Our creativity is influenced by our surroundings and inspiration, and Amy Spiegel of Amy Spiegel Interiors knows this all too well. We had the opportunity to talk to her this week about how her travels and living overseas has changed the way she views design and gives her a new perspective on her projects.
*Header image credit: Amy Spiegel, Amy Spiegel Interiors
Full Podcast Transcript
Grace Mase: 0:04
Hello, and welcome to the Revivify podcast. I'm your host Grace Mase. And today we're speaking with Amy Spiegel. She is the owner of Spiegel Interiors. We're excited to speak with Amy, and all about her experiences working with clients across the country, and also international clients across the pond. We'll get to learn about how she helped many clients interpret their stories as they go through the transitions. Amy, welcome. Thank you so much for joining us, and I can't wait to hear your stories.
Amy Spiegel: 0:39
Thank you, Grace, I'm excited to share it with you. It's been an exciting transition for me. I've come from living overseas for 15 years, and moving to Manhattan. And now I moved again, to Los Angeles. I'm very excited about relocating here.
Grace Mase: 0:53
Yes, and I love how you help people transition from country to country. But you have gone through all the transition yourself. So it's not like you're just designing within a vacuum, you actually have that personal experience. So if you might just help me to understand how you got started and how you evolved over a period of time.
Amy Spiegel: 1:12
I actually have a background in fashion. I've always loved fashion, art and design, my degree is in art history. And I moved with my family to Tokyo in 2001. And I had a wonderful experience, an amazing city to live in. If you love design, that's the place to be. I was introduced to an interior design company that did Hotel and Spa concept design, through a mutual friend who works in the hotel industry. And I was lucky enough to be hired. And that's how I started. So it was in 2004-2005, I started working for a company I did a lot of FF and E work. And we also did design for these hotels in Asia. And I fell in love with interior design. I love doing hotels, I love boutique hotel design, it was something that really interests me. And I love the fact that they could take the environment that they set the hotel up in and reflect it in the property. And that's how I design. So I like to collect things from all over the world. It doesn't have to be big, it's little things that can be my favorite soaps or something that catches my eye in the market. And then when we moved to Hong Kong, I decided to open my own business. And I went with full force and love every minute of it. And I love that I had access to a furniture factory, right, I was able to go and start designing my own furniture, and working with amazing factories in China. And I loved doing that. I love the design process. I love seeing things completed. I have an image in my head and it's so tangible, you can touch it. And that was the fun part too. Instead of just shopping for furniture, I got to really have a hands-on experience and spend time in factories there.
Grace Mase: 2:53
Now, how many countries have you lived in?
Amy Spiegel: 2:56
I've lived in three countries. And I studied when I was a student in Sienna, Italy. I studied art. And then I've traveled nonstop.
Grace Mase: 3:05
How did travel influence your design approach or design philosophy over the years?
Amy Spiegel: 3:10
So I think one of the things I like is that travel exposes you to a world beyond your own. It allows you to build your own story, the story of who you are, and how you collect items. It's in a flea market, in Covent Garden, I found a great little bracelet that I still wear to this day. And then it could be standing in Shenzhen or in Shanghai and you find something, it exposes you to this world that I imagine where those pieces were, I imagined how they're going to fit into my life, how they're going to fit into my client's life, I help my clients pick wonderful things and curate what they've collected throughout their time with traveling in Asia and also in Europe. For me, design has just opened my eyes. Like I said, Tokyo is an amazing city to live in if you're into design. Besides the fashion which has always been an interest of mine and the architecture. I took a year-long course on architecture in Japan. And it was fascinating. It's so amazing the way the Japanese use space and design and lines, interesting materials because Japan is so expensive. So they use materials they can source there. So I found that design, living overseas and traveling really opens my mind to a whole different way of looking at design. I like to layer. I love layering. I have layered fabrics. I buy fabrics wherever I go. And it's fun to go walking in Nepal, I found amazing textiles being woven that were actually sold to a top hotel chain. I found myself when I was traveling. Even now, even where I live now in LA, just things really catch my eye. And I think that traveling and getting to know outside of yourself, it's an education in itself. it's amazing.
