From Imagination to Buildout

Lavish Design offers a turnkey approach

Story by Miles Baker
Photography by Big Lenz Studio

Sometimes it's good to have more than one perspective when a couple begins a building project. Whether it's a remodel, or a totally new project, having a masculine/feminine balance in perspectives can't hurt say Lavish Design owners, Amy and Jared Chastain. Celebrating their first year of business, they find themselves wearing lots of hats, blending their skills as they work together and establishing a brand for themselves. "It can be stressful, but we do work well together," says Amy.

Current projects include a home expansion for Rich and Erica Abercrombie on Lookout Mountain and a project with architect Jay Caughman to build a new commercial building for Southern Niceties, a fine papers and events shop in North Chattanooga. “Jay is great to work with and building something new in a well established neighborhood is a new kind of challenge,” adds Jared.

"The heights are established," Caughman says."We just have give it a similar roofline." The brick and Hardie board structure is next door to the existing building which houses the company.

"I've worked with Jared when he was with the Strauss Company," says Caughman. "He's a sharp guy and he comes from the commercial world, so the project should be ready in early spring."

The pair brings different attributes to the table. Amy's degree in Cultural Anthropology and Jared's in Exercise Physiology were simply starting points. They both went back to do master's work in UTC's Engineering Project Management under Dr. Neslihan Alp. Jared worked for five years for John Strassburger as a project manager on various commercial and residential buildings. “We try to approach it as a team, so pricing will be realistic," says Jared. "And, we base our work on lifestyle research, offering customers additional design and decor assistance," says Amy, who has contracted and renovated several homes for resale on her own.

“Sometimes we find customers want things they may not really need. If you say you don't cook, why specify a Viking range? There may be a reason,” says Amy. “But the options are worth examining."

"We started with screened-in porches and remodels for restaurants,” says Jared. "Then, Vision Hospitality called us to begin updating hotel rooms for a few of Vision’s hotels here in Chattanooga.”

According to Jared, most of those hotels have been full, so it has been challenging to work in and
around a fully booked hotel while avoiding inconveniences for guests. The company is involved in the expansion and upgrades to Milk & Honey, a restaurant property owned by Michael and Taylor Monnen. Rich honeycomb tile floors and golden bar stools embellish the gelato emporium near Taco Mamacita off North Market Street.

Again, plenty of after-hours work has been done so customers won't be inconvenienced. Lavish Design supplies carpentry crews for subcontracted work for various architects and contractors. 

The Chastains say having to compete with established contractors and the challenge of raising their company’s profile in the community are the key issues they are faced with each day. But, they think “business looks good for 2015” and they are optimistic that attention to detail and hard work will pay off—lavishly.