This lady is definitely dear… a dear friend, lady, Momma and designer - I love everything she does and it’s time for an introduction!
Meet Diane Rath the visionary behind The Rath Project. She never intended to pursue design as a career; she studied English and Pre-Law but, thankfully for us she did!
DR:”Having an English major actually got me started as a learning specialist. I began working in a learning center immediately after college, focusing on techniques that helped children and adults with learning challenges - Dyslexia, Auditory Processing Disorder, Executive Functioning Skills and eventually branched out on my own adding clients who also had behavioral challenges - Autism, ADD, ADHD… My practice quickly grew (I loved every single minute of it) and before I knew it, I was almost 10 years into my career.”
Look at Dian’s family room her attention to detail - the color and pattern play!
Here are some more facts about this riotous red-head! She’s 35, married to Niles, they have a son Balthazar who just turned 4, another baby boy due in July and live in Fairfield, CT. by way of Manhattan. DR:” I grew up in upstate NY but, always wanted to start my adult life in the city, as so many young dreamers do!”
How did you get into Design?
DR: “I officially got into design when we decided to move out of the city - just after Zar was born. I knew that it was time for me to take my passion and turn it into my newest venture and why not take all the risks at once! New baby, New house, New state, New business! Until then, I had helped friends who liked my aesthetic and I remodeled our own homes: a condo we flipped in Bronxville and our Catskills get-away which was our escape while living in busy NYC - we also rented it out on Home Away and VRBO and everyone loved the decor. I had decorated all of our rentals - when you live in the city, it’s typical to move around to chase better rents as well as outdoor space.”
Did you have the decorated bug as a child?
DR: “Growing up I, of course, redecorated my mother’s living room so many times, she never knew what she’d be coming home to after work! At a young age, I was also very aware of small budgets and how to creatively get a new look for less - money was extremely tight when I was a kid since my mother was a single parent who was much older (she adopted me at birth when she was 55 years old) and was also running her own business. I learned how to take my babysitting money, often just 10 or 15 dollars and stretch it at Walmart or the local hardware store. With a couple new pieces or a d.i.y. project and a new furniture layout, I was able to accomplish giving our home a brand new look. I had always admired the homes of friends whose parents were well off, so when I went to their houses, I remember taking mental notes and trying to get similar looks for a lot less. I still do this today even though money isn’t so terribly tight - it’s a principal that I’ve stuck to - if you can achieve something beautiful without spending a fortune, then why spend a fortune?!?”
DR: “I didn’t realize until I was older how much my mother’s mid century furniture had an impact on me. While growing up, I was sometimes hesitant to bring friends over because the pieces appeared dated as compared to what was in their parent’s homes, little did I know that I would be so drawn to them as an adult. My mom was also very proud of her things and didn’t feel the need (and at that point didn’t have the financial ability) to be like everyone else - she had a penchant for choosing and showcasing quality and if it was a quality piece and you took care of it, then why swap it out for what’s trendy - and I couldn’t agree with this more! Be you, design for you, avoid the trends, buy quality for less (by thrifting, frequenting garage sales and flea markets but, know your pieces, styles and history) and take pride in your home, whatever your situation is.”
Tell us a bit about your transition-
DR: “My friends and family were huge supporters and a source of encouragement. I owe it all to them - they pushed me to take my passion and apply it to a design business and I was very lucky to get a big project right away (just a couple weeks after leaving my practice as a learning specialist). A home in Westchester, NY that was a complete Blank Slate! My mother in law’s friend had children who were moving out of a small Brooklyn apartment, into a 5 bedroom colonial and they hired me to decorate all of it! This along with getting my blog started right away helped launch my new design business - I feel like you have to jump in with both feet and just start swimming! Be a risk taker!”
Tell us how you and Niles decided to start Flipping homes-
DR: “After flipping the Bronxville Condo (it sold in a weekend) and getting high praise from the realtors and every potential buyer that walked through, we had an inkling that this may be something that we should try to do as a business in the future. And my mother in law was paying attention! She was completely aware that Niles and I would love to make this happen at some point. As she witnessed my design business grow, my blog and Instagram become recognized by brands and locals (she was with me one night at the grocery store when 2 separate parties approached me to tell me how much they loved “The Rath Project” on social media - lol!) and our own CT home transform before her eyes, she decided that she’d like to invest in this new business venture. With an influx of capital from her; we made our first flip purchase. It’s definitely tricky because there’s a line that I have to tow between great design and profitability but, I refuse to put any product out there that doesn’t meet my personal standards. This is where my high design at low cost comes into play! I search thrift stores for decorative vanity mirrors, source the hell out of my trade sites for impactful lighting for less, and try to get creative using simple things like tile and paint in ways that pack a punch.”
DR: “Ferncliff was our first Flip. I swapped the Kitchen and Diningroom in this house. I love to look at a space and think how would I live here?”
How does the rest of 2019 look for you?
DR: “Finish our current project the University Flip by June and get a for sale sign on the lawn immediately! Have this baby and take a 2-3 month break to just be with family! Also, find another property during that period so that come September/October we have another project lined up to start. Complete my 5th (?) One Room Challenge, contribute to my blog more regularly and finish up 3 client projects I’m working on before baby Rexford gets here!
What are your future hopes for your brand?
DR: “Just keep growing on all accounts - business and personal - and have fun while doing it!”