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Meet Ruthie Malak of Whit + Whims Interiors in San Diego – University Heights

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ruthie Malak.

Ruthie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My love for Interior Design began as a little girl rearranging my room. I loved the feeling of creating a new space with just the arrangement of furniture. It always felt clean, fresh and inviting making an old space have new life again.

As I got older, I spent countless hours refinishing furniture and wandering through thrift stores. I love seeing the beauty in things that people no longer felt they needed or just giving new life to my own items. When I moved to San Diego to be with my then boyfriend (my now husband), I decided to go back to school to pursue my passion. Design. I enrolled at Mesa College then was accepted into San Diego State’s Art program. While finishing up my last semester at SDSU, I found an internship in the Summer of 2016 with a local Home Staging Company, Everything Creative Designs, I fell in love with the quick turn around of design. We would go over photos of the home, make a plan, go in, rearrange the space, delete items, add in items and voila! The space was fresh, new and ready to sell. It was here I met my now business partner Whitney Parrott. We worked well together and we quickly learned that not only did our designs complimented each other but our work ethic did as well. In December 2016, I graduated from SDSU with a degree in Interior Design and was hired by Everything Creative Designs. I quickly moved from the Design Assistant to Lead Designer to Lead Designer/Interior Designer.

In June 2017, my husband and I welcomed our baby girl, Mabel into the world, I went back to work part-time but after a year of juggling both work and baby, I decided to part ways with ECD and focus on my little one. When Whitney who became one of my now best friends decided it was time for a new adventure in her life, we decided to test out the waters and put all of our creative energy together and knowing that we had gained and created Whit + Whims Interiors.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The creation of Whit + Whims Interiors has been a surprisingly smooth road. With no background in business, the biggest challenge we have faced was the unknown. Unsure of what the path ahead might look like we let our type A personalities lead us as we pushed through the glass ceiling and our own fears to let things fall into place.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Whit + Whims Interiors – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Whit + Whims Interiors is a full-service Property Consulting and Styling company. We work with real estate agents and homeowners to help prepare lived-in properties for the marketplace. During our consultations, we give concrete ideas and suggestions. We touch on everything from improving curb appeal to new paint color to furniture layout], that homeowners can take and complete on their own. From here, we create a custom package that details items that need to be purchased to finish off space. At Whit + Whims, we believe it’s the little things that make the biggest impact. So, we suggest things like pillows, artwork, accessories, and lamps. We shop it for the client or guide the client to shop it themselves providing them with everything they need to know. After either Whit + WHims purchases, the items for the client or the client purchases the items themselves Whit + Whims goes back to complete the Property Styling phase. We rearrange furniture, rehang artwork, re-accessorize and add in the new items. The transformations have been amazing so far and we can’t wait to complete more projects.

This model is different from others because we believe we can use the majority of the client’s pieces to create a beautiful space without the headache and hassle. Traditional staging companies have the ability to remove most of the clients’ furniture and bring in used staging furniture whereas we have the luxury of shopping for specific items for each project. We aren’t choosing what is available to us from a pile of generic inventory. We are going out and finding pieces that will work perfectly with the clients’ existing furnishings. The client then owns the pieces, so there isn’t a rental fee that is owed each month, typical with a traditional ‘staging’ company. And they can take them with them to their new home, We believe we can transform any space by simply purchasing the ‘little things.’

As a business owner, I am most proud of our client experience. Because this can be a stressful time for homeowners, we really focus on holding their hand and making the process as effortless as possible for them. Our ability to do this, coupled with the art of reimagining a space with existing items, is pretty special to me.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Right now, Whit + Whims is falling into its own groove and path. We are not anticipating any big changes at the moment but we look forward to what the future holds and the possibility of expanding our team. If Whit + Whims continues to be as successful as we have been in this first month we will be looking for a storefront, design assistants and installers.

Pricing:

  • Market Ready Consultation $250
  • Property Styling starting at $500
  • Shopping/ Sourcing $100/hr

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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