Free parking, free hot chocolate, three bathrooms and a spacious kitchen fool you into thinking you’re entering a friend’s house to play card games or watch movies. Cushioned lounge chairs, dimmed lights and artwork on the walls help ignite comfort and drain the worries stuck to your cold jacket.
But this place isn’t where you go to sit in leisure. It’s a new design studio called
While it looks and feels like a home, design materials hide in the drawers and are tucked neatly in baskets and in the community room’s material library, like most showrooms you’d see in River West or at the Merchandise Mart—but not in the Logan Square/Avondale area.
“The biggest inspiration here is collaboration, empowerment, and what can we do to better each other [so that] every business succeeds,” said Chelsey Jackel, interior designer
The design firm aims to be a one-of-a-kind hub that brings together all aspects of design and diverse background and skills: from contractors out on the job to professional designer needs to hosting design-centered events,
It officially opened Oct. 11 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a packed house that left the team eager to throw more events and get connected with independent designers in the community, many who work from home and do not have a stable office or networking group. That was one reason Jackel wanted to partner with Gary Dayan, the founder
The new space has large garage doors from its previous life, which used to be a truck repair shop and a scooter shop years ago. Dayan, the contractor-side of the business, kept part of the space as his building and construction area and the rest of it was converted to the reception and
The team has decades of collective experience providing marquee renovations for Chicagoland clients across a wide spectrum of residential and commercial buildings. Recently, they rehabbed a Logan Square apartment complex into a single-family home on Logan Boulevard.
Together, they created Power Partners, like-minded individuals who use the space and fuel on creative collaboration and want to build their business at the same time and find new projects. Dayan calls this partnership a social experiment, and it’s clear he likes working with others. The social aspect of the space and building professional relationships is one of the missions Xced sits on.
“Having designers who feel comfortable to use the space and also work with us and their work [is like] a social experiment,” Dayan said. “Now, they have all these resources here so why wouldn’t they try to work with the people in the same house? We hope by osmosis people can work here and they will say, ‘Hey, I need a contractor’. There is no obligation but we know that the people who will come work here want to work with us.”
Photos: Ariel Parrella-Aureli and Chelsey Jackel
Unlike typical coworking spaces, Power Partners can use the space for free. There is no monthly fee to be part of Xced’s design community because putting a monetary value on time might not be as conducive to creativity and inspiration, Dayan said. Jackel added that building those relationships with other designers is more important than charging them to use the space, especially since it’s always open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“We will be inspired in return—everyone has something to offer,” Dayan said.
Brittany Hinrichs, the marketing manager who is planning the events, said they will be industry-driven but focus on general topics that align with
“We have a lot of exciting things coming up in 2019,” Hinricks said. “Our first event is in February and we will be talking about social and emotional intelligence.”
Hinrichs said the events will be geared toward smaller groups that create an intimate setting so it’s easier for people to connect and network. She added that the company’s goal is to host one every other month for the whole year.
In the two months since opening, Jackel has seen an increased interest from people in
“The beautiful part about it is people are thrilled and we are getting calls to host more events,” Jackel said of the space. “It’s all here, you can have everything at your fingerprints and bounce ideas off of each other.”
Featured photo: The team cut the ribbon on the new design studio Oct. 11, after purchasing the building in February 2017. Photo: Bob Spoerl