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In 1979, when Caryn Paradis was nine, she saw the movie The Black Stallion and had an epiphany. Unlike other films that use the score and dialog to evoke emotion, this director, Carroll Ballard, purposely left out overt communication so that the viewer had to rely on subtler cues to get the emotion and story. Watching it, she realized she was laser-focused on what was going on, and therefore felt the story more deeply. It hit her: This was intentional! If that was the case, to what else could she apply that idea?
At the same time, Paradis was obsessed with architecture. She'd watch for the newspaper to be delivered just for the real estate section so she could look at the floor plans of the listed houses. She would sit for hours redoing plans to create "experiences." What if a family lived there? What if it was a couple that entertained a lot? What if they were pet owners? After her epiphany, she realized intentional and sometimes subtle changes could greatly influence how a person lived or worked in a space, and those changes could make life better. So, when it came time to go to college, architecture seemed like a no-brainer—until she discovered interior design.
"I met an interior design professor at a university open house and he suggested considering the major instead because it focused holistically on the sociology of space," says Paradis. "I was hooked. I find people often mix up interior design and interior decorating. While decorating focuses just on how a space will look, interior designers are qualified to move walls, determine electrical and plumbing, and
then finishes. It's a very well-rounded approach."
"Fast forward six years of college, passing the NCIDQ (the interior design licensing exam), and 20+ years of experience in everything from large, urban firms to small boutique start-ups, I still feel so lucky that I get to do this every day," says Paradis. "I love the process: getting to know my clients so well and creating homes and workplaces that are exactly right for them and their lifestyle."
Nine years ago, Paradis opened her studio in an office in her home until the firm grew too big.
A year ago she moved the studio into The Stone Store in Chester, a landmark that lies at the point of three roads that bring visitors to Chester village.
"For the first time, I was my own client and got to see first-hand how the right design could make daily life better," she says. "And I got my house back!"
Now the designer is expanding even more.
"I recently got engaged, and my fiancé and I are starting to look at how we'll combine our families and our spaces," she says. "I can't wait to see how this experience further refines our design process."
For Paradis and her crew, it's all about creating sacred space, while being super-sensitive to how the process effects their clients.
"Ultimately, you hire us to make your experience a great one, before, during, and after."
This information was provided by Caryn Paradis Interior Design, located at 3 North Main Street, 2nd Floor, Chester, CT. For more information, visit carynparadis.com or call 860.322.4470.
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