Employee Spotlight: Kristen Larkin, Principal and Interior Design Director

Meet Kristen Larkin, Principal and Interior Design Director. Kristen is a natural born teacher, imparting over two decades of experience in Interior Design and business to her team, aiming to inspire their growth. She encourages the design team to engage with the client from the project’s outset, fostering creativity, conversation, and decision making through a unique and fun approach to visioning. Currently, Kristen is involved in the initial stages of 330 W. Chestnut—a transit-oriented, multifamily new construction development in Chicago’s River North neighborhood—alongside several multifamily lobby and unit renovations, a few workplace reconfigurations, and is eager to attend the Grand Opening of The Artisan, a high-rise multifamily building in Cleveland’s popular University Circle neighborhood, slated for June 2023.

Always a calm and collected presence, one cannot help but attribute this to her many years of yoga and meditation practice which keeps her grounded despite her very demanding schedule. Kristen’s happy place is her family cottage on Higgins Lake in Michigan, built by her great grandfather in 1919. Trips to the lake every summer are a cherished tradition she now shares with her own family. This summer, they are venturing further afield as they plan an exciting trip to London and Paris.

Kristen feels “lucky to have such a wonderful place to work with incredible people. I enjoy not only our time working in the office, but also out having fun at events and giving back through our volunteering activities.” Kristen, the feeling is mutual!

What does Kristen like to do for fun? (Hint: see a clue in the photos.) Is she an adventuresome eater and what did she say she is bad at? Find out these answers and more in in today’s full Q&A linked below the images. We also invite you to get to know her further through her staff bio.

We took some time to get to know Kristen, and here is what we learned:

What do you enjoy doing for fun?
“For fun, I love spending time on or in the water, especially paddle boarding. On land, I turn to non-serious activities like ping-pong and putt-putt. I enjoy puzzles and board games with friends. I love playing Euchre and talking trash at the table! Games have been a passion of mine since childhood.” 

Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without?
“Chapstick and LaCroix. 

Who would play you in a movie about your life? 
“Claire Danes.” 

Who has influenced you most when it comes to how you approach your work? 
“My mentor and former business partner, Bonnie Smith, made me the designer and manager I am today. My Interior Design muse is French designer, Andree Putman.” 

Do you hit the snooze button or wake up immediately? 

Have you ever had a nickname? What is it? 
Not really, other than being called Krissy when I was little.” 

What is something—big or small—at which you are bad? 

What’s the biggest misconception people have about your position? 
“That Interior Design is more about decoration (paint color and pillows) than space planning and architecture.” 

How do you prefer to start and/or end your day? 
“I start my day with meditation, followed by coffee and watering my indoor plants, favorites include a large orchid, fig plant and air plants.” 

How do you express your creative side beyond work? 
“I love working with my hands and have tried a variety of crafts including wood working, welding, ceramics, weaving, quilting, jewelry making to name just a few!” 

What is the weirdest food you have ever eaten? 
“Kani Miso (Crab brain sushi) in Japan. 

What do you do to keep fit? 
Yoga and walking my dog. I have been practicing yoga and meditation for 20 years.