I really wasn’t ever exposed to much of it growing up in the middle of Kansas. I am embarrassed to say, that early on, I made style choices that couldn’t have fallen further from that Modern Tree. Let’s just call it my multiple style personality disorder phase. Now I really trust my gut and I try to encourage clients to step just a little bit outside of their norm.”
Where do you find inspiration and do you find the internet to be helpful for that?
Ann: “Inspiration can come from anywhere at anytime. There is no single source of inspiration and
there is no scale or size limitations that doesn’t inspire me. When I do see something that inspiresme, I get really excited, then my brain goes a little crazy with possiblities. There is really no avoiding the internet, obviously. It can be an incredible source for all things, but I limit my use when I can, as I don’t want it to be a crutch for myself or my clients to copy. I don’t want to step into a story that’s already been written for someone else.”
Is there any one event that has put you in a specific design lane?
Ann: “Not really. I do remember in the late 70’s a lot of people were doing victorian decor. I was on a trip with some friends and saw a more mid-century modern piece. I loved it but my friends thought it was terrible. For a moment it made me really doubt myself, but I found that I kept migrating to it. It was an internal draw and you have to trust that.”
“I remember, early on, seeing a piece of mid century modern art at an antique shop. I loved that piece. There was nothing like it in that whole shop. Determined to buy it, I told my friends, whom I was with at the time, my intentions. They absolutely hated it and laughed at my choice. So, instead of believing in myself and my initial reaction, I left empty handed. That was probably the start of my Mulitple Style Personality Disorder. Today, I still want that piece from that Antique Shop.”
What kind of clients do you like working with and can it be difficult?
Ann: “I love working with clients and telling their story through design. I love the whole process of being part of their journey and getting to know each other. Yes, there are times that this journey can be difficult. It doesn’t mean that the clients are difficult, it typically comes down to an unexpected challenge or discovery during the build or remodel process. And simply means a gathering of individuals, minds and conversations need to happen to come up with a solution.”
What have you liked about working with Unruh as a member of our Designer Trade Program?
Ann: “Every time I go in I get such amazing and personal attention. You walk into this amazing building and you are welcomed so warmly. You have someone there to work with you that is really listening and you get to feel the furniture which goes a long way.”
Give our readers one tip to live by when designing their space:
Ann: “Enter a design relationship with an open mind. Understand that the lines of communication have to remain open and fluid. Be honest. This design process can get quite personal with layers and layers of choices and decisions. If you work with me, you have to trust me. If you don’t….open up, we need to talk. Oh, and one more thing: Check your Ego at the door. And laugh….this process should be fun! If you are doing your own interior designing then my biggest tip is to trust your gut. Don’t let fears in and step a little bit outside of your comfort zone. “
How to Work With Ann
To see more of Ann’s work or contact her for your next project at her website: AnnArkebauerdesign.com or on Instagram. If you are an interior designer we would love to meet you and for you to join our Trade Program. Stop by the Kansas City Showroom to sign up and learn more about our benefits!