Originally from New Orleans, Chad Graci has a background and education in both architecture and design, which gives him a well-rounded approach to his interiors. After graduating from LSU and studying at the New York School of Interior Design, he worked with some of New York City’s top designers and lived and designed in Los Angeles before deciding to come back home to New Orleans and start his design business. Graci’s style is eclectic — sophisticated yet not stuffy, classy yet down-to-earth and seamlessly blending both vintage and modern elements. He describes his design esthetic as “glamorously approachable.”
Bon Vivant: How are you navigating the COVID-19 crisis (in business or personally)?
Chad Graci: This is certainly a difficult time for so many businesses. Professionally, I am carefully and thoughtfully trying to keep projects in motion while maintaining social distancing measures and respecting work-from-home mandates. That task is easier said than done, but I am doing my best to work it all out. Understanding, compassion and flexibility are key. Personally, I am, of course, missing my family and friends, but, like everyone else, I am connecting with people virtually to hold me over. Merely opening yourself up to this temporary but necessary way of communicating is important and has changed my entire outlook.
BV: What creative methods are you discovering in order to continue to serve clients?
Graci: My team and I are treating each project as though it is out-of-town, even if it is two blocks away. We are doing most things by email and FaceTime. Also, we are mailing or delivering full-fabric schemes, samples and proposals to clients instead of meeting with them in person, as we love to do. There have been quite a few drive-by fabric approvals! I’ve been asked to do an hourly virtual design consultation.
BV: Who or what is inspiring you right now and why?
Graci: Right now, I’m inspired by the people who are turning lemons into lemonade, so to speak. The people keeping a positive attitude, while looking ahead and supporting local businesses — by shopping local and sourcing local.
BV: What is the most helpful piece of career or life advice you’ve ever received, where did it come from and why was it so impactful for you?
Graci: Over the years, I’ve received much advice — solicited or unsolicited — regarding the interior design business. Time and time again, what I reflect upon most is to know and trust your value. Hold fast to that. From this, the right clients come your way. Also, when things get stressful or something goes wrong in this business — the mistakes can be expensive — but at the end of the day, it’s just decorating. Lighten up.
BV: Guilty pleasure?
Graci: Too many Houston’s cheeseburgers.
BV: If readers did only one thing to enhance their interior, what would you suggest?
Graci: I would suggest that the one thing that they could do enhance their interiors is to install dimmers on all lighting.