PROPEL : Inspiring Interior Designers in our Community – Joyce Silverman, Natalie Kraiem and Our Propel Client Sarah
PROPEL went on the road in October and visited the Holiday House on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The Holiday House showcases a variety of interior designers who transform a brownstone into a true work of art. Proceeds for this event go to benefit breast cancer research and awareness.
Before proceeding to a lunch with writers from Architectural Digest, Natalie Kraiem, a talented designer who was born in Buenos Aires, gave PROPEL an opportunity to look at her contribution to Holiday House, and tell us her story. As we admired the beautiful master bedroom that was Natalie’s creation, we heard an incredible story of professional determination and success.
Design was not Natalie’s first career choice, despite admiring her mother’s work as a professional designer in Argentina. Natalie and her family first moved to Florida, where Natalie went to college. Always realizing her passion for the creative arts, Natalie also loved business and finance. Her professional journey included assisting an attorney and eventually after hard work and determination Natalie received an offer from UBS Bank and started a career in private banking in New York. No matter what career you decide to pursue, Natalie recommends “mastering the process”. She notes the importance of going on many interviews, building your resume, and keeping your eye on the goal.
Being newly married and wanting to start her own family, the desire for a more balanced lifestyle inspired Natalie to pursue her creative passion through interior design. Natalie received a certification from Parsons School of Design while going to classes in the evening and continuing to work in private banking during the day. Her first “project” was decorating her own apartment. Upon leaving her position at UBS Bank, Natalie first partnered with her sister-in-law, Jennifer Ghatan, who later moved to London. Natalie then assumed the challenge of starting her own business in interior design and formed her own company, Natalie Kraiem Interiors. To date, Natalie has completed projects in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Florida, and New Jersey. Her work has not only received recognition from her community clients. Natalie has been featured in decorating magazines and, as a result, she has built a tremendous network of resources and vendors.
Natalie is happy to share her career experience with others. “Look for opportunity and be confident in whatever you choose,” were her words of advice.
Our next stop was to meet with Joyce Silverman, a talented, community interior designer who has been in the business for over 20 years. Known as a visual storyteller, Joyce designed the downstairs laundry room space in the Holiday House. “Beautiful” and “laundry” are generally not words placed in the same sentence. Not so in the case of Joyce’s incredible, creative design. Joyce selected this project – the townhouse laundry room – to demonstrate her unique ability to transform a typically mundane space into something absolutely fabulous.
Joyce acknowledged that her greatest talents were not fostered in high school. There was no outlet for Joyce’s creative talents, and she found herself often disobeying the rules. This all changed for Joyce when she moved to Sephardic High School and was encouraged by one of her teachers and her mother to take courses at the Parsons School of Design and Fashion Institute of Technology. Joyce was accepted to the Bachelor of Fine Arts program at Parsons.
Joyce began building her portfolio and started designing for her family. She realized that this talent was in her blood, as Joyce fondly remembers her British grandmothers’ attention to design detail. Joyce began her formal training under designer Nicholas Calder. Under Calder, Joyce learned the business of design. She notes the great importance of building trustworthy, client relationships to become successful in the industry.
Joyce’s husband, and love-of-her-life since age 14, encouraged Joyce to start her own design business. Joyce decorated her own home in the year 2000 and that led to an impressive career of both commercial and residential design work in Brooklyn, Manhattan, New Jersey, Miami and Panama. Her business now encompasses a staff of five and Joyce and her company, Joyce D. Silverman Interiors, have been featured in several prestigious magazines, including Architectural Digest, Design New Jersey and Woman’s Wear Daily. In 2017, Joyce was awarded the Best Interior Designer award for “Innovation in Design” by NY Cottages and Garden magazine.
Joyce emphasized her mother’s and father’s tradition of giving back. She was inspired to pursue her charitable endeavor, The Nest Fund, a nonprofit organization that distributes gently used furniture to the less fortunate. In addition, Joyce teaches continuing education courses in the community.
Joyce gives sound advice to future generations of designers. She advises, “Don’t give up and be confident, responsible, responsive, respectful and honest. Your reputation and name are extremely important.”
At the Holiday House, we also met with Sarah, a PROPEL client, design student and apprentice.
After attending a PROPEL Vision Mapping event with Alice Chera this summer, Sarah contacted PROPEL and met with career coach Ellen Ades. A recent graduate from Binghamton University, Sarah always had a creative passion for design. At college, Sarah studied graphic design, but found herself inclined to use her artistic talents toward decor.
Sarah had a rewarding meeting with Ellen, who quickly recommended a certificate in design from Parsons School of Design. Sarah is currently enrolled at Parsons where she is learning the techniques required to become a successful designer.
Sarah was introduced to community designer Natalie Kraiem by her mother and an instant relationship was formed. Natalie has empowered Sarah as her assistant and Sarah is currently learning and involved in various aspects of the trade, including ordering fabric, attending trade shows and photo shoots, and interacting with clients. Her involvement in the Holiday House project has been extremely exciting for Sarah. Sarah exclaims, “Doing what she loves for a charitable cause is incredible!”.
Sarah acknowledges that PROPEL gave her the confidence to pursue her dreams. She was a bit nervous making that initial call to PROPEL, but now she is procuring a career that she loves. Sarah’s message to other women thinking about contacting PROPEL, “Don’t be afraid to get started and pursue what you really enjoy.”
Article By Alissa Shams and Randi Eisenstein
If you are interested in a career, please reach out to PROPEL and we can help you fulfill your professional goal.
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