Grace Mase: 5:02
I love that story. Because you talk about Japan, their design approach is very simple, very elegant, minimalist, versus study in Italy, the design is a lot more in-depth. It’s quite the contrast. But you're able to interpret those two very distinct design approaches in a way that brings certain happiness. And when you were at that moment, just like getting bracelets and still be able to, you know, Covent Garden, and England versus your experience in Tokyo, and your study in Italy, and all that together is what makes interior design kind of really fascinating. Because, as you mentioned, designing for your clients is understanding their lifestyle, and having a good understanding of how to interpret those lifestyles into something that they can see and immediately be transported into those moments of happiness. And so how do you help your clients to do so, and curate their space?
Amy Spiegel: 6:02
I do. So I'm lucky enough to still go back to Hong Kong and spend time with clients. Many of my clients own multiple homes, and others are moving back to their permanent home in Manhattan where I was working with a lot of people, a lot of my clients. When I spend time with them, and I'm lucky enough to know a lot of them a bit more personally, because the communities over there are not very large. So you get to know a lot of interesting people, I spend time with them, I talk to them, what are their favorite things, I actually make them photograph all of their items that they think they want in their home, before I come. And I start to lay it out. And we put it all together we look at, well, if we want to switch fabrics, what would we do? And then when I go over there to like their home in Hong Kong or their home, you know, outside the city, I say to them, tell me why you like this, I kind of dig a bit deeper. I'm a holistic designer. So I like to think deeper. Why do you like this? Why wouldn't you take that with you, or I wouldn't take that. I just wouldn't move it into a home in the US like, you don't feel like you're in love with it. It's very expensive to move back to the US from overseas, you get a certain amount in a container. So what would you go out and buy? And what would you preserve? So I think my knowledge of doing it, I've moved so many times in my life, culling and culling and culling and curating my own life and my family's life. And I think I offer that level of understanding and finding deeper like, what did you love when you traveled? How many of my clients have lived in England, and then Hong Kong. And I'm thrilled when mixing Japanese with old English and bringing out the true story of that whole life that you lead. So when I meet with them, I spend a lot of time curating their collection, I talk to them about the items they love. I walk around the house and I say why don't you take this back, we could put this X, Y and Z and they're like ‘Oh, I never thought of that’. And it gives them a different idea. It's nice to have a second set of eyes on things before you move before you invest the time and the energy to move things. It's nice to have somebody say to you, ditch it, keep it. Ditch it, Keep it. I'm not a believer in throwing everything out. I believe there's a time and space for Kondo. I really do. And I understand it as a Japanese aesthetic, I understand the beauty of taking that one beautiful bowl and putting it out and enjoying it in that moment. And then rotating your collection. I think that's very important. Those are the things that will comfort you, you know, we're all changing. I'm older, you know, your children grow up. And when you're young, you think you want all the trends, you want the trend because now it's this mid-century modern you want the trends because it's this, you know, all of these amazing trends which are great and wonderful to put in and move it in. But don't throw everything out, because you can mix and that is really one of the things that I try to explain to my clients. Don't go for all the latest and greatest. Yes, we will make it beautiful. Yes, we can combine hand painted French wallpaper with your Chinese pieces or your Japanese pieces or European pieces. Just don't feel like I've gotta ditch it all. And you'll be sad. You will be sad because when you revisit items that you've collected, it's lovely. It's a mini-vacation every time you look at it.
Grace Mase: 9:33
So I like that concept, the mini-vacation in your own home. Everywhere you look there's a piece of memory and happy memories and it brings you to that moment and you are able to savor it and enjoy it. And so I love all these great things that you talked about and I think one of the common challenges is trying to figure out, could be overwhelming for any of these zpacks moving back or moving abroad? what to bring? Because when you're transporting from one country to another, you want to bring some familiarity with you or bring comforts to your new place. And it has to be pretty tough. Is there other challenges that these international clients seem to face, when they go through this process?
