We had the good fortune of connecting with Marcella Domonkos and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Marcella, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
I strive to find balance each day. I think any entrepreneur with kids has a difficult time balancing between work and family. I love what I do, and it does not feel like work most days. I have two young boys, one born just this past year. When you first start your business you are all in, you must be to really get it off the ground. When it takes off it is hard to reel it in and slow down, all you have ever wanted was to get to that point. It is a daily struggle if I am being honest. My children help me slow down which is exactly what I need. They are my balance for sure. They are only little once, and I know this time is short lived.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
MD Design started pretty organically. A dear friend saw potential in me, and her husband had a need for an in-house designer. They had me create mood boards for a new build and basically interviewed me. They gave me a shot and I had my very first full home project that I was going to get paid for. Apex Homes has been incredibly rewarding to work with. I have learned so much from being part of the team. Without that opportunity I would not be where I am today. Before that opportunity, I remodeled our current home and several friends’ homes. It was a hobby, something I loved to do but never in my wildest dreams did I think I could make a living from it. As a kid, I was enthralled with making little mini-Lego houses. I would sit my family down and walk them through the home. I picked actual flowers and made paper napkin curtains. I was told that being an architect was a profession I should pursue. I fell short in the math department big time and that little dream was not going to become a reality. I went into retail management and was working as a store manager up until I had our first son. Only then did I really tune into what makes me happy at my core. And it was designing. I think running a store has had a significant positive affect on my business. Without that background I would not be able to effectively manage all the projects MD Design now manages. At any given time, I have 8 to 12 active clients. Projects range from new build spec homes and custom client builds to small home refresh projects. I really see my role as part designer, part project manager. What sets MD design apart from other interior designers is that I take on multiple roles for any given project. When working with a homeowner, I am not only the creative designer making mood boards and conceptualizing the new space, but I am also finding you sub-contractors, placing orders, managing timeline and the construction crew. MD Design is known for tailoring projects to the needs of each individual client, from as little as a mood board and guidance, to an entire new build. This has opened so many doors for MD Design and helped it grow to what it is now. Renovations are scary and a big undertaking but having someone like me on board is worth every penny. People hire a designer not only for help on how the finished project looks but bringing it all together. Keeping track of all the little decisions, deadlines and making sure my client a enjoys the whole process is what you can expect from MD Design.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Denver is a very vibrant and exciting city. There is no shortage of great healthy restaurants, hiking trails, unique boutiques, museums and food halls. I am a foody and love to try out new restaurants, but I have my favorites. If I had my best friends visiting I would for sure take them to Lola in Highlands. They have my favorite margarita in the city, the Fuego Verde. I also love Jovanina’s Broken Italian on Blake Street. Pre-Covid days they hosted Sunday Supper nights which included an inspiring five course menu, it was out of this world and entirely different each week. It was an interactive experience with lots of laughs, clapping, loud banter, meeting new friends and restaurant staff. Their everyday menu is just as good. It is a must visit. We love taking our guest to Pearl Street in Boulder and on local hikes nearby Bear Peak, strolling through highlands. Concerts at Red Rocks or trying out a new food hall somewhere in town.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Oh wow, so many women deserve so much credit. To all the women in my life that have showed me love and encouragement on my journey as a designer. For example, when I didn’t believe I could do it or wanted to throw in the towel, I had several amazing friends and family give me that extra push and confidence to keep it going. I would not have made it this far without their support. There is something really special about women supporting women. It does not happen nearly enough in our cultural. But when it does, it can create serious magic for so many of us. We are a tribe that needs to stick together. My husband by far is the most supportive person on my journey. Without his support there would be no MD Design. I needed to lean on him financially and emotionally for a long time to get this off the ground. Our first born was just 2 when this started, and I was a stay-at-home Mom. For a while we had to figure out how to afford daycare a couple of days a week so I could start working on my first opportunity with Apex Homes. My Husband has watched this whole business bloom. Lots of late nights, major doubts, some tears and sacrifices to make my passion profitable. He 100% of the time made sure to show me that it was worth it by showing up in so many ways. I am one lucky wife.
Rae Barber of Rae photo & Films