Jamie Gasparovic always enjoyed interior design and working on home projects with her mom growing up, but it wasn’t until later in life that she realized it was her true calling. After a career change and deciding to start the adventure of becoming a business owner, she created her own interior design company: Studio Gaspo, based out of Orlando, FL.
Jamie brings elegant yet laid-back design inspiration to her clients through her own home renovations. After the success she had of purchasing and redoing her first home back in 2016, Jamie and her husband are now on to their second fixer-upper. (You can follow along with their renovation journey and purchase the exact items used in her own home over on the company’s website!) We had the opportunity to talk about all things interior design with Jamie. Keep reading to discover this entrepreneur’s advice on finding your personal design style, starting a home makeover, and following your passion.
Name: Jamie Gasparovic, Interior Designer
Location: Orlando, FL
Rent or Own: Own
Sq. Ft.: 2,000
Years Lived In: 2 years
How did you first realize you wanted a career in interior design?
Interior design is something I’ve always been interested in — my mom actually went to school for interior design and we were always redoing rooms in our house together. I didn’t get serious about a career in interior design until a few years ago, when I decided to go back to school for it. I had been working in marketing/advertising and realized my true passion was design.
You started Studio Gaspo with the goal of helping others achieve their dream home. What was it like starting your own business?
It’s been a huge learning experience for sure! When you’re running a business by yourself, everything falls on you — marketing, accounting, customer service… and oh yeah, the actual design part. I love working for myself and having ultimate control over the projects I take on and my schedule, but anyone who says that running your own business is easy is a liar!
Tell us about the house hunting process — what were you looking for in your first home? What made you decide that this house was the right one for you?
When my (now) husband Ryan and I were looking for our first house, we looked solely at “fixer uppers.” As a designer, I don’t like the thought of paying premium for upgrades that someone else made that are likely not my taste. I wanted to be able to put my own stamp on our house, and to do that within budget a fixer upper was what we needed. This house was actually bigger than what we were looking for, but it was in the area we wanted to be in, and was a great value. That’s what sealed the deal for us.
You made a lot of big renovations to totally transform the space. How was the renovation process, and how did you know what you wanted to change?
The renovation process was exciting, exhausting, stressful, and fun. I knew what I wanted to change from the moment I walked into the house. A ton of walls came down, we did all new floors, paint, doors, baseboards, lighting — the works! There really wasn’t an inch of the house that was left untouched. It was a dirty, dingy, unloved place when we bought it, and it was extremely gratifying to turn it into somewhere beautiful that we loved to spend time.
Were there any problems you came across or quirks about the house that you had to overcome?
The biggest (unfortunate) surprise that came up with this house was that we had to rewire all of the electrical. That was a very large, unexpected expense that wiped out our contingency money, and made the budget tighter than it would have been. On a more minor note, absolutely nothing in the house was level — floors, ceilings, doorway openings — which just made everything that should have been a simple project into a big to-do.
You bought the house with your husband, Ryan. How did you blend both of your styles together?
I am lucky to have the greatest husband in the world who knows that design is my passion, and really just lets me run with it! Honestly our styles are pretty similar, and he more or less likes everything I decide on. One thing he wasn’t so sure about was painting our interior doors gray — I showed him a photo of someone else who had done it and he was like “wow you’re right, that looks awesome!” and then he was on board.
What’s your favorite part of the house?
The kitchen is my favorite part of the house. I love the big island, the subway tile that reaches all the way to the ceiling, and the copper accents. Plus it’s where everyone always gathers and we’ve made lots of great memories in there!
You’ve designed so many gorgeous spaces for clients. How would you describe your personal decor style? Has it changed overtime?
I find it really hard to nail down my style with a single word. I lean toward warm modern, a bit of mid-century, and a little classic/vintage. I like to blend elements from different styles so everything isn’t all one note. My decor style has definitely changed over time — when I was in college I painted my room so it looked like the Cheesecake Factory (think tan with a rust faux finish, VERY tuscan). Now I’m much less into themes. I love neutrals as a base, but also love the contrast of adding moody colors, especially greens and blues.
What are your go-to stores and brands to shop for decor items?
I love a good Craigslist or estate sale find, and some of my favorite pieces in my home are from those two sources! But in terms of retail, I love Home Goods, West Elm, and Target!
You recently moved to a new house — what design elements of your first house will you keep when decorating your new home? Which will you change?
The vibe of this house is different from our last, which I kept in mind while deciding on finishes and decor — a lot is different this time around. Our new home is far from done, but there is a lot more green in it! I’ve still kept a balance of bright and airy with some moody colors and moments for contrast, similar to our last house. I was also able to purchase a new sofa for this house, which I was dying to do. The sofa from our last house got an A+ in function but an F in form, which just killed my poor designer heart. Our kitchen looks very different in this house — green cabinets, soapstone and quartzite counters, rattan pendants — but we did buy the same appliances! We loved the way the GE slate appliances looked in our last house, and bought pretty much the same ones for this house.
Do you have any tips or tricks for someone decorating their first home, or wanting to start a home makeover?
Have a plan! I think often people just start buying things willy nilly, and then they’re not sure how they work together and get overwhelmed. Be very intentional with your design and purchase accordingly. Create a collage on powerpoint and pull in paint colors, furniture pieces, rugs, and art that you want to use in the room before you start buying. Having it all in once place helps you to see if it’s all jiving. When in doubt (and if budget allows), hire a designer!
How do you help others find and implement their individual personal style?
Pinterest is a great resource — most people have trouble articulating their style, but they can pretty easily point to pictures that they like or dislike. I like to have people gather some photos that they love and see what the common thread is that they’re drawn to — a mid-century furniture style? White and classic? Dark and moody? Once I’ve nailed that down a bit, I usually do a mood board for my clients including some sample selections and inspiration images to make sure we’re on the same page before I go full steam ahead on the design.
What advice would you give your 23-year-old self?
Your actual passion and your professional passion don’t have to be two different things. (I began my career in advertising/marketing, because I thought it was interesting enough for a job. But my true passion was design, and eventually I realized I could just do that for a living and be way happier. Also, trust your gut, because it’s taking you down the path you’re supposed to be on!
Jamie Gasparovic is the Everygirl…
Dirty Chai Latte
Current favorite interior design trend?
Dark cabinets paired with dark counters — drool!
Netflix show you’re currently bingeing?
Peaky Blinders, OMG so good!
Favorite spot in Orlando?
Hanson’s Shoe Repair is a cool speakeasy bar that you need a password to get into — we always end up taking out-of-town guests there.
Item you can’t leave the house without?
Keys, phone, purse snacks, tape measure.
If you could have lunch with any woman, who would it be and why?
I’d love to have lunch with my grandmothers! I never had the pleasure of knowing either of them, and I’d love to hear about their life experiences and what my parents were like as kids!