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Inside The World Of Design With Moneca Kaiser

My next guest is an extraordinary builder and designer who not only creates beautiful homes but strives to ensure a connection between lifestyle, community, environment, and planet through all of her design projects. Moneca Kaiser, the founder of Moneca Kaiser Design Build, has taken an incredible journey into the design world; beginning as an avid philosopher, she soon found her way into carpentry, followed by her now successful career in residential design & building.

Image Source : Moneca Kaiser Design Build

Through minimalistic designs made to nourish and promote healthy living, Moneca finds great happiness in offering her clients everything they need by co-creating homes they love and that love them back. Her residential designs are innovative, to say the least, and her philosophy on designing eco-friendly, fresh interiors is even more intriguing.

So without further ado, please welcome Moneca!

Q: Hi, Moneca - thanks for joining me today. I’m completely infatuated by your work and the ideology behind it, and I’m really excited to dive into that. But first, I think it’s important to clarify that unlike the usual interior designers, you own a design-build firm. Can you elaborate on what a design-build firm is, and what are the advantages of homeowners hiring a design-build firm as opposed to separate designers and contractors?

Moneca: When all the elements are orchestrated harmoniously, their synergy creates exponential value and a home will embody harmony. Nothing is lost in the translation between the family, the designer and the builder - and the process is easy and enjoyable because everything is our responsibility and we’re very good at making homes.

This is different than merely renovating. We are approaching this from a whole systems perspective and it’s only with this level of attention to, not only, detail but the forest, if you will, that you will truly reap the value of your investment in the quality of life and financial well-being. MKDB homes make your lives and relationships a little easier and also are a sound financial investment.

Image Source : Moneca Kaiser Design Build

Q: It is rare for a woman to be a builder. Do you find that it confuses people? How do they respond? Does this help or hurt your business?

Moneca: I look back over twenty years and realize what it cost me to put my full name on my company. I did it consciously because part of our mandate is affecting positive cultural change, but had my company been called Kaiser Design Build we would probably have been exponentially more established by now. The "Moneca" trumps the "Build" every time, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked if my husband or father or brother actually is the builder. It’s me, though. I am a carpenter by trade and while I am not on my tools anymore everything on our website has been designed and built in-house.

I received the 2009 YMCA Woman of Distinction Award for the contribution I have made as a woman in a male-dominated field. I embrace being a woman and all of the history and legacy that is inherent in our role as homemakers and proudly identify primarily as just that, a home MAKER. There is something innately nurturing in the feminine nature, and the only other job I ever loved was being a waitress because it delighted me to serve people food. I was a very shitty waitress, though, and was fired from six waitressing jobs in a row but the last time it was after six months so I figured it was time to move on. I love making homes for families and everyone on our team shares this passion first and foremost.

Q: You’ve seamlessly incorporated your strong background in philosophy into your design practice; how would you explain your transition from studying philosophy to carpentry to then operating a full-service design-build firm?

Moneca: I loved studying philosophy and it has remained a lifelong passion and source of contemplation and delight. We have designed our entire service model with aligning your home with your values and focussing all of our energy on creating value. Just opening up a conversation about value affects positive cultural change which is our anti-consumerism anthem because if we truly meet our needs and align our lives with what we truly value, we would not be seeking the empty calories of the McMansion and deluded into believing quartz countertops will ultimately make us happy. Caring and connection are what makes us happy.

Churchill said, "First we form our buildings then they form us." When we experience a truly responsive and caring homecoming journey, such as the one MKDB offers, it’s life transforming - awakening our desire for an ideal home for everyone. We are naturally drawn to "building to last" with eco-effective practices that are considerate of our precious planet’s delicate balance, and we hope because this home takes such good care of you, you will have a little more capacity to take care of your families, community, and the world.

So it’s seamless, everything we do at MKDB goes back to our core value of cultivating, co-creating, and just tapping into harmony. I remember in philosophy class that logic exercise where "if A is this and B is that, it follows that C is such and such…" we need to always be conscious of A and B but culturally we get blindsided and seduced by C.