Amy Spiegel: 10:22
Many of the challenges, I find, I actually run a full service business for my clients. Many times, they may come and look at a place and apartment, condo, whatever they're purchasing, and then they leave, or they say, this is what I like, and then they're gone. And I take over, I go and check out the place again, I advise them if that's the place they should buy. I advise them how I think they would fit in that space, the things they've shown me. So I start from there. I also talk to them, a lot of people get overwhelmed coming home. There's a lot of legality and paperwork going into moving, especially interested in Manhattan, into a building in Manhattan. So I take over, I take over everything. I will go and sit-in on your closing, I will ease your mind, I help you understand, I take over the agreements, all your agreements, anything you have to deal with. They don't have to think about it. So what's wonderful is we converse on Zoom or FaceTime, I send them my design ideas, we talk further about what they're purchasing, because many people before they leave, have ideas of things they always wanted. And they see it in their new space. And then they leave and they come back probably in nine months, because that's pretty much their situation. And they turn the key, they walk in, and their home is completely done. I order all their dishes, sheets, towels, I basically complete their whole lifestyle. That's kind of what I did in fashion, in the fashion office is kind of a lifestyle. So I complete that, they turn the key, they have their favorite coffee and milk in their house and it’s ready to go. That's what I do to help them and because time differences are difficult, you know, the time differences are tough. There's kids in school that have to settle. So I've taken it upon myself to do it. I actually love a little bit of the control, I’m not gonna lie. And it is a fun project. And I have to say when they walk in the home, it's like, “Wow, you really got me.” or “Wow, you made me step outside the box, you really did, you made me think.” I had a client in New York and she is so in love with her apartment. And when she walks through it, it reflects her. And you can just tell it's so comfortable. So I'm not a designer that's sitting there saying you have to do my design. I'm a designer that listens to my clients, pushes them outside the box, pushes them outside their comfort level, get them to go to the next level, but also honoring that they need to live in the space, it's their home. So I want them to be comfortable. And again, moving home is a huge transition. So you want a place that you can come home to and again makes you feel comfortable for the life you had because there's days when you move back, you don't have your friend group, you know, you're going through a whole new thing. So it's nice to come back to that and have books and beautiful furniture that you've collected or furniture that we built and made it look stunning for you. So we mix a lot of Western and Asian furniture.
Grace Mase: 13:28
That's incredible. I mean I can imagine, just the craziness that goes through that transition period of time and how hectic it is. All the multiple moving parts and there’s decisions need to be made, just like you mentioned, paperwork needs to be filled out and all that. And, let alone trying to get the place ready when you step off, step off the plane and come home and the concept of coming home is such an emotional state after being away nine months or longer period of time. Or vice versa going to another country and what coming home to them means, how do you bring that peace of joy from your original home into this new home? And that got to be incredible and for you to be able to take on all the chaos and just bring them in and just bring the serenity and the peacefulness of just saying, “I got you.”
Amy Spiegel: 14:19
I actually love project managing. I really do. I love designing but the project management is everything that I imagined coming out and so I can see it all being done and it's done the way I want it. That's so the way I envisioned it.
Grace Mase: 14:34
Oftentimes, I agree with you, a lot of people don't think about the process or project management is certainly not sexy. It's behind the scenes. When you see when the project goes smoothly, that's when you know, there's good planning, good project management. You get to that result. Anything with a massive project you have to break down to smaller components and one task at a time to work it through and then you finish at the end. Having all that together, being able to systematically help your client map through is almost like going on a road trip. You have to know where you're going. You got your roadmap or navigation. And you know all the plans, that you're going to stop here to rest up, or get something to eat. All that is part of planning. It is project management.
Amy Spiegel: 15:19
Yeah, it is actually, who doesn't love design, that's an interior designer? I think, to me, that's the most exciting thing. It's like almost giving birth. I was just working on a project here in California. And I had it all in my head. It was sitting there and sitting there. And this is for a client that lives in Beijing. So they're not on the property right now. I am just taking over. There's just me doing the whole thing. And the design is like giving birth. So now you put it out there. You wait. But now I love the project management part. I really do. I am not a fan of the financial part.
