Staff Spotlight: Kristina Odell

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What is your role at McBride?

I’m an Interior Designer, which typically involves anything from space planning, finish selections, FF&E specifications, coordination calls, shop drawings and site visits. I love what I do because it’s the perfect combination of my fun creative side with my technical problem solving side!

Where are you based?

I’m based in South Loop, Chicago. I’ve only lived here for 2 years but I’m loving it so far! It’s close enough to all the city amenities, like the lakefront trail, museums, amazing restaurants but can also be quiet and residential at the same time.

You’ve lived all over? Why have you moved and what has been your favorite place to live?

I ask myself this question all the time haha. Crazy to think that I’ve lived in 9 different states since I moved here from Thailand over 14 years ago! Since my family is still in Thailand I don’t have strong roots here in the states. Combining that with my love to travel, it made it easy to pick up and move anytime I wanted to explore a different city.

Hmmm choosing a favorite is difficult, but I would probably have to say Seattle! The city is fun & vibrant and close to so many amazing hikes, the Olympic peninsula and so many beautiful glacial lakes. We lived there for about 2 years and spent every other weekend hiking and exploring the PNW! Below is an image from Jade Lake, a crazy 20 mile hike, but SO worth it!

What does a typical day look like for you?

I typically wake up around 6.30, take my dog Luna out for a walk, and have breakfast with my husband before he leaves for work. I start work around 8, the mornings are my most productive and creative hours so I try to prioritize and tackle any big projects then. Sometimes I take a quick mid-day break and walk Luna for 15-20 mins. It usually helps clear my head and come back with fresh eyes. I usually wrap up work around 5.30pm and start prepping dinner. After dinner, we might meet a couple friends at the dog park or during the summer we’re on a few volleyball and softball social leagues. I start winding down around 9ish and watch a show or two before heading to bed.

What is your favorite project you have worked on?

I would say One Particular Harbour, it’s a new hotel brand within the Margaritaville resort umbrella. My background is in hospitality so designing hotels comes most naturally to me. This specific project was the perfect combo of beachy vibes and nautical elegance. It’s sophisticated with a touch of fun and playful details!

How did you get into the industry?

I’ve always had a passion for design and knew I wanted to be in a creative field. I initially started in fashion, but quickly realized I was more interested with the interior design world. Space planning is like a puzzle to me, I love the programming aspect and creating an efficient design. I also love how the design of a space, it’s material qualities, and the lighting can all affect our well-being. That’s when I decided I wanted to help influence our built environment through design.

What’s the coolest (or most important) trend you see today?

Hmmm…I would have to say indoor/outdoor integration. Not sure if this is still considered a trend but I’m a huge fan of blending the two spaces. We spend so much time inside and don’t always get to enjoy fresh air or sunlight. Bringing the outdoor in by adding internal courtyards, greenery, or introducing larger openings to completely open up the space has really helped to blur the lines between the two spaces.

What inspires you outside of work? Do you have any other creative outlets?

I LOVE to travel and always find inspiration while traveling, whether it’s architecture, the culture, art or local cuisine. Traveling helps me see things from a different perspective, every culture does things a little differently and it helps remind me to be more open-minded.

Traveling also led me to an interest in photography. People would ask about my trips, and I could never truly express or describe it in words. Being more of a visual person, I find it much easier to share by capturing the places through photography.

When you have 30 minutes of free-time, how do you pass the time?

If I’m not playing with my dog, I’m probably coming up with a new list of condo updates to work on. The curse of being married to another designer is we continuously find things to fix or update around the house. Since we’re both big DIYers we tend to try to fix it up ourselves. Our condo is a work in progress!

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

I would love to learn calligraphy. I know it sounds simple, but I guess I’ve never had the time to learn it. Watching someone write calligraphy is so therapeutic and peaceful; I could watch it all day!

What are you currently binge watching or what movie have you seen recently?

Oooo…movies are hard for me to commit to, but I do love TV shows. I just finished watching Schitt’s Creek. It’s amazing and so hard not to binge watch! The writing is just so witty and funny. It’s surprisingly heartwarming, where you find yourself laughing and crying at the same time (especially towards the end). I highly recommend it!

What are your top three favorite books?

Hmmm not sure if I can think of top 3 all-time favorite, but these are my top 3 purchases this year:

- Wild Interiors – It’s about beautiful plants and spaces. Lots of great images, and such a fun vibrant book for inspiration and to add to our coffee table collection.

- Love & Lemons Everyday – We tried going vegan this year, it only lasted a few months lol, now we just try to cook more plant-based meals. This book has introduced us to a ton of new interesting recipes!

- Lean in – I try to read one ‘self-help’ book a year. This has been a best seller for a while. Very inspirational about women in the workplace and achieving a healthy work/life balance.

You’re happiest when?

When it’s 75 degrees and sunny and I’m spending time outdoors with friends and family!