Amanda Maday, owner and design director of Studio Grey in northeast Minneapolis, has completed hundreds of residential and commercial design projects locally and nationally for clients and for HGTV and DIY network shows.
At the same time Maday also strategizes with her staff of six about the next iteration of Studio Grey, the architecture, interior design and branding company she launched in 2013.
In short order Maday names ideas ranging from building ownership to property development, construction services and product design as possibilities for the future of Studio Grey or a sister company.
"Our clientele is growing," Maday said. "I feel strongly about my team and we're starting to build on this bigger picture. What is Studio Grey or what is Studio Grey 2.0? That may mean it's not Studio Grey, it's this whole other entity, and how can we benefit from that?"
Whatever Studio Grey becomes, whatever Maday branches out into in her five-year plan, her big push for 2020 will be to do more hospitality projects including multifamily housing and boutique hotels.
That likely would lead to repeat business and longer-term projects, Maday said. It also would diversify a client base that now runs 20% residential and 80% commercial, with restaurants representing the majority of that commercial work.
"Restaurants tend to go quick," Maday said. "Some are like, 'We need to be open in three months.' Others maybe a year. With hotels or some multifamily housing, the timelines are a little longer. It would be great to have a mix of deadlines, a mix of types of projects."
Studio Grey restaurant clients include Handsome Hog, the Fitz and Gray Duck in St. Paul and, in Minneapolis, Hibachi Daruma and a refresh of Borough and Pizzeria Lola's patio. Multifamily housing projects include Bridgewater Lofts and Portland Tower in Minneapolis.
Maday has done projects for HGTV's "Rock the Block," airing this month and for shows including "Bath Crashers," "Blog Cabin" and "America's Most Desperate Kitchens."
Q: Why did you choose the name Studio Grey?
A: It's not about me. I didn't want my name on the door. It creates more of this team effort. We're not just designing modern or traditional or retail or restaurants. We aren't that black, that white, we're everything in between. We're the gray area that designs to you. It's that mix of all these colors together. We can do everything. It can then grow and evolve over time.
Q: Why do your offer branding as a service?
A: It shouldn't just be about interior design and making spaces pretty. It has to be more in-depth. It has to be about the client and their brand or their personality, their identity. We're not just there to make it pretty. We want to make it successful. Our client's success is our success.
Q: What's different about working on TV shows?
A: It's a good networking thing. It's stressful but it's fun. You get to design your own thing and nobody but the design team makes any changes. You get free rein to do what you want. Clients get excited about it. People think it's more glamorous than it is. It's been helpful because it makes me realize that budgets are what they are. We need to do what we can to meet that client's expectation and on budget.
Todd Nelson is a freelance writer in Lake Elmo. His e-mail is email@example.com.