I started Leslie Saul & Associates on December 21, 1992, almost 25 years ago. I had been a principal in a large architecture firm, where I led the interiors/interior architecture group. I felt as if my job was to keep the senior folks happy and I missed the direct connection to the everyday work of design.
It may be a gift or a curse, but I can walk into a space and see the possibilities. I can visualize the completed project. Once I listen to the clients talk about their wants, needs, challenges and look at images of things they like and don’t like, this vision of what the space can be comes into sharper focus. When we do large projects, we are usually doing these listening sessions with big groups of people, but the motivation is the same, and the results reflect who the client is and what they need and want.
How can we improve the space aesthetically, but more importantly, how can we make the space “work” better for the people who work, play, age, live and learn in those spaces? People are not alike, visually, physically, emotionally, and intellectually. People have differing dreams, politics, cultures, religions, styles, and budgets, so WHY DO SO MANY PROJECTS IN THE DESIGN MAGAZINES LOOK ALIKE??!!
I want to help create space that is customized for its use, its occupants, its purpose and its limitations, I want to make it fit like it’s tailor-made…and, maybe because my dad was a CPA, be within an appropriate budget.
I started out as an artist, a painter and drawer, but after spending a year between high school and college working and studying abroad, I realized that I’m a people person, and that I probably wouldn’t be happy working alone in my garret studio. When I returned to Rhode Island School of Design I became an architecture major.
When I started this firm, I knew that I needed to find really good people – people who have more than design skills, and who want to do the right thing for the client, community, and for future generations. I also knew that I needed people who would fill in for my weaknesses. I had no interest in being a sole practioner, because I wanted to do the best work possible, and that means teamwork.
Suma Greenwald was my first employee in January of 1993. She was good at so many things, including how to deal with people and vendors. She is genuinely interested in people and is dedicated to pursuing the right thing for every project. She has impeccable taste. Suma is our Senior Interior Designer and furniture specialist.
Monique Jankowski joined us in 1998. She is gifted on both sides of the brain – she has both design and organizational skills. Monique is the master list maker – and she works with steam coming out of her ears: efficiently and effectively. Monique is our Senior Project Manager and architectural designer.
The firm has grown and contracted over the years based on our workload, and we call these alumni of LS&A our friends and family. Together, for almost 25 years, we have designed projects large and small for clients large and small. The slogan of one of my granddaughter’s favorite TV shows, Paw Patrol, fits us (excuse the slight modification): “No job is too big, no design firm is too small. LS&A to the rescue!” Please call us whether your project is big or small.