Grace Mase: 15:57
It’s almost like, for you as a designer, you are able to create that vision, like get from vision to completion, to reality. That's hard work. But it's so needed. If you have that mapped out completely, the satisfaction of the end, seeing your clients face and just the excitement and for you to be able to experience walking through how you're able to interpret their life into the meaningful way, that matters to them personally.
Amy Spiegel: 16:23
Absolutely. So one of the other things that I really enjoy is when I have a client that has multiple properties, right, I like to almost treat whatever property I'm designing for them as if it's not based basically their primary residence, I like to treat it like I'm designing a boutique hotel. Because people with multiple properties, they travel frequently. But it's fun to go to a home that reflects that city you're living in or the beach you'll have your second home at. It’s a vacation. And it's kind of fun. That's the one place where you can get away with being a bit more daring, you don't need all the creature comforts that you need in a home that has a family or your everyday residence. So I find those to be really fun. And I love going back to what I learned in Japan for that from this designer I worked for. She's very talented, you know, even in Japan, as simplistic as the design is. It's also very complicated. There's a lot that goes underneath the design in Japan, it takes a lot to create minimalism. I wouldn't say that that's exactly how I design but I can design anything because I have done minimalism. But it takes a lot to go there. So it is kind of fun when you can reimagine like a reinterpret a home, that's a vacation home, and maybe think outside the box a bit. It's always fun to work with a client like that. And I enjoy it.
Grace Mase: 17:43
When you were describing this reminds me of a quote from, paraphrasing this, Mark Twain. If I have more time, I'll write you a shorter letter. And that's what really comes down to is to create something simple and elegant. It takes a lot of effort to really get down to it and to really eliminate all the noise and to bring this simplicity, the essence of what this purpose is. And the fact that you had that experience of designing for hotels, and this is what we enjoy. I mean, I know we're not traveling as much these days, but the excitement of checking into a hotel, the moment you, the process of getting into your room, and when the door opens, seeing the comfort of the bed and seeing how it’s decorated. Just every little thing, even the restrooms, the bathroom, how it is laid out.
Amy Spiegel: 18:31
And the lobby! The lobbies are so fantastical in some places, as simple as they can be. They're so fun. When you walk into any lobby honestly, in hotels, it takes me away, it transports me. It really does. I feel we've always as a family, we walk into wherever we're gone. And the hotel just like, we let out a big sigh. It's like this is different. We don't live in this environment. That hotel design incorporated into home design, it can be very fun and a little warm. And you can take a room and make it whimsical. I love doing half baths or guest bathrooms or powder rooms because that's where I can really have fun. And a lot of other designers feel that way. It's interesting working with expats. The other thing is, it's a long process, because most of them find out they're moving home in September, and they're not really coming back until June, July, August. So when you have to hold up, you do the design, you're working on the design, you do the install. So you have the proper stuff in the home, you painted, you have everything but you have to wait like a month or six weeks until other items arrive from wherever they're coming from. Be it Tokyo, Hong Kong, or London, or wherever. And so you have this lag time. So there is quite a lag time in between. So I will say to clients from an international perspective they get a little antsy because they feel like everyone forgot about them, but they're living and they're moving. So when you're starting to move, you're already thinking of your next step, it's easy to just start moving. But as far as design is concerned, we have to wait to close on your property, then we implement and do the design. And it's a longer process, I put a lot of time and energy and I have to actually hold a lot of hands. It's a lot of hand holding, when you have clients who don't live in the country, particularly.
Grace Mase: 20:27
I can imagine for what you mentioned, the emotional state when they've been informed, ‘hey, you have to leave the country.’ And you've been informed in September, you're not leaving till June or next year. And that the moment of the shock, and then there's reality, “Oh, oh, my God, I have so much to do. And overwhelmingly they immediately ask. Like, what oh, my God, I don't know what to start and have you kind of be there and just map out all the pieces and let them know. Maybe for them, their emotions intensify. Right? And you're able to say, “Take a breath. Let's go through this one by one.”
