A ‘Thank You 2023’ Letter
‘Dear Amazing person,
Grab a drink, sit back, and let’s catch up! I’ve emerged from my hibernation from the past week, bursting with energy to share some of the highlights of 2023 with you.
Since 2020, the most challenging year for anyone, I started to give my clients a ‘thank you’ gift at the end of the year. A ‘thank you’ for their trust, a ‘thank you’ to let their spaces be designed and created by my expertise and creativity. But most importantly, at the end of the process, they all will say, ‘I feel like myself in my own space’. For residential, to commercial to even hospitality spaces. This year I skipped the gift giving. But my ‘thank you’ is still valid for the amazing projects and connections I had this past year of 2023. In the coming months, I will follow through though.
One of the commercial offices that we finished this year was Veterinary Clinic Sta. Maria at their new location at Jan Noorduynweg. It was a project to be playful but still with the idea that it’s an office space. Their clients were happy to see a new upgraded space to be welcomed in and my clients grateful for their new modern space to work in. One of the doctors told me that what amazed him was that I really listened to their requests and put that all together into what they have there now. He’s never experienced that. Having also a great contractor to work with was a good part of completing this design. My gratefulness goes to Ramses & Emanuel Martinez of Ramses General Construction N.V. for always communicating with me and always exploring the best outcome for the client.
CURACAO TOURIST BOARD
One other project that was a delight to do, was the renovation of the lobby of Curacao Tourist Board in Pietermaai (this one will be soon on the website). If you’ve ever been, you’ll know that the space wasn’t the grand representation of the great office that it is. They were not ‘feeling it for themselves’ anymore. As they are located in a monumental building, extra issues arise and precautions were needed to renovate this space. Some elements of design were changed throughout the construction phase to have a better client experience. My appreciation goes to Wensley Rier of Mahok Construction Company for being a trusted sidekick throughout this process of renovation. As we were former colleagues, we already know each other’s way of thinking. But now working together with our own companies, we still managed to leave something great behind. This, of course, could only happen because we already had a great working relationship.
Another project that was a trip to work on, was a residential (but also a rental property to others) project at the Blue Bay The Reef complex. The owners found me on google. Even though I worked really hard to make my website visible in the Caribbean atmosphere, I’m still a bit skeptical when foreigners reach out. I mean, are they real? Is this a scam? And luckily for me, these lovely people were real. This lovely Polish couple who have called the US their home for many years, became in love with the island. But they needed someone to create their Caribbean home for them. This is where CASA LUNA was born.
The apartment was very ‘Dutch European’ styled (more about that in another letter) and they didn’t feel the warmth of it. This turned out to be a whole makeover (almost a renovation if I think about it) to create eventually the WOW factor, we as designers, lose sleep over it. And once again, this time with my own team of tradesmen, that I can vouch for every time and I CAN TRUST they will do their work as intended, my gratefulness and appreciation goes to Angela Richardson (painter & wallpaper installer), Chris Hooi of C.L.J.H. Electrical Solutions and Vergil Sebastiana of VESEB Interieur Bouw. This was my team of all-nighters, and they went the extra mile when it was needed. Without them, the outcome of Casa Luna wasn’t possible.
That being said, also a huge ‘thank you’ to the other tradesmen, contractors and suppliers I worked very closely with and always helped me with something extra for the amazing outcome of each project.
Okay, are you still with me?! I’m almost done!
INTERNATIONAL PROPERTY AWARDS
Have you seen it? Yes, two international awards for Best Kitchen Design and Best Interior Website Design, issued by the International Property Awards for Curacao.
Talking about scams, this is one of the emails I was very skeptical about. Receiving an invitation to participate and submit a portfolio, my initial reaction was, ‘Who are you?!’ At first, I ignored it. A few months later, I received a similar email. I thought, ‘Let me investigate this for sure.’ After seeing that some Caribbean islands had won awards and noting that a high-end architect firm from Curacao also received recognition, I decided to take a shot and entered a kitchen project I finished two years ago. I’m so proud of that project, because it was my first official kitchen design (renovation project) and the outcome was amazing. From a outdated, dark kitchen to a ‘gimme the light’ and modern kitchen.
And, Oh MY GOD, when I received the call that my project has won (y’all, last minute for a whole portfolio from a project of 2 years ago, wasn’t easy), I was ecstatic!! So, JenPen Design Studio is officially an award-winning design studio. More on that next year….
INTERIOR DESIGN RETREAT
And last, but certainly not least, the first edition of the ‘INTERIOR DESIGN RETREAT’ is a fact. Last year I had this concept to show others how to travel like a designer, I did research in January in Medellin and in March the concept was launched. Was it sold-out? No. Was it a success? Heck yes!! After 3.5 days, I realized this wasn’t just an interior design retreat, because that wasn’t the only thing at play here. From a spa experience, to workshops, exploring unique hand-made products shops, visiting the design fair, this was way more than just interior design. This was an ‘ALL 5 SENSES DESIGN RETREAT’.
So, for the second edition it’s called ‘DESIGN RETREAT‘. It gave me so many more ideas for the second edition in 2024. And we are exploring even more with our trusted travel partner Discover Colombia Travel. And brainstorming even more about the visual outcome with Vicon Productions. It will also be 2.5 days longer, from Sunday 15th until Friday 20th, 2024.
So, if you want to be part of this unique experience, which was rated a 5-star experience by the first edition participants, then you better book your spot ASAP!! Spots are limited and we’ve put an 8 installment payment plan in place. Early bird prices are until the end of February 2024.
Click here for more information: https://