049 Chakras & Architecture Interview W/ Xena Stryker (Architectbae)

Summary (Full Episode Transcript below)

Into chakra balancing and curious how it relates to architecture? Then check out today’s episode where we take a deep dive with Xena Stryker from Xena Design + Marketing Firm. Owner of Atlanta-based Architecture and Marketing Firm. She spoke with us about her wellness practice to chakra balancing, her origin story which you have to hear as well as why architecture is so important. Marker: 1:20 

Her wellness practice: 7:20

Key Takeaways:

1. Don’t get scammed by General Contractors: 25:33

2. How she chooses materials: 19:12

3. Professional Organizations and how they help architects: 21.39 

Xena Stryker info

#architectbae 

Instagram

Linkedin

Website

The entire episode is amazing for aspiring architects, design enthusiasts, wellness lovers, and those not sure of how to go about finding a career. Share this episode with a young one to educate them on the programs they can join early.

As always we love hearing from you, if you are listening on anchor send a voice message or an email at [email protected]

Check out the website for the full transcript. — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/teaoverinteriors/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/teaoverinteriors/support

Transcription (Note this is Auto-Generated By Descript some errors may exist)

Dee: [00:00:00] I’m Dee

Alicja: And I’m Alicja,

Dee: And welcome to another episode of Tea over Interiors. Today Alicja, I am so excited to introduce to you, Xena Stryker. She is an architect and she is going to talk to us today about her origin story, as well as her idea of what architecture should bring to a space.

[00:00:25] Marker

Dee: Before we get started, Alicja, you know, I need to know girl, what you’re sipping on.

Alicja: I am sipping on my favorite hazelnut cream.

Dee: Mm. Sounds good. So, Xena, you are new to this show. So I’m gonna ask you girl, what you sipping on.

Xena: Today I have Yogi tea. I have the orange Tangerine tea and it’s supposed to be really good for the Sacral chakra.

Dee: Okay. Very nice.

So I’m sipping on the tea and spice exchange, cranberry, apple tart, herbal tea . I’m drinking it cold[00:01:00] it is delicious. And I added a bit of wild blueberry sugar, which is turbinado sugar with wild blueberries and pure blueberry extract for a little sweetness. I didn’t put too much, but it is really good.

Xena: Sounds delicious.

Dee: So now that we know what everyone’s drinking, let’s get started with today’s topic.

[00:01:20] Marker

Dee: Xena tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your origin story and how did you become an architect?

Xena: Well, I’m Xena Stryker and my origin story is very, very unique. So back in 1987, when I was born, my father was actually in the Florida state penitentiary.

He was, doing a prison bid. So I think he went in when my mother was about. Three months pregnant with me. And so he had absolutely nothing to do, but think about this baby, that was on the way. So while he was in prison, he just planned out my life. He was the nation of Islam, so he was a follower of Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad.

[00:02:00] So he wanted to name me to honor Malcolm X with an X. And so that’s where Xena came from. Now, my family on my mother’s side, they’re a little bougie and conservative, so they weren’t feeling it they were like, oh my God, this man is in prison. Giving her this nation of Islam name. We don’t like it. So they pulled my name.

And the hospital named me temporarily baby X because X is for the unknown like a mathematic equation. So I was still X, you know, whether they liked it or not. And so then a flower bloomed in my grandmother’s backyard and it was a Jasmine flower. So they said, okay, name her Jasmine. So that’s what they did.

For years, my father still called me Xena, he just wasn’t gonna change it no matter what. So I’m Jasmine Xena Stryker. And now I just go by Xena because it stands out. It’s great for marketing. And there’s only one, Xena the architect, which is me. And while he was in prison, he wanted me to become an architect.

That’s what came to his mind. So when he got out, he taught me how to draw. [00:03:00] his job was to be a sketch artist in the courtrooms. So I would go to work with my dad and he would like a sketch, you know, like the defendant and it would be pretty cool. And I would be like three, four years old sitting, watching my daddy sketch like the judge and the prosecutors.