Image Source : Moneca Kaiser Design Build

Q: You have a great video on Dysfunctional House Syndrome. In what ways do homes tend to fail us and what can be done to rectify these issues?

Moneca: It’s really hard to be in relationships and live in close quarters. We see this culturally in how our homes have doubled in size since the 50's and our families have shrunk - the next video we are working on gets into this. Little things like having to get the kids to clear off the dining room table every time you want to share a meal can be stressful, why not design a space for them to study with the family around them when they want to.

We co-create homes that are based on the five principles of great SPACE (Sun, Place, Adaptability, Cultivation, and Ease) and banish dysfunctional house syndrome.

Q: In your experience, do most of your clients approach you because of your sustainable design ethic or are you often the one introducing the option of having an eco-friendly home?

Moneca: They come to us because they feel at home with us and they share our values. Our philosophy of caring and home making resonates for them and they trust us. Eco-effectiveness is just one of the elements they are interested in and we are usually on the same page.

Image Source : Moneca Kaiser Design Build

Q: I love the minimalist look of your designs, and I know you encourage a less-is-more lifestyle. You even shared on your blog that “Our goal is to build as little as possible.” What do you mean by that and how does that serve the homeowner and the planet?

Moneca: It’s not stuff that actually makes us happy and it’s lazy to just add more space rather than crack the actual design challenge. It's like going to a restaurant where the food tastes great but it’s all fat, salt and sugar. We want to make homes that are truly nourishing. I think we all feel kind of gross after a fast food meal, and if its supersized it’s never actually satisfying, that would be an oxymoron.

My niece is a young and very accomplished dancer and artist who loves that show on Netflix, the Chef’s Table. She has watched every episode at least 6 times. She is always making these funny tableaus with a lonely piece or two of food on a plate and some swirling sauce and says it’s fine dining. We laugh about how little food they actually seem to serve. But it’s so satisfying - at least that’s what I hear and their Michelin stars attest. It feeds not only our taste buds but our sense of smell and beauty and even the dishes feel special. The ingredients are fresh and respected, usually with some level of consideration for how they are grown and raised - with consciousness and intention. It’s so civilized and refined, it’s dignified. We don’t need these weird suburban houses with odd columns going nowhere and cathedral ceilings that are cavernous and cold, we need smart homes that truly meet our needs and adapt with us. We love simplicity and abundance, at MKDB we are not advocating deprivation- we are cultivating contentment and seeking what is truly nourishing to our souls - the very heart of our homes.

Q: You appear to be an ambitious woman with a clear value-based mission. In addition to doing home renovations, you have a blog, podcast, and I hear you are working on a few other great projects including having an eco-furniture line in development. What is the motivation behind all of this work? What is your direction and vision? What can we expect from you in the future?

Moneca: Wow, these are such thoughtful questions that I feel inspired and delighted to answer, it isn’t always that way…

My life’s thesis is harmony. I have been shown great kindness and been surrounded by wisdom and my deepest hope is to share something of beauty and truth with our world.

Image Source : Moneca Kaiser Design Build

Thanks again, Moneca, for taking this time with us - you are a true inspiration to homeowners and designers alike! Can’t wait to see what you’re up to next!

Moneca offers such a new perspective on design, completely making me rethink my idea of an ideal interior (and my need for a Quartz countertop!). It’s refreshing to see someone so enthralled in their career, combining their passion for community and environment with their expert skills in design and building.

What do you think about Moneca’s design philosophy? Leave your thoughts & follow-up questions below!


3 Responses to "Inside The World Of Design With Moneca Kaiser"

  • Sharon Watts
    April 21, 2017 - 2:03 pm Reply

    This is how everyone should be designing these days, thanks for sharing, Angelica!

  • Amelia Bell
    April 24, 2017 - 2:02 pm Reply

    Love the concept of dysfunctional house syndrome – her whole philosophy on design really impressed me.

  • nicholasMt
    April 24, 2017 - 7:40 pm Reply

    I am really impressed with your writing skills as neatly as with the layout to your blog. Is this a paid subject or did you customize it your self? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, its rare to see a nice blog like this one nowadays..

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