Home designer helps clients find their style
Interior Designer Catherine Schager in the office she remodeled for one of her clients in Northbrook. | Jackie Pilossoph~for Sun-Times Media
Catherine Schager Designs
Updated: February 19, 2013 12:37PM
NORTHBROOK — Laura Eason is a full-time executive in the fashion industry, with two kids under the age of two.
So, when it came to redecorating the main floor of her family’s new Northbrook home, Eason’s lack of free time led her to get professional help.
“I didn’t have time to invest in searching for paint colors and wallpaper,” she said, “I couldn’t figure out what to do with the main floor, and how to utilize the space.”
Eason reached out to Catherine Schager, an independent interior designer who has had her own business, Catherine Schager Designs, for three years.
“Cathy’s a great listener with a unique sense of figuring out the best way to utilize space,” said Eason, “And, she’s got a really good eye when it comes to color.”
Prior to starting Catherine Schager Designs, Schager was a designer and general manager for Walter E. Smithe for 13 years, and also worked for other retail furniture stores and a well-known builder.
“I like the fact that I can offer my clients so much more working on my own,” said Schager, who graduated from Harrington College of Design and who is certified in kitchen and bath design through the National Kitchen and Bath Association. “I can offer them any kind of products versus just the products the store sells. I can also do built-ins, kitchens, baths and offer them the whole experience.”
Schager, who lives in Northbrook with her husband, works with clients all over the North Shore, downtown and beyond our area. Her services include anything from a consultation for a paint color all the way up to a full remodel or gutted kitchen or bath.
When talking to a new client, Schager said the first thing she does is get a thorough feel for what they like and what their vision is. She then pre-selects samples of materials such as tiles, fabrics and wood.
“When you’re shopping for tile, for example, there are five million pieces and it can be overwhelming for clients, so I get a feel for what’s going to work and what the client wants and together we make the final decision,” she said.
Rick Guggemos and his wife, Janet recently hired Schager to redecorate the foyer, powder room and kitchen of their Northbrook home, and the couple said it was a nice, fun experience.
“She’s very detail-oriented and she stays on top of everything,” Guggemos said of Schager, “She opened our eyes to possibilities we wouldn’t have considered in our home, which led us to a much nicer result.”
“A home is an important place,” Schager said, “It’s the place that at the end of the day you want to be comfortable and happy and have lovely things around you, and I love seeing clients’ faces when they have a home that they love.”
Schager’s rates are hourly for smaller projects, but for larger jobs, she gives the client a package price with the exact scope and all the services it entails.
“This way they know upfront how much it will cost, so there are no surprises and they don’t have to be worried, wondering how much this is going to end up costing,” she said.
When asked if she had a certain style, Schager said a good designer should never have their own style.
“I’m there to make sure it all works together,” she said, “But at the end of the day, whatever the client wants is what they are going to get.”
“After talking to other people who had remodeled parts of their homes, we realized that our project was a breeze,” said Guggemos.
“She made it all click,” said Eason, “We’ll head upstairs with Cathy in a couple months. She’s always in my back pocket.”