He would give me so much one on one attention. He put me in so many art contests, so many build contests. I would have boy Legos because the Legos weren’t pink back then it was just black, red, blue, you know, so I would just be building and it got crazy. Like when I would run out of Barbie stuff to build with, I would just make stuff.

I would use decks of cards to build the rest of the city and, oh my God. So I had an issue with scale, right? So sometimes I would have a car that would be way too big, you know, for the rest of the stuff, I would use my imagination because I used to love the TV show Martin. So my sister would say, who’s driving that big old car?

And I would say, oh, that’s big [00:04:00] Shirley’s car from Martin that’s Cole’s girlfriend, big Shirley. And I just would do funny stuff. And then I joined Skills USA BCA (Building Construction Association ) and started doing competitions TSA (Technology Student Association), F .B. L. A (Future Business Leaders Of America) and I was awarded an academic scholarship to Tuskegee university. And what was so cool about Tuskegee was the former slaves built the school.

And in order for them to pay their tuition, they made the bricks and built the campus. And that really stood out to me. You know, slavery was abolished in 1865. Tuskegee was built in 1881. So they had will and determination. And they weren’t just doing a blue-collar job. They did the blue-collar job and they did the white-collar professional degree and came out as licensed architects.

Like you can’t believe this, how can you be a slave and not know how to read or be killed? If you try to learn how to read. And then 15, 20 years later you are a licensed architect. That’s crazy. So that’s why I chose Tuskegee. And that’s how I got my start.

[00:04:56] Marker

Dee: Okay. That is so amazing. You know, when I was a [00:05:00] kid, my dad used to take me to a lot of art galleries. So one of the first places I went to was the Guggenheim. And I was so impressed with this building Guggenheim in New York City. Has that spiral in the middle?

And I remember wanting to run all the way up to the top and look all the way down. And just the artwork and all the different art installations that would come in, I would just read everything, my brother and I take pictures and I’d write notes.

And when we went back to school the next day, and the teacher would ask us what we did over the weekend, I would say, oh, I went to the Guggenheim and I saw a Pablo Picasso starting the night. And, you

know, just naming all the stuff that I saw and my teachers looking at me. Wow. Like at like eight years old, but OK.

I go to like the met and museum of natural history. So I would go to all these different museums on 86th street in New York City, which is museum row. My dad would take me up there when we would go to Chicago to visit my grandmother.

He’d take me to the museums there. So I really became like, so.[00:06:00] In love with art and architecture and how the inside of the buildings looked, you know? I wanted to be a lawyer, but as I got older, I decided to become an interior designer, right? When I was applying for law school, taking my LSATs and everything, I couldn’t stop thinking about design.

I was like, this is not what I’m supposed to be doing.

Alicja: What’s interesting is how our experiences shape our views on life and how they impact our perspectives. And I think all of us could probably share we’re at different stages in life, different generations, but at the end of the day, these early experiences, these early exposures help to shape who we are helping to shape the way we think and ultimately what we project out into the world. And I could probably list a million of those types of experiences, but what I at least have learned from two ladies is that what’s beautiful is that our fathers have had a huge impact. And to this day I still have my dad with me.

[00:07:00] And I spent yesterday with my family and it’s important to be able to. Appreciate what they’ve sewn into your life. I mean, nobody’s perfect, but what they have to give you are just pearls of wisdom and influence and gestures that you will keep with you throughout your entire experience in life.

Dee: Yes.

[00:07:20] Marker

Dee: Yep. This is true. All right. So you mentioned to Xena that your tea was for your sacral chakra. Can you share with us a few of your wellness practices?

Xena: I was actually introduced into chakra, balancing like around 2018

and when I learned about the different seven main chakras really just changed life, I say changed life way that see that I can actually control my life and Christianity and a lot of other religions. We can actually learn about things, such as chakra balancing. However, when it’s taught to us oftentimes the teacher or the messenger, doesn’t really focus on what you [00:08:00] can do yourself.

It’s kind of like you are taught to give your power away or pray to a higher being and wait on them to bless you or give you something versus finding out that there is a God inside of you. And what can do to take control of your time being an earthly being, and again, all of these religions, when you really look at them, they’re basically the same?

