Creating authentic reflections of unique personalities in home environments by blending art and science is the sign of splendid interior design. From farmhouse to townhouse, modern or historic, the design professionals at EM Interiors assure they start by keeping the visions of clients top-of-mind.
"We work in a range of styles, but always plan for spaces that are classic, clean, comfortable and most importantly, livable. We focus on making a home functional as well as comfortable," says Mia Miller, EM Interiors co-principal.
Mia collaborates with co-principal Cate Lownes to pool their practical and creative knowledge to transform clients' dreams for their homes into a livable reality. The two previously worked together at Ellen Magen Interior Design for a decade-plus, a company established by their late colleague, Ellen Magen.
"We conduct a thorough interview process with our clients regarding what's meaningful to them, because our designs and plans are about them, not us," explains Cate. "We're careful to respect the architecture of their homes."
Cate and Mia each contribute varied talents and unique backgrounds to designs, ranging from project management to sourcing unusual materials.
As the daughter of a talented seamstress, Cate’s love of textiles began early in her life as she learned to make her own clothes and home accessories. She graduated from Moore College of Art & Design, and worked for some of Philadelphia’s leading architectural and design firms. She later worked for the DuPont Company as a carpet fibers specialist.
Cate now focuses on space planning, architectural detailing and project management.
Mia often incorporates a global influence to the firm's work, harkening back to having before lived in the Middle East, Europe and South America. She graduated from Syracuse University and started her career at fashion label Emanuel Ungaro in New York City. While working with renowned designer Thom Filicia, she fell in love with interior design. She developed her talents for sourcing contemporary furniture and lighting at OLC in Philadelphia before moving to Ellen Magen Interior Design.
Mia has a keen sense for sourcing unique materials and accessories for clients’ homes.
Together, these two designers deliver the following services:
- Conceptual Design and Space Planning
- Architectural Finish Selection
- Furnishings Selection and Specification
- Lighting Selection and Specification
- Custom Millwork and Furniture Design
- Construction Documentation
- Project Management
- Color Consultation
- Custom Window Treatments
"We're the eyes of our clients, especially for things they can't visualize. We're their private portal to making ideas three-dimensional so they can picture size and scale," says Cate, who has been known to hold up pots, pans or other easily grabbed items to truly show how much space a new light fixture would take up, for example.
The two decorators guide clients through several stages of a project, including a conceptual and schematic phase. Clients are encouraged to save pictures from magazines, create a vision board or share Pinterest images of their ideas and thoughts. "It all gets considered as we work through mockups, and we're happy to partner and collaborate with architects, when applicable," adds Cate.
Working within clients' timeframes as best they can, these interior designers say they've had the good fortune of creating lasting partnerships with their clients, with many of them returning with new projects as their lives change and families grow.
Now that people are spending more time in their houses, condos and apartments -- and they are often working there -- Mia says she and Cate have turned toward incorporating design elements that are not solely about entertaining guests, per se, but that shift the function of spaces to adapt to clients' new needs. She says artwork, collections, framed portraits and personal objects are significant components of making a space a client's own.
"Whatever those happy things are that bring joy to each homeowner, that's what EM Interiors accentuates." she adds.