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Listee Features — Interior Design

BECKY S. FRIEDMAN

First cultivating her skills with an Associate of Science in paralegal studies, Becky S. Friedman is the owner of Fireplace Outlet, Inc., which she began out of the back of van alongside her husband. Today, they operate out of two locations and provide installation, servicing and maintenance for fireplaces; custom mantel installations; and have recently branched out into tiling. Furthermore, Fireplace Outlet stands out among its competitors for the full-service nature of their business. Many other businesses subcontract out various aspects of a project, but Fireplace Outlet manages everything in house from beginning to end. They notably even liaise directly with their vendors instead of going through a middle-man supplier, a practice which only began because of the COVID-19 pandemic

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MARISOL LARDIZABAL ESCOBAR

Inspired by a deep love of helping others and serving God at the same time, Marisol Lardizabal Escobar strives to help people become the best versions of themselves through her roles as a nurse, interior designer, event planner and life coach. She first earned a Bachelor of Science in nursing from Saint Jude College in Manila, Philippines, in 1993, where she was recognized on the dean’s list and presented with the Loyalty Award. She then sought a master’s degree in psychology and maternal child nursing and is currently pursuing a doctorate in holistic medicine. For her excellence as a nurse, Ms. Escobar was presented with the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses by The DAISY Foundation, which seeks to recognize nurses,

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Robyn Ebisui

ROBYN YEE EBISUI

With a longstanding passion for art, Robyn Yee Ebisui, DArch, NCIDQ, settled on architecture as a career, because she wanted to do something tangible with art and interior design has a direct impact on people’s lives and how they experience spaces. She first earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology before achieving a Doctor of Architecture from the University of Hawaii in 2011 and attaining certification from the National Council for Interior Design Qualification in 2017. She is also LEED certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. She began her professional career in 2006, starting at Garduque Architects, LLC, then Clifford Planning & Architecture LLC, as a project designer. In 2014, Dr. Ebisui joined Bowers + Kubota, where she now

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Eva Maddox

EVA L. MADDOX

Encouraged to apply to art school by her mother, who was a high school career counselor, Eva L. Maddox graduated from College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning at the University of Cincinnati with a Bachelor of Science in design in 1967 and began her career that same year. In 1975, she struck out on her own and established Eva Maddox Associates Inc., where she excelled as president until 2000 when she joined Perkins & Will, one of the largest architectural firms in the world, as a principal. During her time with Perkins & Will, she excelled in branded environments and brand communication and completed more than 200 discreet designs. Ms. Maddox has excelled as a woman in a very

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Amy Cassell

AMY CASSELL

Fascinated with architecture and design from an early age, Amy Cassell was already building model houses and drawing floor plans by the time she reached elementary school. She embarked on her studies at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in architecture, cum laude, in 1998. Furthermore, she has achieved NCIDQ certification from the National Council for Interior Design Qualification and LEED AP certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Starting out as a partner with Suzanne Lovell Inc. in 1998, Ms. Cassell cultivated considerable expertise in residential architecture and interiors and remained with the firm until 2010 before joining Pierre-Yves Rochon as the design director for the Chicago office from 2010 to 2014. In

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SUSAN-ELLEN STODDARD

Leading the industry as a recognized entrepreneur, Susan-Ellen Stoddard has maintained her full-service interior design firm in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, since 1998, providing her expertise to both residential and commercial clients throughout New England, New York, Florida and Chicago. In her capacity as the senior designer of her firm, Ms. Stoddard strives to create unique and functional spaces that reflect the needs of her clients, breathing new life into existing projects or designing new residential/commercial spaces. After earning her undergraduate degree from the New York School of Interior Design, Ms. Stoddard attained a Master of Arts in interior design from Chelsea University England. She also completed postgraduate coursework at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and the University of Oxford in

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Imelda Lorena Huerta

IMELDA LORENA HUERTA

Coming to the United States at the age of just three months, Imelda Lorena Huerta has achieved considerable success in the hospitality industry due to her passion, care and work ethic. Starting out in food service, she spent time as a sever, banquet lead server, captain and food and beverage assistant for three hotels, the Marriott, the Westin and the Renaissance in California. Once she became the person in charge of events, she realized how difficult it was to obtain specialty linens, having to order them from places as far afield as Texas and New York and then having to pack them all up and send them back after the event. This inspired her to see if she could do

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TINA M. VITAL

Graduating from Ocean Springs High School, Tina M. Vital began her professional journey by earning a bachelor’s degree in interior design at Mississippi State University in 2007. Throughout the years, she has also been greatly impacted by the works of Lillian August and Dorothy Draper, whose use of color and patterns inspired her own creative gifts. Embarking on her career in the employ of a designer who designed and sold furniture directly to clients out of his showroom, she found herself interested in that same sort of work because she saw how it enabled her employer to provide furniture to design and direct clients at a lower cost. After seven years, Ms. Vital opened Abode Beach Interiors in 2015, where

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MARGARET “PEGGY” GREIF ARDEN

Margaret “Peggy” Greif Arden celebrates a career spanning more than 50 years as an award-winning interior decorator and small business owner. Creative and naturally artistic since childhood, Ms. Arden enjoyed crafts and ceramic arts, and took design coursework first at DePauw University in the late 1950s, and then at the University of Illinois between 1960 and 1962. She got her start in the interior design and decor industry by designing interiors for hospitals and corporate settings, and fell in love with the work. By 1965, Ms. Arden had established her own company, Creative Decor, a Kankakee, Illinois-based firm where she remained the principal and primary owner until 1979. Throughout the decade, Ms. Arden also worked as a member of the

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Kristine Finklea

KRISTINE NASH FINKLEA

Kristine Nash Finklea celebrates more than 35 years of personal and innovative work as an interior designer and the owner of Kristi Finklea Interiors. Her passion for art and design began at a young age, and Ms. Finklea credits her success to having the confidence to recognize and develop her talent early in life. A graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University, she holds both a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Master of Arts in painting and art education. She financed her education by selling original drawings and paintings, and began her career as a public school art teacher. While working as an educator, Ms. Finklea started exploring her interest in interior design and antiques. After inheriting her father’s

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