And they’re saying that we came to earth to learn some type of lesson and someone is gonna come out of the sky, you know, and then we’re going to go to the great beyond. And all religions are pretty much saying the same thing. Even when you break it down with science, you know, like according to Christianity, the first man was an Adam, according to the Egyptian religion, the first man was attuned, just spelled a little differently.

And according to science, the first thing ever here on was an Atom. So it’s really the same story just taught a little differently, but when you really break them down to their core, what is really teaching you is you are really [00:09:00] the divine. And while you’re here, you really gotta get control of yourself so that you can learn your lesson and be able to complete your earthly experience.

So that’s what I kind of got into. And I learned about the different chakras and. Once I learned about the different seven chakras. I realized that we had learned that this entire time and we learned about color theory and how it relates to that and how it relates to architecture, and interior design. So I’ll kinda walk you through it a little bit.

So like I meditate, I try to meditate two times a day. At the same time, apparently, when you’re meditating, you’re connecting to the other, living things on this planet, that are doing the same thing as you. And I said other living things because I’m not just speaking of humans, I’m speaking of animals, plants.

I try to get it in early, like between four and 6:00 AM and then around 7:00 PM before going to bed. But that’s really what I get into like the balancing of the chakras, like with the root chakra that’s basically how we got here on earth and how the first color that you came in contact with when you got to earth was the color red and you saw that [00:10:00] coming out of your mother with the red blood and red is the color to alert you.

That’s why we have red stop signs and things like that. And red blood that’s when it’s like you see the red you need to be alert and it’s no coincidence that like, McDonald’s has the color red or Wendy’s has the color red and most fast food restaurants has the color red it’s because they wanna get your attention and they really wanna get the attention of children.

Cause you know, children are gonna say, stop mom, stop dad. You know, so basically, the root chakra is what anchors you to the earth and people who have like a torn relationship with their mother or a care provider. Oftentimes they have a really weak root chakra. So they typically bounce around and don’t have a stable place to live.

Or they constantly have financial issues and it’s because they never really anchored themselves when they got here on earth because of some type of way their care provider failed them. If you get what I’m saying. So that color is red and. Again, it’s just to let you know, to be vigilant, and keep you aware.

And the sacral is the color [00:11:00] orange and we’re moving on that color spectrum. So the next color is up from red to orange, and that’s your sexuality and creativity. And since we’re talking about interiors I, decided to go with the color orange, and sadly, this is one of the weakest chakras that a lot of people have because growing up as a kid, their parents never really wanted them to explore sexuality or ask questions and they had to kind of find out on their own.

And when they tried to find out on their own, they were punished. You know, even though it was a learning opportunity, some parents felt uncomfortable also, coloring and drawing. A lot of parents just don’t sit down and color with their kids or put them in art programs. And so. If a boy wants to color or draw people confuse that and may say that he has issues with sexuality and that’s because it’s all the same chakra and if it’s not explored, it can get blocked.

And I meet women and men 50 and 60 years old. Trying to unblock their Sacral chakra and say why don’t I dance in public? Why am I so shy? Why don’t I sing? [00:12:00] Why don’t I do these things? And it’s because, in their childhood, someone probably said, sit down somewhere. Oh, you’re doing too much. That’s for boys.

That’s for girls. And that chakra got blocked. So when I’m designing, I try my best to really put in a lot of the crystals for that chakra I put in those orange colors so that people can say this is your time here on earth, express yourself so that you can be the fullest version of Alicja or D that you can be.

Don’t let anyone shut you down, just express yourself and live out loud. So that’s kinda what I do. I try to live out each chakra every day, and I try to put that into my design so that people can visit spaces where they can knowingly or unknowingly unblock those chakras.

Alicja: I love it. That’s exciting. I’m all into it.

Now. I’m gonna go do some studying.

Dee: Yeah. I do a little dabbling into the chakras. I recently probably around 2018 around the same time as you, started getting into like crystals meditation, Abraham [00:13:00] Hicks. I think We talked about that when we spoke before, and, You know, I’ve always used, my mom always used incense and things like that to like cleanse our home and stuff.

