Interior Designers
Les Bernabi

Mar 25, 2011
Interior Designers

Director of Design - Ciao Design/Ciao Interiors

Areas of Specialty
- Interior Design
- Architectural Services
- Project Management

Designer Q&A with Les

What is your design philosophy?
Keep it simple. Keep your eyes and ears open. We are not going to live in our client’s space when we finish, so no matter what we may think or like we need to make sure that our clients enjoy their home or spaces when the job is done.

What led you to this career?
While in the yacht and sail business, I met my partner and wife whose firm specialized in yacht interior design. She convinced me that I should take my experience in yacht and sail design and move it to home design. We moved from the east coast to the mountain west and opened Ciao Interiors, specializing in cutting-edge interior design.

What has been your favorite project and why?
The Lakeside Club Retreat one of our most recent projects has been a fun and memorable one. We were fortunate that we had a great client along with a fabulous general contractor and a host of sub-contractors, which added icing to the cake. Our firm provided the architecture, interior design, landscape design, and furnishings for this award-winning Montana mountain home. It was awarded the “Overall Judge’s Choice Award” in Montana’s largest parade of homes event this past year.

Tell us about your most challenging project.
Our most challenging projects emanated, as usual, from a tight deadline project. This project had a three-month schedule to be completed for a 4th of July party for 1,000+ guests.
We had to remodel a 3800-square foot living room, dining, and kitchen area of a 13,000-square foot home that had been cobbled together over a span of 20 years. When we peeled back the structure we found a crumbling basement area full of mold and structural problems. To compound those problems there was a deficient roof structure and framing system attempting to hold it up. Add a demanding client with a tight budget all adding up to a challenge of major proportion. We managed to complete the project on time and within budget.

What is your design process?
We first interview the prospective client and then if we decide that we can meet their goals and objectives, we move on to the next step. It starts with a written agreement outlining the objectives, goals, plan, time frame, and budget for the project. After finalizing these important first steps, it makes it easier to complete the process, by following the road map we and the client have already laid out.

Contact Information
Ciao Design
448 Main Street
Kalispell, MT 59901

This photo gives an overall view of finished home with a melding of landscaping, exterior finish as highlighted by its lighting design.