Amy Spiegel: 21:03
I do think that my experience, it helps that, right? Especially now when projects are finishing, because they are moving home. They're facing a change of life, like a change in their lifestyle. They're just having so many, like their children are starting new schools, or they're empty nesters, or they're only going to visit the property three times a year. And you know, all of these things that you go through, and I'm kind of a whisperer for them. I know what it's like. I have the experience, I've dealt with kids adjusting to different schools, country situations. So, I think that there's a lot of emotion at play. So I think you set aside your ego. And you just empathize deeply with my client about that.
Grace Mase: 21:52
And for them to be able to relate with you because they know you’ve been through it.
Amy Spiegel: 21:56
That's actually interesting. Several people have said that, to me, other people have been expats. It's kind of a secret club, sometimes being an expat. It's funny how you gravitate towards people that have had similar experiences. So in life, in general you do. But particularly in this situation. Being an interior designer, in this realm, I had an amazing business coach, who told me I needed to pick my niche. And my niche was so easy for me to pick because this is my community. That is so important. Like if you think this is the business you want to go into, if you think you want to do international design, think about what your experience is right? Or, maybe you're doing transitions in life, and it could end up being people coming over from overseas, but it could be right in your own community. And you can offer what you've experienced. So that makes your relationship with a client much more interesting. It’s more personal.
Grace Mase: 23:01
It’s no longer just a transaction, I know you want this property to be designed in a certain style. It is very much about relationships. And when you can empathize with the other person what they're going through, the stress or emotional rollercoaster that they're trying to navigate. And being able to just go grab their hand and say I got you and let me help you navigate through this so we'll make through. I can just imagine all the chaos and noise in their head just kind of all come down.
Amy Spiegel: 23:32
You have to be prepared for WhatsApp in the middle of the night right? And stress and 100 photos. You have to be prepared for that but you also right now I'm working on New York time in the morning LA time during the day and Hong Kong time at night. So when I get a break I sit on the sofa for a little bit because I know Hong Kong is going to be contacting me. So probably around five or six I'll get a call from Hong Kong or text from them. But that's where your program comes into play.
Grace Mase: 24:03
Exactly this is what we have a lot of homeowners and pros when they are working, you know in different time zones, collaborating together. I have many years of experience working abroad, working with colleagues abroad, from Europe to Asia. You need to be adjusting like at nighttime, this time we'll be working with the folks over in Europe and further later in the evening, that's my Asia calls and the morning, like you say, that East Coast and then continue on to California time or Pacific Time. So you continue to work those on a 24 hour cycle. But what's great about, it’s how we use technology over time. It really shortened the distance of how we interact with each other and bring the world a little bit closer and add a little bit more of that human touch that we desperately need. And that's how all the trust is built on. You've been there for them when they need you. And you're listening to them the way they want to be heard. And you're definitely getting the information that they want desperately to hold on to. And all that is what makes it unique about what the service you provide because you acknowledge they matter. And what they're going through matters. It’s important.
Amy Spiegel: 25:21
It does matter. I think the one thing I'm excited about working with your program, I love that it's in real-time, because my clients overseas or in New York, I can send things off to them, they might be asleep, they might wake up, they see it, it's done. It doesn't come in the form of beep, beep, beep, bing, bing, bing, WhatsApp, it, it's very clean and clear for them. And I think that is a great process for somebody working with many different time zones.
Grace Mase: 25:54
Thank you. And this is the other thing, just like you're providing your clients peace of mind, we want to provide you and your clients peace of mind. Ultimately, when everyone's calm, and they're able to focus and really dealing with all the moving parts, because there's a lot of them and be able to just say, Alright, I got this. Yes, we will make it through. And we're catching all the moving, all those decisions or discussions in that one place. We have one central location or repository of truth and a source of truth. So that way, you can always be on the same page versus there was the email, there was a WhatsApp message and there's this and that, that becomes chaotic,to.