I never knew what it was for. I don’t even know if they knew what it was for. They knew it was just something it was supposed to do. But we were talking, I think last week, Alicja, we were talking about trusting your intuition when it comes to design, because like you were saying, our higher beings live within us.

And a lot of times we don’t know how to tap into it. Our higher beings all the answers and everything we need is inside of us. It’s just, that we don’t know how to trust it. We don’t know how to recognize it. So we were talking about that last week, which is it’s so funny like it always comes full circle.

[00:13:46] Marker

Dee: I love that you shared that with us. Thank you so much. And so my next question for you is how does the space architecture inform the interior design of the space? The spaces that you [00:14:00] specialize in? Tell us a little bit about those they’re not what most people may think.

Xena: Cool. Well, I specialize in commercial design. I’m not really residential. I do take on residential projects, but I’m mainly commercial. So I’m very experimental. I love to do boutique hotels. I designed St. Regis and Marriotts and Hiltons for years, but the difference between a boutique hotel and traditional hotels is that boutique hotels are theme based.

They’re very original. They have a different concepts. So, no one’s gonna go to a Hilton and go tell their friends. I stayed at the dopest Hilton last night. That’s not gonna happen because a Hilton is a Hilton, but if you go to a boutique hotel, you don’t know what you’re gonna get. You go in there and things are so different.

Like there’s a stripper pole, there’s a disco ball. There’s a couch. That’s shaped like lips. You know, it’s just something so different, you know? So that’s what I specialize in. Over the weekend. I just started on a children’s daycare center where each room is gonna be themed. There’ll be a multi-purpose room, like a little town.

So I love [00:15:00] just doing something that’s Instagram-worthy because we live in a time now where people don’t wanna go to red lobster, they don’t wanna go to olive garden. They want to support the underdog. That is a minority experimental restaurant owner. So if your restaurant isn’t Instagram worthy people, aren’t gonna go.

So basically the restaurants that I design are where guys want to, you know, take a picture with their cigars or the girls to want to, wear their cute dresses and pose or whatever, and to show people, this is where we were this weekend. You weren’t there, so you are square. So those are the types, of places that I design.

Really experimental Instagram worthy so that when clients come or your customers come, they will take pictures, upload ’em on the internet and do all of the marketing for you. That’s what I design.

[00:15:47] Marker

Alicja: Okay. That’s awesome. Now, how did you find your way to that?

Xena: Ha I found my way to that because when I was working at architectural firms it was a very condescending environment. So a lot of people don’t know it, but architectural [00:16:00] firms are huge buildings where you’re stuck in a cubicle with like 199 more designers and your head is down and you just pass red lines and you’re not really on a design team.

You’re doing whatever they hand you. So the principles of the firm, come up with the cool design and they pass it off to you to just do the CAD work. And oftentimes what they think is a cool design, it’s not. And a lot of us millennials, don’t have any say. I don’t know what it is with older architects where they feel like we have to be hazed.

Or something, or like, I don’t, I don’t know. We have to go through some type of struggle and they’re losing so much money and so many potential clients because they’re not taking advantage of younger, fresh talent. But a lot of older architects will literally die with the baton in their head because they don’t wanna pass it along to the new talent.

And I don’t know it, but the movie the lion king was done by interns and it became the most successful Disney movie of all [00:17:00] time. And it’s because they finally just let the younger talent try something different. And that’s very, very rare. So, I never got the chance where they would let me try anything.

So what I started doing was started practicing at home and then I would take the renderings, which are like a 3d. Picture of like what video game software of a building. And I would tape it around my cubicle. And then one day someone came by and was like, whoa, “you did that?” And I was like, yeah. And then another day someone came, “you did that?”

I’m like, yeah, I had these capabilities the whole time, which is why you hired me. And when I got here, you don’t let me do anything. And yet I can do this, you know, and it got to a point where they started letting me do it a little bit, but I literally had to start my own company and market myself on the internet so that people can see, oh, I can go to her.

And she’s talented because if I would’ve stayed, at those big firms. I would never be able to do what I’m doing right now. I literally just had to say, you know what, I’m not gonna play this game and kiss, [00:18:00] butt, and let all of my talents go away to the point where all of my chakras turn gray and I end up like the rest of these miserable people at this architectural firm I have to go.

