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April Gandy of Alluring Designs Chicago: 5 Things You Can Do To Help Your Living Space Spark More Joy

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

Be festive! If you are big on holidays, add some festive flare to your space. Selecting pieces for a joyous season can be a fun project and it truly reflects in your space.

As part of my series on the “5 Things You Can Do To Help Your Living Space Spark More Joy”, I had the pleasure of interviewing April Gandy, Founder and Principal Designer, Alluring Designs Chicago.

Alluring Designs Chicago is a full-service luxury interior design firm offering design services for residential and commercial interiors. Led by April Gandy, her mother, Valerie Steward, and close family friend, Jennifer Anderson, Alluring Designs is on a mission to create beautiful homes with classic, quality design that exudes the essence of their clients. Alluring Designs is known for their classically fun, modern, and luxurious interiors, and they’re proudly veteran, family and black owned.

Thank you so much for joining us in this series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

When I was 23 I bought my first condo. It was small but it’s what I could afford at the time. It had green laminate countertops in the kitchen and “vintage” tile in the kitchen and bathroom. I could only afford something that needed a little work so I made it my own little by little. When I went through the process, I found that I really enjoyed making my place beautiful. It was in that condo that my love for design began. From there I helped my friends and family overhaul their places and built my portfolio. In 2017 I officially launched Alluring Designs Chicago and I’m lucky enough to do what I love everyday!

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

I was casted for a design TV show on a major network! I received a DM on Instagram and couldn’t believe it was real. It was one of the best experiences of my life!

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I’ve had many situations where I purchased items that were not the correct size. I used to pull out the painters tape and plot out furniture but for whatever reason I could not get it right! Those were very hard lessons having to exchange large furniture pieces! I found an app to create floor plans so I never make those mistakes again.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

I recently worked on a lakeside cabin. We started designing from plans and have made every decision in the 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom cabin. I learned a lot about what to consider when designing from plans and working with a builder. I am happy to have that experience in case I ever work with a builder again in the future.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

This sounds so underrated but the one thing I say to my team the most is “It will be just fine.” There are times on every project when things don’t go as planned. That is inevitable. I’ve learned to quickly pivot and not dwell on things in the past. There are so many things that can frustrate and stress us, but I remind my team everyday that we will figure it out and it’ll be just fine.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I never went to school for interior design so I felt there were some components of my job that would be easier had I gone to school. In 2020 when we were quarantined, I decided to do as much studying and research as I could while stuck in the house. I attended so many webinars with the Interior Design Society. It was on one of those webinars that I met Michelle Lynne of ML Interiors Group in Dallas. I signed up for her coaching course and she quickly became someone I call my friend. She was so supportive and helped me beyond what I signed up for. I owe a big part of my success to her.

Thank you for that. Here is the main question of our discussion. What are your “5 Things You Can Do To Help Your Living Space Spark More Joy” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  • Joy comes from within, so include pieces in your living space that make you happy. It can be as simple as family photos or an heirloom that was passed down to you. Add pieces that bring you joy when you see them.
  • Choose colors for your living space that bring you joy. Bright and airy or dark and moody; when you align the vibe of a space to your own mood, people pick up that energy. It’s all about what brings you joy.
  • Add layered lighting to the space. Lighting creates a whole mood by itself. When adding light fixtures, think about how you can complement what you already have in the space. Creating the right mood can bring joy in the space you crave.
  • Live plants can also bring joy to a space. The color of the greenery along with a beautiful planter can be the extra bit of joy your space needs. Live plants literally bring life to a space so add pops of greenery for a little extra joy.
  • Be festive! If you are big on holidays, add some festive flare to your space. Selecting pieces for a joyous season can be a fun project and it truly reflects in your space.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I grew up in the inner city of Chicago. I had so many odds against me to be successful. I worked hard to get to where I am today, but I will never forget where I came from. One of the goals of my business is to build underserved communities in Chicago. I want to see property value increase and give African American families a chance to have a beautiful home to live in. “Building beautiful communities and beautiful homes, one room at a time!”

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this, especially if we tag them 🙂

I would love to have a private lunch with Kelly Wearstler so I can ask how she did it!

How can our readers follow you on social media?

I can be found on IG and FB @alluringdesignschicago

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational!

April Gandy of Alluring Designs Chicago: 5 Things You Can Do To Help Your Living Space Spark More… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.