The history of Refined Design and our future as Nadine Stay - Reflecting on our past and looking forward to the future. We've decided to change our business name to Nadine Stay.

It was the summer before my junior year of college when I decided to scrap everything I had previously studied to pursue something entirely different - Interior Design. Great timing right? Always fun to waste two years worth of money on a major that I didn’t stick with! Two weeks before classes began I applied for a new college, a new program, and set up all my classes. In addition to that, I decided to finish my education at my current college as well. Yep, you read that right. I was taking classes from two different colleges at the same time which resulted in me taking somewhere between 25-30 credits each semester. I was determined to finish college in 4 years as I had originally planned!

I spent the next two years learning about interior design and just weeks before graduation I had another “crap” moment. I realized I didn’t want to be an interior designer. Awesome right? I remember sitting in class and hearing about the ins and outs of how to get a job at a firm, how to start your own company, and how to handle clients. Honestly, none of it sounded appealing and I realized I had no desire to pursue interior design in the traditional sense (aka offering design services to clients). I sat there wondering if I wasted another two years worth of money on a degree I wouldn’t use.

With a little encouragement from my husband Chris, I realized that being a client based interior designer wasn’t the only way I could utilize the things I learned in school. He encouraged me to do something that I actually enjoyed - refurbishing furniture. As a graduation present, Chris bought me 3 weathered furniture pieces that would serve as my first projects. He taught me the basics of sanding and staining and within days of graduation I decided to turn this little refurbishing hobby into a business called Refined Design.

For 2 years I went to my shed every day and transformed a piece of weathered furniture into something that I was really proud of. I sold my pieces on craigslist and at local markets and I loved it; but after 2 years I started craving a change of pace. I decided to transition from refurbishing furniture to designing and building furniture myself. I loved using my creativity in a new way and Chris was a major help in teaching me how to build from scratch.

It was during this time that I started finding my style and I honed in on the designs that I was drawn to. For the next year I spent hours in the garage working till 1-2 in the morning just trying my best to keep up with the demand. It was a ton of work, and honestly I burned out pretty quick. I decided to end the furniture building part of my business in order to give myself more time to focus on expanding the business. As a result, I found incredible artisans who I still work with today to make a handful of my designs for me! It is so refreshing to have a normal work schedule again and I thoroughly enjoy working with people who are so talented in their department!


In the (almost) 5 years that I’ve been in business, I have realized that business is just a series of transitions that I hope are movements in the right direction. Once again, I’ve found myself in the midst of another transition today. A transition that I hope will be the first step to propelling us closer to my dream.

I’ve decided to change the business name to Nadine Stay.

I have so many dreams, ideas, and goals that I want to implement into this business over the next few years and with the changes I have in mind, I felt the need to create a new name for ourselves. I’ll still be sharing interior design inspiration and tips on the blog; I’ll continue to offer beautiful pieces in my shop that I love, but I also hope to expand this business into something that floods you with inspiration, advice, encouragement and products in a new and exciting way!

Thank you for being interested in what I’m up to and if you start to see “Nadine Stay” popping up around here, just know that it’s still me and my messy bun behind the screen! :)



Until next time,