And that’s what I did. I dipped.

[00:18:12] Marker

Alicja: Well, you know, historically architecture was a trade. It wasn’t really a profession and at least it had the premise. You did have to go through an initiation of sorts. You needed to apprentice for a ridiculous amount of time in order for you to be sanctioned or able to practice.

And you were under the tutelage of your mentor for, you know, some 15, 20 years. So that stigma or that kind of historical reference. It lends itself to what, you know, you experienced. It’s not uncommon. I’ve been in those practices as a junior designer, and I’ve seen how younger architects were absolutely miserable.

And just basically, you know, doing all [00:19:00] the leg work for the visionary, who is the principal or the principles. So I can completely relate and you know, I’m thinking to myself, my God, I’m so glad I didn’t go into architecture. Cause these people all to look so miserable.

Xena: They are

[00:19:12] Marker Material Selection

Dee: You already spoke about how you balance the energy you use, all the different chakras. And you make sure you put those crystals in that space for the colors so people can feel consciously or unconsciously.

How do you go about selecting the materials for your spaces?

Xena: Well one thing that I really like about the professional services, whether you’re a lawyer, a doctor, or an architect, you have to have continuing education credits. Like you have to stay up to date on what’s happening.

You have to have a certain amount of hours to keep your license active. So with Architecture, we have something called lunch and learn where different companies will bring in material. And we’ll see what’s the newest and what’s the latest. And I’m not sure if you guys have been to Atlanta, Georgia, there’s a place called Atlantic station.

And the whole Atlantic [00:20:00] station, the exterior bricks are not exterior bricks. They’re actually styrofoam. So if you touch ’em, you’ll say, whoa, this is styrofoam. So I wouldn’t know anything about that. If it wasn’t for lunch and learns, they came and brought the materials. And that can save maybe a quarter of the budget, you know, just by using that material or a kalwall that’s the material.

If you ever see a building that’s like glow in a dark at night or like Christmas time, it suddenly has like a Christmas tree on the outside of you like, how did the windows turn into a Christmas tree? How did it turn into like gay pride? Well, basically that’s kalwall and you can turn it into any color.

And it will reduce the cost of a building by like one third. Oh my God. I say on top of it, when it comes to lunch and learns and just going out and just seeing the new materials that are available because I believe that form follows function. It’s okay for things to be pretty, but they need to have a function.

I’m all about what is this material going to do for the building. How is it gonna save money? And then be beautiful kind. Like if you read the Bible and you [00:21:00] see the seven days that it took for God to make the earth, notice that everything God put here had a function. It just so happened to be aesthetically beautiful, but it was like, you know, he divided the land from the water and well, first let there be light.

It was, everything had a function and then the aesthetics came later. So when I select the material, I’m not just looking to say, oh, that’s pretty. I’m gonna say, how will this help the building? How will it reduce the budget? How will this help with building security? How will this help with the structure to make sure it’s safe and sound?

And again, I’m always on top of it, I’m a life learner and I just keep learning about new materials.

[00:21:39] Marker Professional Organizations and Minority Business Enterprise

Alicja: I was just gonna say that that’s important for every profession, but I really appreciate that you take it seriously. And I know in order to maintain your license and your, credentials, you do have to do that. And we do that for interior design as well, but any profession is pretty much, required to do CEUs or continuing education units.

Do you feel that your affiliation [00:22:00] with the architectural organization has helped you or hindered you?

Xena: Oh, well, I believe professional organizations are very, very important, as long as they are increasing your bottom line.

I know there are a lot of professional organizations that people can join and then it’s just money, money, money going out of the door, you know, so I think the most beneficial organization that I’m affiliated with is the urban land institute. I just graduated from project reap and project reap is for minorities getting into real estate development.

And I’m switching now from architecture to real estate development because my clients make way more money than me. So this cohort that has graduated from we had instructors from McDonald’s. Starbucks JP Morgan and chase J L L C B R E. And they were teaching me how to become a developer. And that was the best money that I have spent in my life.

