Good Humans, Good Design: Meet Senior Designer Alyse Hages
This week's Q + A is with Alyse Hages, NCIDQ, Unscripted Rockstar since August 2016 and Senior Interior Designer on the Commercial Design team. Alyse brings over a decade of interior design experience to Unscripted! We chatted with her about everything from work to travel to pets, and just how much real life experiences can truly influence our ideas.
All Things Unscripted
Q: What does being a good human mean to you? What do you think makes a good human in those that are around you?
A: Just the other day I was on a walk with my dog and I crossed paths with someone picking up trash while out on their daily walk. That really inspired me and made me think, “I’m already out walking and going by the trash, what’s the extra effort to take with me?”
"Being a good human, to me, means having empathy and to do the good and right thing when no one is watching."
Q: Tell us about getting your NCIDQ. Why was that important to you?
A: This was one of my greatest personal accomplishments. Yes, it is also great from a professional standpoint, and I love the knowledge and confidence that has come from the many, many, MANY months of studying. But this a goal I had when graduating college as a ‘to-do’ by age 30. When I turned 29, I realized time was up and I needed to pass all three tests in one take if I was going to keep that promise to myself. The pandemic actually gave me the space, time and focus I needed to make sure I was as prepared as possible. Getting the ‘congratulations email’ was such a feeling of accomplishment. My biggest takeaway is I can really accomplish anything if I put the effort in.
Q: What is the first thing you do when starting a new project?
A: Image concepts. Once I have a feeling from the client on what we want the space to be, I start diving into imagery that represents the overall mood I’m trying to convey. From that, I can get more detailed with specifics of the project, but I need a vibe to work from!
Q: What is your favorite type of room to design and why?
A: I love community spaces.
"There is a challenge not only in making a large room look good, but also understanding the function. It’s like a puzzle to try and fit together multiple uses in one space. Creating an environment comfortable for both one person or a party of 50 takes some creative solutions, making each project unique."
Q: You design a lot of clubhouse spaces. Does the way you hang out with your friends and family influence the design of the spaces?
A: Yes! I often reference personal experiences with my designs. Good and bad both have a place to work from. For example, I can recall dinners with friends where the lighting was terrible, or acoustics were off and how much that impacted the overall experience. I’ll also think about how many people is it comfortable to sit on a couch with in a group? I want to make sure what I’m designing, I would be comfortable in.
Q: How do you separate your personal aesthetic from the aesthetic of the person you’re ultimately designing a space for? How do you keep that design balance?
A: I’m able to separate my personal taste from my designs knowing that at the end of the day the space is invoking the feeling you want to have there. I need to think what is going to appeal to the majority of people and also make everyone feel welcome. It’s actually fun to be able to create something that’s completely different from my daily life at home.
Q: Work accessory or tool you cannot live without?
A: Tape measure! When designing I am constantly using it to see how high something really feels, where a tabletop would hit when sitting, how far away something feels, etc. It has a permanent home on my desk.
Q: Favorite Unscripted friend(s) that you can’t live without?
A: If I could fit everyone in my Myspace Top 8, I would. Since becoming a remote employee off in Michigan, I miss the daily conversations and collaboration, but technology is great and I still get to see my team weekly and send very important GIFs via Teams daily.
Q: What is the one thing that will tie a room together?
A: Big fan of rugs. It’s a great way to ground furniture groups and break up the space visually.
Q: What is your favorite color and why?
A: I’ve always gravitated towards warmer colors and favorited orange. Not the Halloween orange, but more burnt orange. It feels cozy but exciting at the same time.
Q: What are some inspirational artists you look to?
A: I don’t necessarily lean much into artists at an individual level. I love seeing art in all different types of mediums; Interiors, sculpture, paint, photography, poetry, music…
"I love visiting a museum, local music show, art gallery and getting a new perspective I hadn’t had before."
Q: Has having a new puppy in your life impacted the way you design? Or perhaps have they inspired some more pet-friendly designs?
A: First and foremost, I need to address that I have been a cat mom to my first fur child, Havarti, for the past 13 years. Now, having a puppy added into the mix, I am always thinking about fabric durability and wondering how much hair would show. Luckily commercial spaces see less cat and dog traffic.
Q: Nature is a huge inspiration for you. Can you talk about some your trips or places you have seen that are most inspiring or have been most memorable to you?
A: It’s hard to narrow it down. I’ve had so many wonderful experiences in a lot of beautiful places—the common thread for each being how grounded and present I feel after taking some time to explore the outdoors.
"While I’ve been to numerous national parks, camped in many parts of the country, and spent a good amount of time exploring the Rockies, the place that holds the most space in my heart is Northern Michigan. There’s just something about the water and solitude that leaves me feeling the most inspired and connected."
Q: Any hobbies?
A: Hiking, biking, climbing, snowboarding, live music. Recently have gotten REALLY into yard work as a new homeowner. I love to be outside and experience new things—I’m usually ready for an adventure!
Q: Did you secretly run away with an alien on your last vacation?
A: I’m currently not at liberty to discuss any of those details. I’ll let you come to your own conclusion 😉
Thanks so much Alyse for spending some time in the spotlight with us! Want more? Follow our blog to keep up with good humans, good design and get to know our Unscripted Rockstars.