Vendor Spotlight: Joshua Jones of Kehoe Designs

Joshua Jones, Kehoe Designs, event design, vendor spotlight

Name: Joshua Jones

Title/Position: Event Producer at Kehoe Designs

Specialty: As a company, we have a diverse team of designers, technicians, and artisans that have allowed us to specialize in many different arenas. Personally, my passion lies in creative conceptualization and building relationships with my clients – helping them curate a striking event concept that represents who they are. Whether it’s a beautiful wedding, a high-concept social event, or a branded corporate environment, I have a passion for telling the client’s story through the makings of a living, breathing event.

CHEZ: How long have you been in the events industry?
J.J.: I have always been fascinated with design and transforming spaces. As a kid, I was obsessed with rearranging vignettes in my grandparent’s furniture store and getting so excited about lighting the taper candles during family dinners (I was an odd kid! Haha). As a teenager, I set up events in the hospitality industry and organically got my foot in the design door through the catering side where I realized how much I loved working with clients, while also understanding flow and process. Transforming spaces became my passion, and my education and experience in interiors was where I learned the art of environmental storytelling. Of course, event design was a natural progression from the interior design world as I am always fascinated with the next big creative challenge and the immense conceptualization that brings an event to life. Today, I am blessed to be a part of a team that creates such incredible set designs for our clients.

CHEZ: Describe what you/your company does in one sentence?
J.J.: Kehoe Designs is an innovative, full-service event décor and design company specializing in luxury weddings, corporate, experiential and social events.

CHEZ: What sets you/your company apart from others?
J.J.: Kehoe Designs at its core is about loyalty and trust. We have high standard of character and it shows in our talented team and in our work. Our strong culture allows us to design with courage, and by that, I mean we take our creative challenges very seriously; we believe original design is the solution our clients are always looking for.

CHEZ: What is your most memorable moment from past events?
J.J.: Emotional reactions tend to stick with me; my heart melted recently when our bride cried tears of joy when she walked into our design/floral mockup (and that was just the mockup!). I find the most satisfaction in bringing an abstract concept into vivid reality and blowing past our client’s wildest expectations.

CHEZ: What event trends do you love right now?
J.J.: Metallics! Warm mixed metals, whether vintage brass, champagne, coppery warmth or soft rose golds, are all the rage right now and have inspired entire tabletop collections, light fixtures, and furniture. Furniture! Event design is beginning to meld the worlds of the temporary space with the customization and thoughtfulness found in high-end interior design. We love introducing beautiful dining tables (wooden, mirrored, or even acrylic) that act as jewel-pieces that stand apart from the standard table and linen. Personalization! Our clients aren’t afraid to step outside the box (or at least don’t mind us helping them) from standard traditions. Whether unique textural floral, cocktail bars with personalized backdrops, or customized furniture to fit the mood of the event, I enjoy seeing our clients inject their personal brand into the creation of their one-of-a-kind events.

CHEZ: What is the most unique request a client has ever had?
J.J.: One of our corporate clients throws a huge Halloween party each year, this past year, I was asked to create a boxwood maze representative of scenes from the movie, The Shining. We get many unique requests every day, and that’s what I love about our team of in-house crafters, builders, and artisans…we can create anything and every day is a brand new adventure!

CHEZ: What does a typical event day look like for you?
J.J.: The months and weeks leading up to a big event are full of checklists and major preparation, the day of the event is where it all comes together. Once our trucks are loaded up in the early morning and hit the road for the venue, the real fun begins. On a typical day on an event setup, our talented team hits the ground running with the styling of gorgeous floral creations, implementation of beautiful textiles and furnishings, and overall space planning. You’ll see us hanging intricate ceiling treatments, constructing art installations, and rigging staging and custom dance floor designs. As a final layer, we weave in ambient and functional lighting designs to bring the spaces to life through color and texture. After we light hundreds of twinkling candles as a small finishing touch, we patiently await our client’s arrival and watch their eyes light up with excitement as they walk into the room!

CHEZ: Name three things you couldn’t live without (besides the obvious!)
J.J.: Besides my family and friends who give my life meaning, three playful things that bring a smile to my face are: 1. A pair of antique brass cobra candlesticks that I purchased online. 2. My Kevin Murphy paste to keep my coif in check!  3. A fragrant bundle of Hermione peonies freshly arranged on my coffee table.