And I tell people all the time. When you join these organizations, it’s not just for you to chit-chat and network. How is this going to increase your bottom line? [00:23:00] For instance, Noma is the national organization of minority architects. Something that I really wish Noma would talk about is like, How African American designers, interior and architecture can make more money.

For instance, there’s an issue where when developers come to us and they need an MBE basically a black firm, they will receive a tax credit, but the cash 22 with that is the black firm. We have to be a sub. We cannot be prime. So you’re giving us an incentive to be able to get more work.

However, we still have to work for, the group of people that have oppressed us for 500 years. So I just feel that when you join Noma and we have the Noma conference and things like that, where we’re drinking and dancing and chit-chatting. If I’m paying money to go to this conference, why aren’t we having a meeting about this issue with the MBE, making us be subs and not Primes so that the client gets the tax credit.

We need to have productive [00:24:00] meetings so that we can walk away with something to present, to AIA and something to present to urban land Institute. If I’m paying money to join these organizations. How is it going to solve problems? I don’t need friends. I need money so I just, wish more minorities understood that because when I joined organizations that are not for minorities, every meeting is about making money, but when you join organizations that are minority based, it’s never about making money. So I just hate to just say it like that. But as minorities, we need to do better with our organizations, the purpose, and what’s going to be the outcome. And how can we measure the outcome of the conference?

Alicja: I appreciate that perspective and

Dee: wow. Yeah,

Alicja: It takes a millennial to say it. I mean, I’ve been saying it forever, but nobody was trying to hear it. . I mean, you know, I’ve spent, well, I stopped, but I’ve spent a lot of money over the years, joining and affiliating and still not being accepted or affiliated.

Right. And so I’d still have to go [00:25:00] to other organizations or something outside of my exposure and affiliate myself. And then that wasn’t always well received either. So I think you’re right. If we can, as a minority, collective really. Figure out that we’ve got to help each other make money. Like that’s what we have to do.

And that’s what we’re getting together for. Like you say, we’re not friends, we don’t need to be buds. We have our own circles. This is about trying to advance us in a profession and trying to make us more knowledgeable. So I think that’s excellent. So good to hear.

[00:25:33] Marker When to Hire an Architect and Beware of General Contractors

Dee: Our podcast is really all about wellness and it’s all about how you can live in your home, more beneficial to your health. We talk about materials. We talk about indoor air quality. We talked before about, the difference between interior designers, stylists, and decorators.

Now we want to inform people when they need an [00:26:00] architect and when they need a designer, Alicja and I are always saying that we think when people are buying houses or about to work with a builder. Who’s not an architect, just basically a contractor who has some ideas. We always say that it’s useful to bring someone with more expertise that can help, I’ve seen a lot of builds that there are ways that could have helped the client live more

easily. And stuff like that. So my question for you, Xena, is can you tell our audience, when is the best time to hire an architect

and what can an architect do for their project, as opposed to just working like a contractor?

Xena: So I’ll say this first thing. If you’re doing commercial, number one, you talk to an architect before you talk to anyone. If you talk to a builder before you talk to an architect, you’re going to get scammed. I’m just gonna give it to you honestly. And raw, [00:27:00] a lot of general contractors are out and about.

And they will smile and build a rapport with you. Please know that general contractors are often like car salesmen. They’re the ones that are out there. And they will act like they can stamp drawings and do this and that, but they can’t do any of that. They can’t build anything without plans. You have to come to an architect first.

They’re not gonna tell you that they’re gonna charge your ridiculous fee and they’re gonna get over on you. It’s like a town with no Sherrif, how will you know, so you need to get an inspector and an architect to go out there and look at the property. See if you can use the property for that use. Based on the inspection and the architect’s writeup.

You give that information to your attorney. Your attorney looks over everything and negotiates with the broker on the fee, and then you get everything designed. The architect passes the plans off to the general contractor, the general contractor builds and the architect oversees the GC with construction administration to make sure the project is carried out with quality on time and within budget.

