The Creative Pragmatist

Article by Samantha Schoengold Beranbom

Photography by Kyle J Caldwell Photography

Originally published in Fairfield Lifestyle

Meet Fairfield resident and tastemaker, Elana Tenenbaum Cline, Founder and Creative Director of Carta Creatives. Carta Creatives is an interdisciplinary creative studio, with distinct design as the through line. The firm offers a unique mix of services all linked with a considered and deliberate vision. Elana explains, “For example, from a restaurant’s interior design and lighting selection, to the menu design, to the website design, to the playlist selection. We believe it’s all connected and that’s how we approach our projects.”

Rooted in architecture, Elana’s tenure in the industry encompasses a wide range of hospitality, retail and commercial projects at large agencies. Her roles evolved from design to strategy to project management to a combination of all three, before taking the leap and opening her own studio. She credits her team’s varied skillset, adaptability and effective collaboration as to what sets Carta Creatives apart from other ‘all-in-one’ shops. Juxtaposing structure with creativity has laid the groundwork for the firm’s practical creative approach.

Residential home design can be particularly overwhelming for clients. After an initial meeting to nail down style, understand lifestyle, budget and design goals, Elana and her team make it seamless and as fun as possible for each new client. “Our goal is function and form. Spaces should work and feel right, and we have the expertise to create that.” Instead of dictating design direction the team helps clients find their own aesthetic. They start each project learning as much as possible, not just about the space but also about how the client wants to use their space. “Everything informs how we can design the best possible space to meet functionality and beauty.” Honesty and communication are what Carta Creatives is also known for. “We really focus on listening and capturing the essence of what our clients need and then present a wide range of possibilities before narrowing it down. Because design language can sometimes be subjective; my definition of modern sophistication could be totally different from a client’s. It’s important we show visuals early on to make sure we’re aligned. Anticipating next steps and keeping clients aware of what their role is in the process is important for managing expectations.”

One of Carta Creatives most recent residential clients was Elana herself so she knows first hand how daunting it can be. “Having just renovated our home and gone through the experience personally, it can be emotional and tiring.”  When they purchased their Fairfield home Elana and her husband did not anticipate the level of renovation they would ultimately undergo. With a one year old and a baby on the way, the timeline was urgent. Managing the jobsite while having to order goods during peak-covid supply chain issues made things even more challenging. Elana’s personal style is earthy with influences from global patterns. She draws inspiration from travels abroad and from her childhood home. Her love of muted shades like sages, warm ochres, beiges and bold tribal artwork are reflected throughout her house. She likes to use paint and light fixtures whenever she wants to add unexpected impact. Elana has curated a mix of old and new pieces that keeps things practical, functional and not too precious, that same cornerstone at the core of her design firm. “In our dining room, we knew it would be used less frequently than some of the higher traffic spaces, and wanted to dial up the drama by coating the space with a charcoal paint and furnishing with an antique piece, my parents original set from the 80’s.”

Carta Creatives has a number of exciting new residential design and commercial branding projects on the horizon. “People have dreams for their spaces for years and to have them realized is one of the greatest gifts I could give. I love enhancing people’s everyday lives.”

Elana’s Fairfield Favorites:

Family Fun: Sasco Beach

Sweat Sesh: F45 + Solid Core 

Me Time: Southport Harbor

Date Night: Artisan at the Delmar Hotel + the bar at Paci

Sweet treat: Saugatuck Sweets

Girlfriend's Day: Lunch @ Gray Goose

Recharge: Facial with Rose Buatti

Design Inspo: Destination Haus

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