MAKING CHANGE

Meet Ethan Allen Design Star Edyta Szlezak

Edyta Szlezak is being honored this month as our latest Design Star—in time for her five-year anniversary at Ethan Allen! Edyta earned a bachelor’s degree in interior design from Harrington College of Design in Chicago in 2012, and soon after went to work in our Design Center in Schaumburg, Illinois.

Edyta was born in Poland and moved with her family to Chicago when she was a teenager.  Fitting in wasn’t always easy, she says, and because she spoke no English, making new friends was a challenge. “I had to grow a backbone very quickly and adjust to a new culture and a new life,” she remembers.

Over the years Edyta adjusted quite nicely, made friends—and found her niche. She loves her work as an EA designer and today is as fluent in design as she is in English (style-savvy, too).

She makes her home in a newly renovated house on a wooded lot in Barrington, just north of Schaumburg. “I love that my daughters can catch toads and go swimming in a nearby lake,” she says. Like her, they’re creative. “They sew pillows and cushions out of discontinued fabric samples I bring from work,” she says. Edyta enjoys painting and drawing in her free time. “I have always had a good eye for color, and expressing my creativity is a perfect way for me to relax,” she says.

Edyta took some time to chat with us recently, sharing her thoughts on design and the work she does so well.

What is your favorite Ethan Allen project?
I worked on a renovation of a 12,000-square-foot house, handling everything from furniture selection and window treatments to accessories and bedding. From the beginning, I established a very close working relationship with my clients, who had just purchased the home. Because the effort was so collaborative, I was able to help them design a home that truly reflected their lifestyle and personal taste. Managing a project of this scope was a great way of challenging myself and it was a great experience from start to finish!

What Ethan Allen item is your favorite?
There are so many Ethan Allen items that I just love and it’s hard to choose only one … but I would have to say the Turner swivel chair is my favorite.  It’s my go-to spot when I’m looking for comfort, time to meditate, or get creative. It’s just perfect for everything—from working on a laptop to simply relaxing.

What is your favorite design tip?
I like to start with a favorite item and build on it. It could be a pillow with brilliant colors, a piece of art, sculpture, or an inspiration that I found online or in a magazine. If you start with one thing and go from there, most ideas will develop naturally, cohesively, with a sense of style.

What is the color you can’t live without, and why?
Some people say black is not a color, but no matter: I simply can’t live without it. Black adds instant sophistication and makes a statement, whether it’s an accent in a room or a piece in your wardrobe! It’s a bold color that can define a space. I also love the high-contrast combination of black and white, a simple and classic palette that never goes out of style.

If you could do any project, anywhere, on any budget, what would it be?
I love big changes, so I’d like to take a space from appealing to unexpectedly beautiful. I’m good at uncovering potential. I love to mix different textures with patterns and tone-on-tone colors. Starting with a neutral palette, I’d add accent colors and a lot of eclectic items for visual interest. My dream project would be to use these strategies and turn a very traditional space into a modern classic!

Find more of Edyta Szlezak’s work on Instagram @edytak45 and Houzz at houzz.com/pro/eszlezak. To see more beautiful rooms by designers like Edyta, subscribe to The Art of Making Home.

CATEGORY: Design Star

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