When we’re talking residential. Oftentimes an architect is not [00:28:00] required to stamp residential plans. However, if you’re going to build from scratch, I still think that you should have an architect as a consultant to come out there and do the same thing, the same process. You wanna have an environmental specialist check out the ground, check out everything, to look for any unforeseen things.

That’s what we call due diligence. And so you wanna go out there and just pay that architect to walk around with you, and then you wanna, pay that architect to draw things up. Oftentimes they get floor plans that are pre-made, but that may not fit your home. For instance, if you see this window behind me, what we have is called 2.5 times, H , H is the height.

So the height of the window times 2.5, letting you know how much sunlight is gonna go into the space. So if the window is five feet high, multiply that by 2.5, that’s how much sunlight is gonna come into the space. I’ve seen so many times where people say, you know what? That room gets, no sunlight.

And that’s because they got a pre-made floor plan from a general [00:29:00] contractor. Put it somewhere without doing a sun study and just built the place. And I hate to see people say, I don’t know why this room is so hot. It’s because you just went straight to a general contractor and you did not get an architect to help you again, form follows function.

You need to see how that land is positioned. What’s around it? Even with the trees you have de deciduous trees, deciduous trees, shed the leaves in the winter and it brings the leaves in the summertime. So guess what? In the summertime, if you have a deciduous tree in front of a window, that’s going to block a lot of the heat and sunlight and it will lower your energy bill for cooling.

you know, and in the wintertime, those trees are bald. So it lists in the sunlight, in the heat. So it’s gonna lower your utility bill by adding heat. But a lot of general contractors don’t know the information. They just want your money. That’s it. And I promise you all general contractors know this, a lot of general contractors don’t like us because we’re governed by AIA and we can’t scam [00:30:00] the general contractors.

Aren’t really governed as much as with a professional career. So they’re just out to get your money and I’ve seen so many bad things happen with these general contractors. So please, please, please just pay the $1,000 just to get an architect to oversee the project and you will get so much more bang and satisfaction from your new home.

I promise you it’s worth the investment.

A vast majority of General contractors are not good interior decorators or interior designers and that’s just the truth. They will do it because they want to. So you don’t go to the bread man to cut your meat. You go to a butcher for that.

You really need to work with the people. If that’s their job description, hire an interior designer, it will be worth the investment. don’t just trust your GC to do everything just because they say they can. It doesn’t mean that they’re gonna do it with quality. They can do it, but are they gonna do it quality, hire the people that are supposed to be doing these things.

Dee: Oh my gosh. I’ve walked into so many [00:31:00] homes that could have been improved, you know, it’s just like you said, to save money and energy, interior designers, we learned a lot of the same things that architects learn, right?

We need to know how to speak the same language we’re gonna take care of the inside. You guys are taking care of the outside. We’re working together to make sure everything is placed. So once we are inside the building, it looks good from the inside and outside that Is so important for people to understand

that, A lot of times they’re just building off of other bad builds that they’ve been through. So things that they’ve seen in the past, they think that’s how it works. And so they just continue this cycle of these bad buildings, unless they have an interior designer on their team. Some of them do have interior designers and architects on their team that they can defer to.

But a lot of times, like you said, they don’t, and then people are kind of stuck with it. Wanting to redo their homes. And then the designer comes in and tells them that they need to change so much if they [00:32:00] want this, this and this, where it could have been avoided. Like you said, a thousand bucks just to get an architect to be like, no, no, no.

Or yes, yes. Yes.

Alicja: Very good advice. Very, very good advice.

A lot of times they present themselves as authorities on this stuff. And a lot of times people just go along with it cuz they don’t know any better. So I think it’s our job to really educate and inform because so many people don’t know that that is not where the buck stops. Like you do not have to go with every recommendation that your builder gives you.

Xena: 1000%, but you have to understand the GC is out there. So when people pull up, they see the GC, but they don’t see us. Okay. We’re inside drawing in air conditioning. So the general contractor is on the front lines. So whatever they say is what people are gonna believe because they don’t see us.

And I don’t know what it is with people who didn’t go to college, having this beef with people who went to college, I wish that would just stop, you know, and. It’s good to learn things in a [00:33:00] classroom from adjunct professors that are, you know, doing this. So that we don’t go out and make mistakes and cost people their money and their time.

