Interior designer finds fulfillment in own firm
By Katelyn Gendron
Reminder Assistant Editor
HAMPDEN -- Changes can be easy and fun. Just ask Carmen McNeill.
The veteran interior designer and owner of Changes by Carmen has taken the most bland of spaces and transformed them into luxurious locations for Fortune 500 companies or comforting refuges for residential living.
Carmen McNeill, a veteran interior designer from Hampden has completed renovations for large multimillion dollar companies and also small bed and breakfasts such as the Captain Manor's Inn in Falmouth, Mass.
McNeill, a resident of Hampden, spent 24 years of her professional life working as a lead corporate designer at MassMutual in Springfield; however, the company's recent "operational effectiveness program," as McNeill called it, eliminated her position. McNeill recalled the change as a "perfect opportunity" to continue the career she loved by working for herself
"I have extensive experience ranging from complex, multimillion dollar venues to elegant personal residences," she said. "I'm known for the development and implementation of creative designs that capitalize on challenging projects."
McNeill noted her most rewarding projects included designing a $14 million, 14,000 square-foot office space for Oppenheimer Funds in New York City after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks forced the company to relocate. The fast track project required 14 weeks for completion, she added.
McNeill also helped renovate portions of the Marco Island Marriott Resort in Florida and the Captain Manor's Inn in Falmouth, Mass., and implemented interior designs for cafeterias, corporate jets and private residences.
McNeill described business out on her own since October 2009 as challenging but a lucrative "home run" on the corporate side, while residential interior design is slow due to the economy. She noted she's recently completed work on two homes in South Hadley and Ludlow while also working on conference spaces for Mercy Hospital.
"The commercial experience is a little different. You don't have a person with a personality that needs help getting drawn out [into the design]," McNeill explained.
She added that residential design calls for "a lot of shopping around for [clients] or taking them with me to design centers in the area to pull out what they like and what they're about. Getting to know them on a personal level is important. I'm dedicated to working with the client to provide a pleasant, stress-free experience."
To view spaces created by McNeill, visit her Web site at www.changesbycarmen.com
. She can also be reached via phone at 537-2949 or by e-mail at Carmen@changesbycarmen.com