Monika Nessbach, owner of Charlotte’s Designbar, has had a passion for interior design since childhood. After receiving her Bachelors and Masters degree in Business, along with taking Interior Design courses, Monika moved to Charlotte and quickly fell in love with the city. She decided this was where she wanted to create her own business, helping Charlotteans create beautiful spaces and shaping how the area will look in the future. After being given a chance at a designer show house in 2009, Monika decided to take the plunge and Designbar, her interior design firm, was born.
Today, her firm handles everything from commercial design to Airbnb design services and film set design and they have worked with brands from Tedx to Charlotte Motor Speedway. Monika filled us in on more of Designbar’s details, from its roots to her design process.
How has Designbar developed over the years?
I worked out of my home at first, with the team developing over time and forming somewhat by chance. It all started with one intern because I was afraid to take on the responsibility. Once I took on my first full-time employee, though, the business started thriving. Our office in Plaza Midwood today is in an old historic mill building. It is my absolute dream space and perfectly fits our company culture. Now, Designbar is one of the top 10 commercial interior design firms in Charlotte. I am so fortunate to have a team of amazingly creative and sharp minds.
How do you work with your team and involve your clients in the design process?
Everything starts with an initial design consultation at the project site. During this time, the client is able to get to know us, and we get to know them. We talk about their vision for the space, brand requirements, budget, and anything else to get a better understanding of the project. From there we start with design concepts and, after client approval, we move into design development where we actually design the space and select all the finishes, materials, lighting, and furniture. This phase concludes with a design presentation to the client, and then there’s construction, installation, and styling. The project concludes with a final walk through and us handing over a project binder to the client.
Does Designbar use local vendors for its projects?
We love working with local vendors. When it comes to custom furniture, we love working with Kauffman & Co or Josh Utsey. For anything bath-related, we love working with the ladies at Majestic Bath or with Ferguson. As for countertops, we are a big fan of Cambria. Their showroom is absolutely stunning and the countertops are to die for. For accessories and styling, we love to venture out to Interior Design classes. Local gems like Magnolia Emporium or Sleepy Poet Mall also offer opportunities for one of a kind finds.
Can you describe a few of your favorite projects?
It’s really hard to name a favorite because every past project has aspects about them that I absolutely loved. However, if you have to nail me down, here are a few that will always be dear to my heart: I loved working with Continental Tire, Eight Sushi and Asian Kitchen, Cantina 1511, Nokian Tyres and Crave Dessert Bar. We are currently in the process of finishing a few projects that are absolutely to die for, but I cannot share details until they’re completed.
What continues to inspire your love for interior design?
Inspiration comes from everywhere. Traveling is a huge inspiration because it’s amazing to see how other cultures execute and interpret design. Things we deem necessary in the US are barely noticed, while other countries focus on other things. The way patterns are mixed, the way flooring is installed, even the way a bed is made in other countries can be a source of inspiration. The key is to stay observant and just watch and listen. The smallest things can define the idea for your next design.