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Meet Anna-Marie Claassen of Anthology Interiors in Orange County

Today we’d like to introduce you to Anna-Marie Claassen.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Anna-Marie. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
11 years ago I graduated from design school (a second career after public relations). After learning the ropes working a few years for some very established OC designers, I began my own business nearly 7 years ago and have juggled it from scratch around raising two growing boys (now 8 and 10 years old) and our busy lives. Up until about 3 years ago, my business was fairly part-time and straight word-of-mouth and honestly mostly friends and friends-of-friends.

Two years ago I could finally manage to focus on the business full-time and it just blew up! I’ve been recently covered in publications like Modern Luxury Interiors and Coast Magazine. My focus on being a family- and user-friendly designer has really helped as I have a lot of clients with children, or pets, or truly busy lives who need a focus on functionality as well as great design.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It’s cliché but the hardest part of this business is not the design or clients, it’s the constant juggle of running a business as a working mother. My husband is a great dad but busy attorney so the brunt of the day-to-day parenting falls to me. I have childcare help and my kids are in school full-time but there is still the constant stress of scheduling, trying to attend the important events (and these days most kid events seem to have some importance), making sure everyone has everything they need, making sure there are meals on the table, etc.

All while running a busy business. So many women do it all beautifully but I still struggle and feel guilty or insufficient as so many of us do! I think this reality has really improved my efficiency in getting projects complete, streamlining processes, and also understanding my clients’ own precious time whether or not they have children. I wouldn’t do it any other way and am very grateful for both my fulfilling career and my wonderful family life.

Please tell us about Anthology Interiors.
In a nutshell, we at Anthology Interiors help our clients make decisions! Everyone is bombarded with far too many life decisions as it is (there’s a reason it’s called “Decision Fatigue”, and our goal here at Anthology is to make decision-heavy projects such as new home builds, remodels and makeovers as smooth, stress-free and fun as possible while resulting in homes that are perfect for our clients.

My style is client-driven and varies by project, but always on the modern side of things from transitional to contemporary. I like to mix it up in my projects and our designs tend to stand out from the crowd. More important than great style is creating the ultimate functionality for each client: the home is their personal space, and I design it personally for their needs. There is nothing that makes me more proud than getting feedback from clients who say: “This feels just like home!”

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My fondest memories are with my mother, who sadly passed away 20 years ago. She liked beautiful things, she loved to travel, she loved food and drink, shopping, going to plays and events. I have inherited a love for all of that!

Once or twice a year she would take my sister and I into San Francisco from our modest home in the East Bay suburbs for a very girly shopping day and it was the most exciting thing to me. We’d shop together in Union Square, go to the downtown Nordstrom (I will always remember their curving escalators as the coolest things I’d ever seen), have a grown-up style meal or tea service somewhere, possibly catch a ballet or play and enjoy each other’s company.

Now my sister and I try to recreate that “girl’s day out” experience here in LA. We love to have a fancy tea and champagne service any time we get together kid-free for the day. It’s funny because I now have two boys who are not at all interested in shopping days – but on the flip side they are still young enough to enjoy a “mom date” at a sushi restaurant anytime I am offering! I try to grab those moments as often as I can because they are growing up so quickly.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Belle Amie Studios, Lane Dittoe

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