By: Jan Engoren
During this time of quarantine, while we were all locked down, some people were making better use of their time than others. According to the BBC News, plastic surgeries were on the rise (plenty of time to recuperate) as were home decorating projects.
For Boca Raton resident, Tammy Wasserman, who relocated from Chicago two years ago this is the perfect time for a home design project. She is busy renovating and decorating her newly purchased home in Boca Pointe.
Wasserman, who says she likes to start with a blank slate, is changing up windows and floors, adding a bedroom and tearing down some walls.
“I like everything fresh and new,” she said.
To help with this on-going project, Wasserman enlisted the help of Jaime Galapo, founder and president of Galapo Group Design, based in Parkland, who has adapted her business model due to COVID-19 to include a Designer-On-Call service – one of three services she offers.
“It’s a virtual consultation – sort of a phone-a-friend consultation,” says Galapo, the mother of a six-year old daughter, who has spent more than a decade designing high-end residential interiors. “It’s great for anyone working on a project independently who may need some professional input.”
Galapo recently finished an interior design project on her own new home, part of which – her uber-modern dining room, what she calls “natural modern,” with its clean lines and minimalist aesthetic, was featured in the July issue of “Florida Design Magazine.”
An artist, who later attended the Art Institute in Fort Lauderdale for interior design says she has found her calling and her passion.
“Interior design allows me take my artist’s creativity and turn it into a career,” she says. “I’m good with space planning and mathematics – all elements of interior design. This is a perfect blend of my talents.”
Galapo began her career at the now defunct Home Depot Expo Design Center, where she became a specialist in high-end kitchen and bath design, and later went on to work at Allied Kitchen and Bath in Ft. Lauderdale.
“I couldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for all the years of experience I gained along the way,” she says.
“My clients inspire me,” she said. “And, I’m inspired by nature.”
She admires designers Nate Berkus and Kelly Whirstler, and like them makes use of texture, natural elements, including different types of wood, natural stone and earth tones.
What advice does she have for clients interesting in a complete redesign or just freshening up their space?
First, she says, get inspired. Browse Instagram, Houzz, and Pinterest for ideas; 2), start small and build momentum; and 3) work with what you have.
That’s how Roni Grossman, 39, owner of Elite Matchmaking started her interior design project. Old-school, she cut out design images from magazines and says she knew what she liked, but needed help putting it all together.
“I needed a captain to lead my ship,” she joked. She followed Galapo on Instagram and says, “I love her design work; it’s so up my alley.”
Galapo worked with what Grossman had, changing placement of furniture, adding design elements in surprising places and repainting her bathroom cabinets a matte black.
“Jamie has an incredible eye for design,” Grossman says.
“Using her Designer-On-Call service is the genius way to decorate, especially if you’re on a budget. You can get the designer look without the designer price tag.”
For Galapo, she says she’s most proud of taking that leap of faith to start up her own business and finds it rewarding.
“Making my clients happy, making them feel really good in their own space is a great feeling,” she says. “When I finish a project and see their excitement and happiness when they walk through the door, that’s the best feeling for me.”
“Knowing I get to do that for someone makes me happy.”