So please stop bashing the college graduates that learn this stuff in the classroom so that we won’t have to learn it with your money and your time. And again, the general contractor is out there in the hot sun and they’re the person that you see. That’s why they’re gonna do all the talking and scamming.

You don’t get a chance to see us. That’s really what’s happening.

[00:33:27] Marker Appreciation wrap up

Dee: Thank you so much. For taking the time to speak to us, I’m so glad that we were introduced and that we met you. I feel like we can probably come back again and, you know, have another chat about some stuff.

Alicja: Awesome. Good points. Fabulous.

Yeah. I think there’s more to discuss. I think there’s so much more to unpack and I’d love the opportunity if you’ll have us to do that again in the future.

Thank you. We appreciate you even bringing that up.

[00:33:54] Marker How to Find Xena

Dee: Xena we didn’t even say where you’re located. If you don’t mind telling people where you [00:34:00] located and how they can reach out to you, people are gonna need you, especially a lot of people are doing Airbnbs So that they can make money, and I know you do the Airbnb experiences.

So give everybody your spiel and let ’em know how to find you.

Xena: Sure. My office is located in the chocolate city of Atlanta, Georgia, but I actually reside in Beverly Hills, California. So I am a true Beverly Hill, Billy. Like I came from the country and moved to Beverly Hills, California, but my firm is still in Atlanta, so I’m back and forth once a month. So if you need me, you can just search on the internet, hashtag architect bae, or just Google Xena Stryker my website is xenadesignfirm.com.

We designed all over the United States of America. And we’re licensed in the state of Georgia, but within NCARB (National Council of Architectural Registration Boards), we can just pay our fees to be licensed in a different state. If the project is large enough. If the project is not large enough, we’ll do something called JV, which is a joint venture, meaning we’ll just partner with an [00:35:00] architectural firm.

That’s licensed in that state and we’ll just JV the project and do it with that firm. And they will stamp and do construction administration, but we’ll be involved from start to finish. We just started doing something in The Bahamas. It doesn’t matter the state. We can get there and get you going. We have a great relationship.

Because again, we’re urban land Institute, Noma. We have a pool of different people that we can JV projects with.

I have been offered a design show on the number one network for design shows. I’m not sure if I’m gonna stick around with them or shop to other networks. So you can definitely see me on television very, very soon discussing the things we’ve discussed today.

[00:35:38] Marker

Dee: That is amazing. Yeah, we didn’t touch on that. But when that show happens, we’ll have you back so that you can tell us all about it. I’m sure everybody who’s listening will be watching by that time, if you did not catch it all, we’re gonna make sure that everything’s in the show notes.

So be sure to check your show notes and that way you can reach out to Xena.

Xena: I love you ladies.

[00:36:00] It’s not often that I have this circle of women, when I was working at architectural firms I was the only African American female with over 200 employees. And I’m not talking about the year 1890, I’m talking about 2020. So to be in a safe space like this, it is very, very, rare that I can speak to interior designers and we can just have this type of lingo and conversation. So I thank you, two ladies for creating this space. And I want other young girls to be able to see this because, you know, growing up, we had TV shows like, “Living Single”, where you saw Maxine Shaw attorney at law and girls went off and became lawyers because of living single, you know, but growing up, I didn’t have this, you know, the closest thing I saw was Wesley Snipes in the movie jungle fever when he played an architect and that was a fictional character. And honestly. I can’t think of, anything with an interior designer that was a black female.

Maybe there was something out there, but the issue that I [00:37:00] can’t even think of it is a problem, you know? So I thank you two ladies for creating this space because you don’t know who’s listening that may say, I didn’t think I could do it until I heard Dee and Alicja and Xena. And now I know I have a seat at the table, so thank you two ladies for that.

Dee: Yes, it was so great to meet you. Thank you, everyone. For listening to today’s episode of tea over interiors, don’t forget. Check us out. At http://www.teaoverinteriors.com, where you can also find this episode and listen to it again and read the transcript. If you are not able to listen and we will see you next week. Thank you so much for listening.

Alicja: Thank you so much.

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