A new interior design shop has opened on Oak Park Avenue, but designer Robin Schwadron isn’t new to the industry. In fact, the studio is a culmination of a long career in design that has taken Schwadron from Florida to New England to the Midwest.
After studying interior design in college, Schwadron got her start in the Palm Beach area working for another designer. When that designer retired, Schwadron kept a few clients and found a lot more through word of mouth. After working in Florida for a decade, her husband’s job took them to Boston, and Schwadron continued to work on the East Coast, helping clients in Florida, Charleston and Virginia design their homes.
When her husband’s career moved them to the Chicago area, Schwadron kept her clients on the East Coast and added more from the western suburbs to the North Shore. The couple calls Oak Park home, so when Schwadron decided to add a storefront to her business, it made sense to keep it in the community.
She found available space at 143 S. Oak Park Ave., and after a few months of renovation, hung out her shingle for R. Titus Designs.
Schwadron noted, “I needed a new office, and in this business, you always have extras of inventory. It made sense to have a storefront.”
The space has a living room-like setup at the front with a rotating selection of art, textiles and furniture from lines Schwadron uses in her designs. In the back of the space, she’s created a mini-kitchen area which showcases the cabinet line she uses in her kitchen designs. The space also makes a great gathering spot for social events that Schwadron plans to hold in the shop. She’ll also use the space for consultation with design clients.
She noted that each client is individual. If a client wants to redecorate an existing home, they will often meet at the house, but for new construction projects meeting in the shop will make more sense.
Schwadron admitted, “For some people with kids and pets, they can focus better away from home, so we will meet here. It makes decision making easier.”
She added with a laugh: “It’s also easier when I don’t have to take 800 tile samples to your client’s house.”
R. Titus Designs is a full-service interior design studio. Schwadron said she works on high and low volume jobs, as well as those in between. In a typical year, she’ll work on 10 projects that run the gamut from a whole house to one to two rooms to kitchens and bathrooms. Sometimes, starting in one room can lead to other parts of the house. She remarks, “You don’t dye half of your hair because then the other half would look really bad.”
With her new studio, Schwadron said she will also be able to help clients looking for smaller ways to refresh their homes. She has access to wallpaper lines that are sold to the trade only. She is also planning to offer window treatments from start to finish with fabric choices, a workroom for sewing and an installer.
At this time, Schwadron is open by appointment and will open sporadically for open houses and for community events. She said she is looking forward to welcoming in the community.
“I hope that Oak Park will come around and see the space,” she added.
The Oak Park River Forest area is a great community for design because a lot of the older homes can use a bit of work, Schwadron said. While working with an interior designer is a bit of an investment, she said it is one that pays off.
“I think it’s almost like an education,” she said. “You need an architect and a contractor to do a job, but who’s going to tell you where to hang your art and where the lights go?”
“It’s worth the investment given how much design changes your everyday life. It makes it so much better. It’s not just looking pretty, it’s about how your house functions.”