CHEZ: Name three things people probably don’t know about you:
J.J.: 1. I’m a native southerner from Northwest Arkansas where I learned the true meaning of graciousness and southern hospitality, however, I’ve always loved the energy of a big city (I guess I’m a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll). 2. My partner and I met at the ripe old age of 20 years old, and we’ll have been on our shared adventure for 13+ years in April of 2017. 3. I’m the proud father of a needy and loveable multi-toed Hemingway cat who, in her spare time, enjoys a relaxing hand (mitten) massage.

CHEZ: What is the best piece of advice you can give someone planning an event?
J.J.: Hire a well-respected design professional that can take the load of event creation off of your hands. You’ll be happy you delegated the task to capable hands that will allow you to enjoy your event (not work it), your pocketbook will be thrilled that you invested wisely, and your guests will be excited to experience an event that was put together with a creative team of talented artists who elevated your personal brand and overall experience.

CHEZ: What do you love about Chez?
J.J.: Chez is one of my absolute favorite venues. Not only do I adore the lovely team who really care about their clients and community, but from a historical viewpoint, the space has a sparkling past that vibrates through the walls. The physical space is the perfect white palette for layering décor elements…an event designer’s dream. The exposed painted brick, modern light fixtures, and gorgeous glass staircase intermix the perfect blend of vintage nostalgia with contemporary sophistication.

Thank you Joshua! We can’t wait to see what beautiful designs you create for your next event at Chez.

Photography by Averyhouse (L), and Kehoe Designs (R)

 

 

Vendor Spotlight: Kent Drake Morien of Kent Drake Photography

kent drake photographyName: Kent Drake Morien / Kent Drake Photography

Title/Position: Owner/Photographer

Specialty: Wedding & Decor Photography

CHEZ: How long have you been in the events industry?
K.D.M: I photographed my first wedding in 2009 for a friend out of state, and basically came home and started my business. It was a slow and organic building process from the beginning, as I had only lived in the city for a year at that point and was taking my hobby and creating a profession out of it. So much has happened in the last 7 years, and it’s all built on a solid and evolving portfolio combined with amazing vendor relationships.

CHEZ: Describe what you/your company does in one sentence?
K.D.M: Create timeless photography and bespoke experiences for people in love.

CHEZ: What sets you/your company apart from others?
K.D.M: I was fortunate to stumble across a natural photographic ability only after spending my educational years focused on business and working exclusively in the service industry to that point. Only after circumstance did I pick up a camera, and a hobby was born. When I look at how I was able to marry all three of these elements into my own business with the driving force coming from multiple angles, my desire to provide impeccable service is paramount. The art my couples receive is personalized and unique to their experience, and my attention to them on a service level will never go unnoticed. Trust is built from day one through dependency and a strong rapport, which allows me to be creative when it matters most.
Lastly, I’ve specialized in shooting decor photography for the last five years. I’ve been able to shoot nearly 150 custom and often lavish designs, mastering my approach and technical ability in a wide variety of venues and conditions. Floral and decor is a huge part of a wedding budget, and I love being able to capture a room with incredible accuracy and detail. I take great pride in providing superior portfolio material for some the cities leading designers, venues and planners.

CHEZ: What is your most memorable moment from past events?
K.D.M: Two part answer.
Part One: I started shooting exclusively for friends, but over time as my business grew that faded away. This last April I was able to photograph for my most longstanding friend in the industry, who opened so many doors for me as we grew in this city. I was able to photograph her proposal, engagement and wedding in just over a year’s time, and it felt like this incredible culmination to spend the entire day with together and see her beautiful design concepts come to life. Brittanie Navarro of HMR Designs, thank you for letting me be a part of your story.

