Bren Bauer

 

TBF Entrepreneurs

 

BREN BAUER

Founder and CEO, BBAUER Ventures and fortunata LIVING

 

Bren Bauer gave us an inside look at her design and interior architecture firm, from her tips to transform a room to the importance of acting like a CEO.

 

MY BACKGROUND...

After living in San Francisco as a painter, I moved to New York City and was hired by a designer renovating suites at The Carlyle Hotel. They commissioned me to paint “Sideways" in the Roger Federer Suite. This led to my expansion into high-end residential and commercial projects — and eventually the start of my own company.

 

MY ELEVATOR PITCH...

BBAUER Ventures is a boutique design and interior architecture firm in New York City. Our niche is high-end residential design, urban terrace design and hospitality projects. We are launching a line of products under our brand, fortunata LIVING, including outdoor planters and furniture.

 

THE KEY TO STARTING MY OWN BUSINESS...

My father, my entrepreneurial DNA. The key traits required are creativity, intelligence, passion, courage, drive, resiliency and the relentless pursuit of a dream.

 

THE NEXT BIG THING IN THE DESIGN INDUSTRY...

Products and materials that tell a story, express artistic originality and are made with superior quality and artisan craftsmanship. Also, multi-use urban spaces with outdoor areas that encourage city dwellers to spend time in nature.

 

I COULD NOT RUN MY BUSINESS WITHOUT...

My Nikon D7000 camera, Nespresso Le Cube machine, Moleskine notebooks, Rhodia pads, LePen and Prismacolor pens, iPad and iPhone, and apps such as CardMunch, Day One and Evernote.

 

THE BEST BUSINESS ADVICE I HAVE EVER RECEIVED...

Take calculated risks, be prepared to pivot to make critical decisions when necessary and act like a CEO — work on your business, not in your business.

 

I FIND DESIGN INSPIRATION IN...

Creating order, harmony and beauty.

 

SOMETHING I WISH I KNEW STARTING OUT...

1. The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program and the Tory Burch Foundation.

2. My most important role is Chief Financial Officer, even after I hire one.

3. Preparation for growth is much less painful than reacting to it.

4. Surround yourself with the best people and disregard the naysayers.

 

MY FAVORITE DESIGNERS ARE...

Landscape architect Thomas Woltz — part storyteller, historian, biologist, environmentalist and designer — and designer Christian Liaigre, who is a master at creating minimalist spaces that deeply connect to their environment by using local, natural materials and a palette of white and deep, earthy wood tones.

 

BEST PLACE TO GET INSPIRED...

Boutique hotels, such as the Hotel Saint Cecilia in Austin, Texas and The NoMad Hotel in New York City; Centre Georges Pompidou’s National Museum of Modern Art in Paris; local galleries and the MoMA, and well-designed restaurants while enjoying a fabulous meal and a glass of wine.

 

MY OUTDOOR HOLIDAY DESIGN...

I like to bring in magnolia wreaths, garlands and miniature evergreen trees like lemon cypress and winterberry, which has pungent red berries. For ambience, I use oversize lanterns, hurricanes and small ventless fire columns.

 

WHAT MAKES AN INDOOR SPACE FEEL FESTIVE...

Cashmere throws in holiday or earth tones, a wood-burning fire or a decorative hearth filled with glass balls, birch logs and candles. Lacquer trays look stunning with candles, bowls of olives, nuts and holiday chocolates. I lean towards reflective elements that help a space shimmer — mirrored trays, silver candleholders, sterling silver and brass pieces. Finish off the setting with great music, fabulous food, family and friends.

 

WHAT MAKES AN OUTDOOR SPACE FEEL FESTIVE…

A beautiful table setting, specialty cocktails, fresh flowers, handcrafted linens and reflective trays and candles. More importantly, it is about the people in the space who come together to celebrate.

 

MY GO-TO PIECE TO TRANSFORM A SPACE…

An art or photography installation on one wall or large-scale framed photos in the right places — I like to go big and not play it safe.