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Kensington Marsh and Emily Luippold, interior designers at Danco Modern

Kensington Marsh
- Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City

Emily Luippold
- Art Institute of Pittsburgh

From the Springfield Republican business desk, April 23, 2015:

WEST HATFIELD - Danco Modern, which has sold furniture in the Pioneer Valley since 1970, has just added two interior designers to its sales team to offer consultations at the store and in customer homes. Although Danco Modern has offered design and space planning for several years, the new hires reflects a growing demand for interior design services.

"Everyone is so busy these days, that it's hard to find the time to pick out the perfect furniture and accessories for your home. For us it's fun because no two spaces are ever the same and no two clients are ever the same. We try to take the stress and the worry out of the process," said Kensington Marsh, who has worked for 25 years as an interior designer and visual merchandiser.

Marsh, 47, a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, joined Danco Modern in March. He is well known in the region for his work at Chap De Laine's, Yankee Candle and in the 1990s for Springfield's historic Steiger's department stores, where he designed store displays.

"One of the common misconceptions is that interior design is out of reach for many people, because it's too expensive. But it's really not that expensive. We work with any budget and achieve the best design on that budget. You can work wonders with some creativity and a professional's eye," he said.

Home owners and businesses hire interior designs for a few common reasons, according to Emily Luippold, Danco Modern's other new designer. "They may be struggling with the current layout of a room or an office space, or they may wish to incorporate a new style or piece. Often people redesign their home when their lifestyle changes, such as moving into a new home, adding new family members or their children moving out. It may be that they're finally getting around to a long-planned home redesign. And even downsizing can benefit from a designer's perspective."

Luippold, 32, became interested in the field when she refurbished her Erving home a few years ago. "It's an old house, which was kind of pieced together," she said. "We took down walls to make it more livable and functional. Then we had a great time picking out finishes, colors and furnishings."

Luippold completed her interior design degree from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh last year. Since joining Danco Modern in the fall, she has seen more and more of her time going toward design projects.

"It's very satisfying to find a way to mix a customer's existing pieces with new design ideas. It comes down to spending time with a customer so you can really get to know their likes and dislikes, how their space looks now and how they want it to look. Once you understand their lifestyle, you can make good suggestions for improving their living space," she said.

Although the process generally begins with a visit to the store, Marsh and Luippod will often visit a customer's home to take measurements, discuss design ideas and explore how the space will function on a daily basis. Back at the store, they prepare drawings, and select furniture pieces and swatches. Then they make the big presentation.

"There's a special moment when you make a presentation to a client, and they can actually see the plans in front of them," Marsh said. "They can picture the room in their head, and begin to feel it as a reality. That's when people often have an aha moment.

"Even if we tweak the design after that, something has changed. They realize they aren't just buying furniture, but the enjoyment they'll be receiving from their revitalized space. You're building for the moments to be, how the room will look 10 years from now, where the Christmas tree will go. We're helping to improve their lives through the years, the big events and the daily moments. That's why I love interior design.