Part Two: This is strictly personal and much more broad in concept. I remember for the first few years of shooting weddings, moments between the parents & newlyweds, were just another element of the day. However, when shortly after having my daughter and 1st child 3.5 years ago, these father/daughter dances and toasts suddenly felt personal. I now saw myself in their shoes, seeing some of the deepest human emotions on display time and time again. I now share moments with fathers and explain that I picture myself in their shoes, and they always come back with “life goes by too fast.” Having children in general has changed my thought process about life, of course, but what these days mean to everyone involved. It’s so much work raising children, you literally live for these milestones. It is an absolute privilege to jump into the lives of strangers for such momentous occasions, it truly is a constant reward system that will never grow old.

CHEZ: What event trends do you love right now?
K.D.M: To be honest, in this city, it is the incredible diversity in venues and spaces. I look at Chez, which offers this incredibly clean and modern concept, but right down the road we have some of the most historic and ornate buildings in American history right there for the taking. Push a little further, and you have amazing repurposed buildings that provide when you put it all together offers this incredible eclectic variety that lets events continue to be creative and unique. I truly see the birth of new spaces as a driving force for personalized events that need not be “trendy.”

If you want to speak to trends on a fashion level, I love seeing guys taking bold steps in their formal attire. Whether it’s a vibrant dinner jacket, shawl or peaked lapels, double breasted or even just wearing a midnight blue tuxedo. Anything a guy can do to stand out from his groomsman that isn’t just in the tie and pocket square, is a trend I can get behind.

CHEZ: What is the most unique request a client has ever had?
K.D.M: You know, it’s odd, but for the life of me I can’t think of anything! Boring answer alert…

CHEZ: What does a typical event day look like for you?
K.D.M: Focusing, walking, talking, posing, smiling, laughing, reflecting and never sitting unless I’m eating, which I may or may not do.

CHEZ: Name three things you couldn’t live without (besides the obvious!)
K.D.M: Photographically: 1: My main camera body: 170,000 photos to date with that one alone. 2: My 2nd shooter: Invaluable to have help throughout the day. 3: My Suit & shoe collection: Look good, feel good, simple as that. Professionally: 1: Planners. 2: Catering & Venue Directors. 3: Cell Phones.

CHEZ: Name three things people probably don’t know about you.
K.D.M: 1: I’m a stay at home dad of two (3.5 & 1.5), and have built this business while raising them both. It truly is a gift to have the time with them and a thriving professional life at the same time. 2: I lived in Japan for two years before Chicago, which is where my passion for photography developed and I learned it was the one thing that came most naturally to me in my life. 3: At this point, my wife and I have been together for over half of our lives, 16 years from 16 years old!

CHEZ: What is the best piece of advice you can give someone planning an event?
K.D.M: Hire a coordinator, especially in this city. Unless you plan events for a living, it is a task that you may not have a true grasp of until you really start digging in. Lean on the advice of those in the industry you trust, and they will do right by for sure. We are a wonderful community of vendors who just want to make our clients and couples happy.

CHEZ: What do you love about Chez?
K.D.M: Without a doubt, it’s the design. You can make the space whatever you want it to be. I said from the first second I walked in there, that I would move in if they’d let me!

Thank you Kent! We have thoroughly enjoyed working with you on the many events you’ve photographed at Chez and look forward to more upcoming events.

Photography by Michelle Weeks of Spoon Photo & Design (L), Kent Drake Photography (R)

Rachel & AJ’s Summer Wedding

Rachel & AJ began their beautiful summer wedding day getting ready at Loews Hotel and Pinstripes. As Rachel and her bridesmaids were pampered, AJ and his groomsmen headed to JP Burke’s to have a few drinks before heading over to the ceremony at St. Alphonsus. After an emotional ceremony and some photos around town, the couple and their guests headed to Chez to continue their celebration. The room was transformed with the help of Art of Imagination, Fleur du Jour, and Jewell Events Catering. Every second of the day was thoughtfully planned by Events by L, and each memory was captured by Michelle Lytle. Congratulations Rachel and AJ!
1blog2345689St. Alphonsus wedding ceremonywedding photoescort card tablewedding reception entrancechicago wedding receptionhead tablehead tablehead tabletablescape, chicago weddingwedding cakebridal suite, chez chicagogrand entrance, glass staircase, chez chicagogrand entrance, chicago wedding, chez chicagofirst dance, chicago weddingPhotography: Michelle Lytle | Floral: Fleur du Jour | Design: Art of Imagination | Caterer: Jewell Events Catering