Getting personal with Chris and Danica - owner's of Refined Design

Guess what!? Today you get to hear from both Chris and I! By now you probably know that together we run our small business - Nadine Stay. But unless you're great friends of ours, or heavy stalkers, you probably don't know our background or the juicy details about us. We'll spare you the time of facebook stalking us and give you our stories here! So without further adieu, here's Chris. 

Getting personal with Chris and Danica - owner's of Refined Design


I think it’s safe to say that anyone who knows me knows that I am a pretty adventurous person.  Since I was young I have always found it way more entertaining to be outside, explore, get lost, imagine, dream, and think, than to just stare at a screen or play sports with strict rules.  Maybe it’s my inability to be considered “normal”, or maybe it’s my assumption that rules are simply “someone else’s opinions”.  But either way, I just can’t shake the desire to explore. 

This desire to explore really has been a driving force throughout my whole life and has taken me to some amazing places and given me the ability to interact with some amazing people.  Exploring has brought me to places like Mali, West Africa where I was able to live in a village in the “bush” and begin to learn the culture and customs of the Malian people.  Mali is also the place that I got malaria, which was an adventure of its own.  Exploring has also brought me to hiking and boating through some of the most uninhabited jungles of Costa Rica.  It was in these jungles that a 36 hour heavy rainfall left my team and I’s tents under constant water and mud, leaving our air mattresses less practical for sleeping and more effective as flotation devices.

The desire to explore has not only brought me to awesome places but it has also manifested itself in an un-quenching desire to learn.  It doesn’t matter the topic or the field, I simply love to learn (which may surprise many of my past schools teachers).  I constantly find myself getting absorbed in books, documentaries, and outside research.  It’s not uncommon to see me with a book that is about “Theodore Roosevelt’s Exhaustive Biography” or “The History of the Chair” or “Unconventional methodologies for Rice Farming on Japanese Islands” or my most recent kick…“The Art of Butchering”. 

It’s certainly no mistake that I have a strong desire to learn, and I am fortunate to have that, because God paired me perfectly with a woman that constantly challenges me to learn more and dream bigger than I ever have. Danica takes full advantage of my eagerness to learn as she is constantly dreaming of ideas for our house, the business, or future businesses.  These ideas often seem outlandish and far fetched to me, but my hesitance is always followed by her saying “Well…just learn how.  Then do it”. Her simplification of major projects into “just do it”, is really how we operate in life.  We dream, we do, and we love life along the way.    

Getting personal with Chris and Danica - owner's of Refined Design


Oh hey! My story starts in a teeny tiny town in southern Minnesota. I went to a small K-12 private school and graduated with 11 other students! The closest town to us with a Target was 60 minutes away and our once-a-month trips were a luxury. Really roughing it right?! Ok, it wasn't that bad and that's all I knew so I was ok with it.

I did always dream about city life though and I had high hopes of moving to New York City where I could work in a skyscraper and wear stilettos everyday. I honestly didn't care about my occupation as much as I just wanted to live that "glamorous" life. Well, when I started visiting colleges, I quickly realized I was definitely too terrified to go to a big school in a major city all by myself. Although I didn't want to go to another small school, I ended up at one and honestly I'm glad I did because I had some incredible experiences. Thankfully this small school was in a decently sized city so I still got to experience city life on a smaller scale compared to New York City.

Because I attended a small college I had the opportunity to play basketball and volleyball! I do not pride myself in being athletically gifted - I was average at best. But I had a blast and I became friends with some incredible people! It was actually through volleyball scrimmages that I met Chris! Correction - he found me; I wasn't looking for a relationship at the time. But after a couple years he finally came up to me and told me that he had liked me for the past 2 years. And I replied by saying..."Ok, Cool." It's not that I didn't like him, I just hadn't ever given that idea a thought. Fast forward 2 weeks and we started dating long distance. He moved to Florida and I went back home to Minnesota for the summer. We dated for a year and in that year we saw each other just 5 times before getting engaged! And after that we waited a whole 3 months before getting married!

We've now been married for 4 1/2 years and we've moved a total of 5 times before buying our first fixer upper house! I haven't touched on my interior design interests much, but flipping and designing homes has been a dream of mine for a while. We're currently in the process of flipping our first home and it is so much more fun than I even hoped it would be. Interior Design is a passion of mine and hopefully someday it will become a business for me. I didn't expect to be where I'm today so who knows, maybe we'll end up flipping homes and furnishing them with all our Nadine Stay goodies! Here's to hoping!



Until next time,