Striking out on your own in business can be a daunting venture filled with uncertainties and twists. It takes nerves of steel, but Cassandra Provenzola is up to the challenge.
Owner of the newly opened Proven Kitchen & Bath Studio in Dexter, next to Cottage Inn, Cassandra’s love for designing interiors began 25-years ago when, out of necessity, she was suddenly thrust into a situation where home modifications were needed for a family member.
“My grandfather’s back was broken in an accident”, Cassandra explains. “The family really needed a solution for him in the house and as a result I fell in love with barrier-free design both aesthetically and functionally. The process caught my attention and things have progressed from there.”
The term “barrier-free design” might lead one to think of walls being knocked down to open up larger spaces inside the house, but it actually refers to the functionality of certain living areas for ease of movement. “Predominantly, when I talk about ‘barrier-free design’”, Cassandra says, “I’m talking about things like putting in a curbless shower and other aging-in-place design.”
Cassandra explains; “’Aging-in-place’ design means someone remodeling with perspective as to how long they intend on living in that house. It’s a smart decision to think ‘How long am I going to be in this home?’ If its more than 15 years, then it’s wise to talk about aging-in-place design.”
Designing runs in her blood. The daughter of a master plumber and granddaughter of an architect, Cassandra was raised to automatically consider the functionality of spaces. “Whether it’s in a restaurant or just touring around downtown, I’m immediately reworking how it could be more functional,” she says. “It’s just how my brain works.”
Armed with a degree in Interior Design from Eastern Michigan University, Cassandra has worked in the construction industry for many years with a growing focus on interior design and an emphasis on kitchens and baths.
“So my focus has always been on the inside of the home,” she says. “I think that we have enough space within our walls to really live how we want to live. A lot of people love their homes and sometimes move for very odd reasons – our family room isn’t big enough, our kitchen isn’t big enough, or other aesthetic reasons that can be addressed within their current home. There are a few options including an open-space option where you do knock down the interior walls.”
Cassandra decided to strike out on her own after years of working early mornings and late nights in Northville away from her family. Being there for her family; husband Mario, Mila (8), and Nash (3), keeps her busy and working closer to home is an enormous help.
“My goal, as both a mom and business owner, is to be the best that I can be”, Cassandra says. “So I try every day. And every decision that I’ve made in my life has been for my family and for my kids. That is really important to me.”
Like a lot of parents, perhaps the biggest challenge is found in balancing work and family.
“There is a lot of pressure out there to be an ‘amazing mom’”, she admits. “Whether it’s pinning adorable little notes in your kids’ backpacks, hand-making Halloween costumes and baking cookies, or making homemade cupcakes for school events, and the sign-up genius that gets mailed out to moms and dads to volunteer, these things create a lot of pressure. Add to that those other groups you are involved in and it’s just very, very stressful.”
All of this can provoke doubts and second-guessing.
“At the end of the day, I think, ‘Gosh, am I doing it right? Am I doing enough? Am I doing okay by my kids?” she wonders, but then smiles and adds, “A client told me the other day, ‘Most great moms don’t feel like they’re great moms. That’s how you know you’re doing it right.’”
Another reason Cassandra wanted to open her own business is the advantage it can afford her clients. “I can give them better pricing and design concepts”, she explains. “I have more flexibility and less overhead under my own umbrella than working for somebody else.”
Cassandra’s shop also carries some home décor items that make a visit fun and interesting especially if you’re looking for unique gifts.
You can learn more about what Cassandra has to offer on her website.