Amy Spiegel: 26:34
It’s very chaotic, and, people want to see what's happening. So it's good. Some clients of mine, honestly, they like to see it in one bulk. And then they're pretty much done. And I send them things, items over. I actually, for the first time have hired assistants. So I've wanted Hong Kong, I've hired a virtual assistant for my work here, to build my business here, because this is what I'm working towards, it is to build this business, but also to help people that are moving into the California, LA area from overseas. To help them understand that I can do this for them, that I am, this is what I want to do. And then I have somebody who's on the ground for me in New York. That is dealing with My New York project now. So that was hard to give up control because I like control.
Grace Mase: 27:24
Well you want to see the final vision. So I know that it's hard, but it's good to have people on the street. You need them there to take care of every micro little task that needs to be taken care of, if you don't take care of them it can pile up. It's gonna be crazy and then becomes messy to deal with.
Amy Spiegel: 27:45
You need somebody there, you know, you need a second set of eyes on what's happening with the project. Exactly.
Grace Mase: 27:50
So it's interesting, you mentioned that COVID because some of your clients are moving back and some are moving. And I know just with today's real estate market, people realize I can work for a home, I can be anywhere. So there's definitely going to be a lot moving parts in this whole life post COVID. In terms of collaboration, what do you see it will be happening with all your international clients and expats?
Amy Spiegel: 28:15
Right now, everybody's kind of trapped. One of the things that is difficult with COVID is I can't fly. So I was supposed to go to Hong Kong to work on another project, I can't really get to New York right now. So that is a bit difficult. But thank God for Zoom. And thank God because I'm kind of used to working in this where we don't see each other. I'm kind of used to working in this kind of space. I know from people I've discussed that there is a real need to start bringing back offices that are delineated from the home. I think that you'll find this great open concept is wonderful, but I think particularly in office design, I know people are talking about this, office design in the home. I know many people who have children sitting at the table, while Mom’s outside, and they're on the phone and everyone's loud because of this big open space there. I know you will find people that are going to redistribute their space, they're going to think how am I going to delineate this space and give myself some much needed space. I do believe you'll find more people building, possibly on the property they have a separate unit and a place where they will be able to go in and do their work and COVID has been terrible, but the silver lining is, there's particularly in New York area, nobody's really commuting. So many people have gained almost three hours of time in their life. But they definitely need a break from each other. And I see that that's really going to be the change. Everything that we've experienced Hong Kong has experienced since January. And their homes are so much smaller. So not particularly expat community. But still, when you have two people working from home and someone's trying to teach and it was, it was a problem in Hong Kong to this big open floor plan, which is wonderful until you have to divide up the space and give people some room. And I think that you will see more people doing that. I think you'll see more people breaking up the rooms where I know everybody says I want an open floor plan, I want an open floor plan, which is nice between the kitchen and the living room. And that lofty feeling is nice, but at the same time, we need to think about space and sound and your pieces. Like if you buy a big open space, you limit your way to design. You limit hanging art, you limit bringing back some of your favorite items, oversized furniture. And going back to design with Asia, one of the things I caution a lot of my clients is that, we don't want you to go home and feel like you lived in a nation bazaar. So when buying a space, thinking about where you're going to put things. So that really fits in with the design. So COVID, it's going to be interesting for my clients, their life, you know, they're doing what everyone else is doing. It hasn't really affected them right now. I mean, it's affected them in the way it's affected all of us.
Grace Mase: 31:13
Yeah, I love what you describe. I mean, now think post COVID, people are more conscious. And I think from a design perspective. I love how you're talking about being more intentional about what you bring home. And being intentional how you create your space, and how you use this space. And just like you mentioned, we already saw this on our platform, the type of project coming through, the home office is now converting or existing charges. They're adding additional units or ADUs here in California. Just having additional units that were converted to a home office or home gym. It’s now they are realizing you have kids, you have spouses working in the other room, the noise levels increased significantly. We used to spend maybe 14-15 hours at home at most, where you sleep, you eat and that's about it, you're the rest of the time, you're out and about. Schooling, working. And for the first time in a long period of time, we actually are in the same room for you know, 24 hours a day. I think that, you know, things definitely can get to you. Having that space, like you mentioned, the open space was great for a long period of time and that makes sense when you only have limited time. It would be nice to see everyone now, you’re 24 hours together, you kind of need that privacy just separating you.
