Reality television can make it seem like design and renovation are faster and easier than they genuinely are. Chad Esslinger knows this firsthand as a designer on an episode of HGTV’s House Hunters Renovation a few years ago. He also knows otherwise. Working in the industry for the last 27 years, he understands good design is a marathon and not a sprint.

Although his first 14 years were in the corporate product design world, he followed his personal mantra – and Nike slogan – “Just Do It” and gambled on himself to pursue his passion. He launched his own design studio in 2011. Fueled by his burning desire to work for himself, what started as a combination of freelance product design and small residential design projects has morphed into a successful interior design, decorating, and remodeling business. Today, his clients reside all over Chicagoland, and he works virtually with several out-of-state clients.

According to Chad, “Not too many dads do what I do. I bring a family man perspective to my projects, focusing not only on what is aesthetically pleasing but also practical, functional, meaningful, and enduring.” He understands that homes are a reflection of the owner’s needs and personalities and helps them achieve a unique and personal look that is both classic and timeless. “People do not want the same look as their neighbor, and good design infuses personality and character into homes, creating a distinctive space.”

Looking back, Chad has no regrets about launching a venture in design. Although balancing his successful business with home life can be tricky at times, his passion endures. Building his company did not happen overnight. “I took my time learning about the industry over the years, and I am honored to be able to help so many people with their homes.”■