31 Jan

National Creativity Month

How the Chambers Team Stays Inspired

January is National Creativity Month, and as an Architecture and Interior Design Firm, creativity is at the forefront of all that we do here at Chambers. But how does our team keep their creative juices flowing 365 days of the year? We’re happy to answer! We gathered a list of activities pulled together by the creators, makers, and doers here at Chambers, highlighting a variety of ways we stay inspired year-round.  We hope you read something that may help inspire your own creativity, too!



Fresh air does wonders for the mind, and sometimes all that’s needed is to get up from behind your desk and step outside to hit that refresh button. For Director of Interior Design—DC, Megan Hochman, and Director of Architecture, Lee Hyden, travel is at the top of their list when looking to do just that.

Visiting buildings of interest in local cities and around the world and photographing the great outdoors are both wonderful ways to immerse oneself in different cultures, architecture, and landscapes. Exploring the unknown is a great way to get inspired, and Mother Nature offers an abundance of color and texture to get those wheels turning.



It’s no surprise that most creatives in this industry are well versed in a variety of artistic arenas. And for Architects Kate Ashwill and Elenna Smith, crafting is their go-to outlet. “I enjoy doing all things crafty,” says Elenna. “One of my favorite things to do to keep my creativity sharp is to take what would be ‘trash’ and come up with a way to turn it into treasure.  Last year, I made several cedar pendant necklaces that were scraps from my brother’s home renovation project.”

Similarly, Kate’s interests lie in knitting and spinning. “I actually own a spinning wheel and I’m really excited to start playing around with dying my own yarn and spinning fiber,” says Kate. Meanwhile, Architect Chris Smith spends many nights and weekends handcrafting tile for his pottery and tile business run by him and his wife.  From sketching to pottery to all things DIY—arts and crafts are a terrific way to pull inspiration from different colors, fabrics, materials, and prints.



For many artists, there is something euphoric about sitting outdoors with a paintbrush in hand—and for Director of Creative Services, Lauren Gordon, this is exactly what’s needed after a busy work week. “Watercolor is my medium of choice and I enjoy painting landscapes the most. I enjoy going to parks in the spring and fall to capture my surroundings on canvas.” Nature supplies us with not only breathtaking views, but also colors that our mind alone could have never dreamt up. These colors, smells, and views infused with our own abstract perspectives help to create stunning work here at Chambers, and continue in our day-to-day hobbies. How lucky are we to have all of this creative influence right outside our front door?




That’s right—research! No matter your career level, it is always important to grow your knowledge base in order to continuously evolve with your craft. A great way to do this is by studying other artisans. Administrative Assistant Thalia Scagliola is an artist by trade and enjoys pulling inspiration from present day artists, as well as visiting contemporary galleries. Meanwhile, Interior Designer Auburn Chapman follows designers and style influencers on Instagram for a creativity boost. There is so much to learn from talented artists around the world.



It is said that music is one of the most effective ways to stimulate the brain. It has the power to both energize us while also rewarding the mind with a moment of rest. Interior Designer Nicole Chaco plays guitar when feeling spent.

Often times, much of our team can be found working diligently with headphones in, and feet tapping. Research has shown that ambient noise can, in fact, improve creativity, and it is common for many offices to play music throughout the day for this purpose. Whether you’re playing an instrument for a moment of leisure or listening to music to accelerate productivity, there is no question that music is beneficial when it comes time to recharge those creative juices.



There is no greater feeling than a happy client at the end of a project. Executive Vice President and Architect, Ryan Yakel, said it best when he stated, “although most clubs offer the same amenities, every club is truly unique and requires individual creative solutions to meet their needs. The greatest inspiration is watching members as they enjoy their new facilities.” It truly brings us such joy to see club staff and club members utilizing their club in ways they never did before. This pushes us to go above and beyond during the entire trajectory of each project—and after it all comes to fruition, we are delighted to say that many “clients” also turn into dear friends.



Residential Interior Designer, Steve Sutor, finds inspiration by volunteering his time as the head of the Flower Guild at his church. “I work with 15 members of the Guild where we do fresh flowers each week in the church and the chapel. It’s fun exploring the many aspects of arranging and the varied materials that can be used, from flowers to plants, from “weeds” to fruits and vegetables, branches, pods, and vines—how to condition them so that they last, and creating the varying shapes and types of arrangements. It really reflects what I do each day here at Chambers,” says Steve.



Moving from florals to motors; Chairman of the Board, Bob Hickman, is a car enthusiast whose inspiration stems from a passion for automobile design. “Design is all around us, all the time, and I usually find myself looking for ‘the line’—the flow of negative and positive space that often defines objects and even spaces. My ‘after hours’ passion happens to be automobiles. As a Porsche nut, I am drawn to every component that has been so thoughtfully conceived and executed on their cars. So while structures, interior architectural space divisions, furniture, and art excite me all the time—automobiles are my go-to when I need a refreshing break from our daily passion of architecture and interior design.” In fact, he isn’t the only car enthusiast in the bunch. Architectural Intern, Jessie Kraus, has always had a passion for antique cars and just recently purchased one of her own to restore.



Moments of inspiration can also be found in less obvious outlets, and often times a quick break from work can offer that ‘aha’ moment you were hoping for.  For instance, when Architect Colin Smith isn’t planning and developing structures at his desk, he can be found at home building Legos with his kids.

So, how does our team keep their creative juices flowing 365 days of the year? By staying passionate—through work and leisure, and by surrounding ourselves with the arts, in all of its many forms.  Find what hobby speaks to you and use it as a tool to help move you forward creatively.

We want to know, what do you do to stay inspired? Do you have a creative outlet? comment below!

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