Amy Spiegel: 32:33
Just you know, taking a conference call and the middle of a cavernous open space is the whole house here. I heard about so many men and women I know, they are pacing the garden. Thank goodness it's warm here. They pace the garden and do their conversations. It is gonna be an interesting way to see it. I am getting a lot of calls from friends and you know, some other people, clients, their kitchens are not working now or their bathrooms are not working. Because everyone in the family is home, kids from college or you know children, who worked or lived in Manhattan and then they closed they might as well come home. Because you can't socially distance yourself in a very small apartment and work from home with four other students or four other new graduates. So I get a lot of calls and questions and we're doing this and we're doing that and they've taken advantage of the refinancing right now.
Grace Mase: 33:36
Mortgage rates are low and one funny note, as you're describing pacing back in the garden, we have definitely done that a few times. Just kind of like, I need to clear my head. But we also have neighbors and they have young children and you can hear the screaming and they're having fun and rightfully so. They had just as equal rights as we all do. I start laughing. And one time I was on the call, and of course it with the headphones on I don't hear a whole lot, but then my colleague will be saying, “Are there a bunch of kids? I know you don't have young kids.” I was like oh yeah, my other co-workers.
Amy Spiegel: 34:10
I like that. I'm gonna use that.
Grace Mase: 34:12
My other co-workers. Let me step inside.
Amy Spiegel: 34:16
I like that. I think that's a good way to put it. I actually think there's so much more noise just in general because there's not a lot of ambient noise or you know, white noise out there. So things seem you hear the birds which is lovely.
Right, for the first time we hear a lot more birds chirping, which is great.
Amy Spiegel: 34:33
I do like that. It's nice to wake up to the birds chirping
Grace Mase: 34:36
Absolutely. But then when you're trying to be on the calls it’s like “What? I wasn't getting that. There was a bird chirping in the back.” Right?
Amy Spiegel: 34:43
It's true. And you when you're doing these calls and you're on the phone with people and then they hear everything going by you're home and you're like, “Oh, you know you're trying to cover your ears”
Grace Mase: 34:53
Or your deliveries arrive, like “hold on”. I actually just finished a call earlier. My colleague was like, “Oh, we got a grocery called, got to go”. It’s a lot different kind of working style. And fortunately, I think people are very conscious and empathetic about the situation we're all in. And to be more mindful about things, which is great. But it is a shift in terms of lifestyle, how we all operate, going forward and engaging, absolutely professional environment. And also on the personal side, where you spend a lot of time at home.
Amy Spiegel: 35:27
I actually, when COVID hit, I thought this is it. This grand plan of mine to really barrel myself out as this niche designer, which is what I do. I had this great plan that I was going to go to Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong, trying to get into all these groups and do this big talk about moving home, and how do you handle it and design and all what we're discussing today, London, and then COVID hit. And I was like, Oh, goodness, that plan might go out the window. But now I'm realizing, it does not. It could be the best thing because of the project management side of my business. And what I've constantly done for clients, they're not really here. So I get to deal with their properties.
Grace Mase: 36:11
If not, they need you more than ever, because now they’re in the process, finding ways to get back home. And this is a lifestyle. I mean, until we find some sort of cure. Otherwise, the vaccines are not available, we're still in the same kind of situation. Everyone's looking at ways to go back home, and in a safe way. They'll have you there holding their hand to, you know, get them home. It's so critical.
Amy Spiegel: 36:42
I love it. I do, do love it. There are moments where I'm thinking I'm insane. But particularly at the end, you know, when you're buying all the little pieces that you need for an outfit like a bathroom. And all those amenities that you kind of pushed to the backburner, and then you're like, “Oops, I got to do that to get myself to Bloomingdale's,” or wherever I'm getting these things for them. But yeah, it's actually, it's a good niche. I'm thrilled to work with clients like this. Yeah, I get to work with, you know, I don't do a ton of jobs a year, obviously, with the amount of work that goes into each job. That is okay, though, like, I know, with what I'm doing now, with these jobs, I have a lot of time in between, as I said, because once you do the front end, the back end, the middle is kind of quiet. So right now I'm actually pulling in some smaller jobs around here,
Grace Mase: 37:37
Lightning round and any books would you recommend for any expats in the process or transitioning back home?
