Today we’d like to introduce you to Stuart Debowsky.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Stuart. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
The company was formed nine years ago, at the height of the economic recession and just as my wife and I were about to have our first child and we were finishing the construction on our own “dream home”. I saw numerous affluent communities suffer with the diminishing value of their houses and decided to build a more personal business around the necessary re-investment needed to stay (and enjoy) the home for a bit longer, knowing that when the world improved, they’d have a better property to re-sell. After a dozen years, I left a successful position at a local architectural firm to “be my own boss” and participate in fatherhood in a more hands-on way, all the while as my industry suffered immensely. We helped people to fall in love with their homes all over again and the word-of-mouth spread from friends to strangers. Our company did it all – from planning to interior design selections to preparing the documents to managing the construction process with the client’s chosen contractor; all of which was done in the absence of private offices or an elaborate team so our rates were extraordinarily affordable. As the economy rebounded, the business grew into what it is today – a six-person team that is able to take every project (from updated kitchens and bathrooms to new construction of multi-million dollar properties) from concept to implementation, with approximately twenty completed projects per year. We select every finish material, specify all fixtures and coordinate architectural details with a contemporary vision for a smart and discerning clientele. The investment that people make in creating a place that is a source of great pride is more than just “brick and mortar”, it is the lasting concept of “home” as the safe and loving environment where the very best memories can flourish. The process is extremely personal and our team looks to relieve some of the stress.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
We started at the very worst of financial times. With a handful of clients and the unique concept of combining architectural interiors, technical documents and construction administration for an affordable, lump-sum fee, we set out to make great design attainable to our friends in the community; I had no idea if people would “buy in” (let alone refer us to their friends and family) to the necessity of re-investment and aesthetic upgrades, given that economic climate. Thankfully, the road has been a smooth trajectory upward ever since and the scale and budgets of our projects have increased along the way. And while we are always busy with design, the struggles we have are found within the interactions with the constructors of our projects – getting the ideas built and holding budgets along the way – remains the biggest challenge of the profession. In the end, Miami is a place that values the way things look so our role in that process is highly regarded. And we cherish guiding our clients through every step so their struggles are ours, together.
Please tell us about Debowsky Design Group.
Most people thing of architecture firms for the buildings that they create. Because our roots are primarily in the interior design of spaces, we differentiate ourselves by building from the “inside, out”. By that, I mean that we value the way an inhabitant experiences a place, either individually or in groups and we create spaces that flow comfortably for life to happen; the exterior “form” or “style” is of a secondary concern. That stated, what we do “best” is ask a lot of questions regarding the use and value of a home and then we listen carefully to the answers. We talk about budget and re-sale and pride and happiness, fully aware that a home is at once a private retreat and the most public way of welcoming your community. As the principal of this little team, my greatest source of joy is when our clients stop me somewhere and tell me how much they love being in their home. We work hard to source unique finishes and hold the contractors to a higher quality standard and that passion is evident in every interaction. There is no better call in business than a valued referral calling to hire us for the same experience that their friend just had with our company. We are “all in” on these undertakings and our client’s know it.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I started the business with ZERO DAYS spent in business school. I had no business strategy and no “plan B” – just a loving family and a close-knit community that wanted me to succeed. I have always loved architecture and appreciated the quality of a beautifully designed space – I just never had any idea how hard the business world could be. My non-entrepreneurial friends think that it’s so cool when I can take an afternoon off to attend my kid’s school shows or go to the gym some mornings without permission, but they have no concept of just how rough it is to keep a business cash-positive and manage a team toward a shared vision. If I started this over, I’d learn how to do those things the right way and saved myself some heartache along the way. It’s a lonely feeling, sometimes, to be “the boss” and the pressure to keep things together and focused on growth is enormous. But make no mistake – I would absolutely do it again – and I deeply cherish the role I hold in the community as a result.
- Free in-home consultation to determine scope, feasibility and scheduling
- Address: 4384 Southwest 13th Street
Coral Gables, FL 33134
- Website: www.debowsky.com
- Phone: 305.495.2751
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @debowskymiami
- Facebook: @debowskydesigngroup