The first time we met Emilie Munroe of Studio Munroe, it was at her vibrant San Francisco HQ. Nearly three years have gone by, and for this Bay Area designer — business is better than ever. She was named a “Next Wave” designer from House Beautiful magazine in October 2016, and added to the Luxe Interiors + Design Gold List in 2018. She’s continued to create some of our favorite spaces ever, always with her mantra in mind: “A home should be the perfect backdrop for the life lived inside.” So just how does she do it? She’s taking on our infamous #5MinutesWith Q&A, spilling some secrets along the way:
MY LIGHTBULB MOMENT:
Realizing that this job is as much about the creative endeavor of design as it is about the fearless and precise management of a consulting and retail business. I was rather academic growing up, so I was constantly trying to reconcile landing and loving my first job in interior design. However, when I opened Studio Munroe and layered in the operational and project management elements of business ownership, I knew immediately I had found my dream life: Creative, dynamic, intellectual and energizing.
I CAN’T START MY DAY UNTIL:
My daily day pre-work routine is very consistent compared to the intense and varied cadence of each day in the studio. Having the same morning ritual of coffee and toast and a shower gives my brain a chance to recharge and chase down unexpected ideas and inspirations. It’s amazing how many design concepts pop into my mind during these methodical moments. Creating a balance of stimulation and routine is key to feeling recharged and energized.
Having the freedom to curate your dream day (almost) every day. I don’t feel like an entrepreneur, I feel like a person passionate about a craft and working every day to realize that craft in better and bigger ways. That means 5 days a week of living a personal dream. Ahoy, success.
YOU’LL NEVER SEE ME WITHOUT:
Shoes that I love. Foundation of the outfit as to foundation of the home: Essential!
MY DREAM COLLABORATION:
I’m in such an energized, game-on mood these days, hit me up with ideas because it feels like millions of product and media collaborations would be a fun fit. I’ve always wanted to design a lighting or area rug collection, but going off-industry and creating a fabulous series of handbags or popping up on a design show, would be an incredible parallel creative outlet. Vases, sneakers, TV, scented candles… Right brand, right time, you name it.
THE ONLY PLACE BETTER THAN SAN FRANCISCO:
Sydney, Australia. I lived in Sydney in my early 20s and a piece of my heart will always remain: Pure urban, delicious, playful, sunny, creative, beautiful, fun-loving delight.
WHEN I FEEL UNINSPIRED:
There isn’t much a glass of rosé and 20 min with your fave music streaming station can’t kick back into gear. With so much visual stimulation coming from our gadgets, a good ol’ fashioned unplugged moment is the retro classic way to refresh and get back in the game.
ADVICE I WISH I HAD 5 YEARS AGO:
I was lucky to be showered with advice when I jumped into the field so will pivot and reiterate one of my favorites: Build slowly and deliberately so that you have the freedom to gauge your enjoyment as the company grows and evolves. In the digital age, there is a temptation to hit the scene with a bang — website, logo, stationery, Instagram handle. Prioritizing a curated image before work experience can lead your company to develop out of sync with your true skills and interests. One step at time insures your career destination is an authentic fit to you.
IN 5 YEARS FIND ME:
Right here where I am right now juggling my current client’s new vacation homes, yachts and private plane design projects, along with a series of fabulous new product side businesses, and the writing of a thick, juicy coffee table book. But all this after a chilled out morning of coffee, toast and nice warm shower, of course.
ABOVE ALL ELSE:
Nurture your own spirit. You can’t lead and create on half full.