Amy Spiegel: 37:45
No, I don't. I don't really recommend that to my clients. I don't. I think it's just a lot of communication. For me, it's a conversation. A book is great. But it's really knowing what other people experience. And there's checklists out, absolutely, there are tons of checklists, you need to know. You need to have a good lawyer, if you're purchasing a home here, if you're purchasing a condo. You need to have all that in order. I don't do that. That's their side of the business. But I'm willing to always help them and sit in on meetings just to get a second set of eyes on it. But I really believe in this space that I'm in. It's more about the conversation. It’s the one on one. It's the relationship. It's connecting with other experts that have been through similar experiences. Knowing what it's like to move, and understand it. What are you going back to what? What do you love? Art is one of my favorite things. So I really enjoy curating somebody's art collection before they move home. You know, you start to map out where are you putting this? Putting that? So my conversations with them tend to be along that line and also personal experiences of moving home. I feel like one on one. It's much better. I do. I have not really recommended a book out there. There could be one, but I've never had anyone hand me one. In all those years. So I guess I just say the community's quite strong.
Grace Mase: 39:07
Well, maybe you're the one who should be writing a book.
Amy Spiegel: 39:09
Maybe I should. That’s a good idea.
Grace Mase: 39:12
Well, Amy, I can talk to you all day because I know you have so many great stories and I love listening to you. And you provide so many helpful hints or information, tips for people are in the process or considering or planning for as they transition back to their final home or next home. And so this like you said, this is not just for international, this is also for domestic. Hearing, you know, anytime when they're moving. What does that mean? What piece of it do you bring from your current home to the next home? What piece of it brings you joy that you can interpret this into your new lifestyle and transition this next set of chapters.
Amy Spiegel: 39:55
I'm all for living a well designed life. And actually always tell your story, it's important. Your story. Tell it. You have a story to tell?
Grace Mase: 40:05
Because you matter.
Amy Spiegel: 40:06
Thank you. Yes. Well, also because you, you travel. Anyway, thank you so much Grace, I really like this. And I'm so excited to work with you going forward and it’s really a great place to be in Los Angeles. So, again, I love the multicultural background here. And we're going to be a great place for the business here.
Grace Mase: 40:25
It is, and we're here to support you, we're really excited that you're here. And you definitely brought a lot of experiences and a lot of different perspectives. Oftentimes we oversee them and this is so needed. It is like you said, it's multicultural. This is the salad bar of interesting, fascinating people.
Amy Spiegel: 40:45
That’s a great way to put it! I like that.
Grace Mase: 40:47
Right for them to actually highlight what their specialties are. And for them to highlight their stories and celebrate their stories and celebrate the past and all the points they've experienced as they travel through the world. This has been so much fun. And thank you all for listening to this episode of Revivify Podcast, where we spoke with Amy Spiegel of Spiegel Interiors. And I hope you enjoyed listening to her ways of looking at transitioning to a new life. Telling the stories interpreting your life. I encourage you to reach out and what's the best way for people to get in touch with you, Amy?
Amy Spiegel: 41:22
Well, they can email me at Amy@AmySpiegel.com if you email me, we can chat or you can check me out on Instagram. My Instagram is, I have two, @amyspiegel1 which is more arts and history and travel driven. And then I've got @amyspiegelinteriors and that is a bit more like interiors that I've done and things that inspire me. So reach out to me that way. It'll be fantastic. Just to chat, it’ll be fun. I want to hear about all of what you're working on.
Grace Mase: 41:52
That's awesome. Thank you so much, Amy.
Amy Spiegel: 41:54
Thank you so much Grace. I really enjoyed it.
Grace Mase: 41:57
And thanks again for listening and we'll see you next time.