Beyond the Basics with Natalie

NatalieNatalie Wendling
Administrative Assistant

I liked that was a new industry for me. I do not have experience in the construction/home plan industry, so working at Design Basics would allow me to use my talents and experience in new and interesting ways while learning about an entirely new industry.

I love that no two days are ever the same. There is always something new to learn and I am surrounded by professionals with decades of experience.

My husband and I love to go skiing in Colorado and we wanted to share our love of the mountains with our close friends and family. We decided have a small wedding at our favorite ski resort in Colorado, which allowed us to use a venue that was mid-mountain. It is not accessible by car (only by ski, snowmobile, or off the gondola), so our guests were treated to gondola rides up and down the mountain and the wedding party took a giant snow cat. We were able to take pictures all over the mountain. It was so beautiful and a memory I will never forget.

I am currently completing my MBA, so free time isn’t something I get to experience very often. When I do have some time, I love to spend it with my husband, Ryan, and our two dogs, Winnie and Griffin. Ryan and I both love to cook and so you can usually find me in the kitchen if I am not studying. Ryan says that my favorite hobby is finding projects on Pinterest for him to complete.

I love to visit the mountains. For me, being in the mountains is the epitome of serene. Everything is so quiet and the air is crisp. I love to go skiing first thing in the morning after a night of constant snow. The world seems fresh and sparkling. On the other side of the spectrum, I absolutely love Manhattan. I love the energy of the city and that you can do anything there. You are only limited by your own imagination and work ethic. And, any place I can get an authentic gyro at 2 am is my kind of city!

I would love to visit Geneva. Geneva has the best of both worlds – unbelievable scenery while also being a global hub. It is a diplomacy magnet and houses cultures from around the world.


  • I used to competitively ride/show quarter horses.
  • My previous work experience includes working on political campaigns.
  • I am big Led Zeppelin fan.

Learn more about our Team on our Contact Us page.

Success at IBS!

Success at IBS!

Thank you to everyone that stopped by our booth at IBS – we really enjoyed visiting with you!

Here are some photos from our booth:

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We hope to see you again next year – Jan. 9-11, 2018 in Orlando.

Beyond the Basics with Michele Weaver

Michele Weaver is Design Basics’ Brand Manager, helping spread Design Basics mantra that “Great Design Matters”!

Michele WeaverYou joined the Design Basics’ team about 18 months ago as the Brand Manager. What does that entail and how have your job responsibilities evolved?
Design Basics recognized the importance of protecting the company’s innovations with trademarks. In my role, I look to ensure those marks, such as Livability at a Glance™,
Woman-Centric Matters!®,  Her Home™, and Finally About Me®, are being used correctly. The company also knew social media is where homebuyers are, and as part of our mission is helping buyers make wise, informed decisions regarding their new home, Design Basics needed a stronger social media presence.

My role within marketing is expanding now to include overseeing our trade shows, such as the IBS, our newsletters, and launching a new blog. Additionally, while I have a graduate degree in marketing communications, my undergraduate is in accounting, so I help out in our business office as needed, such as managing our staff’s expense reporting.

What do you like best about working at Design Basics?
I know this sounds like a canned answer, but with our staff size [of 10], this is truly a team atmosphere. Everybody works together; everybody pitches in to help each other. I’ve worked other places where they say it’s a “team environment,” but at Design Basics it’s true!

Design Basics utilizes [Gallup] StrengthsFinder.  What are your top strengths?
[Gallup] labels my #1 strength as “individualization.” Recognizing others’ individuality – their own unique personalities, strengths, and differences – can go a long way in creating effective teams, whether that’s at work, in volunteer committees, or leading my daughter’s Girl Scout troop. Rounding out my top five strengths are Responsibility, Input, Includer, and Arranger, which I think work well with our team.

You also took Design Basics’ Finally About Me® quiz on our website and are closest to “Elise”?
Yes! My style is traditional in almost every sense of the word. Elise is also “practical” and “family-oriented,” which describes me pretty well.

Outside of work, what do you enjoy?
I like to read mysteries and comedic fiction, plus an occasional biography as I find people and history fascinating. And, I love live theater, musicals, movies, and music. As a family, we enjoy traveling – mostly to discover new places we’ve not been to before.

What are some of your favorite places you have been?
For our honeymoon, we took a 10-day Alaskan cruise tour – it was truly amazing! Two of our most memorable family vacations were to Michigan/Wisconsin and the northern Oregon coast. We really enjoy the beautiful scenery and being outdoors, and hope to visit Yellowstone and the Tetons for our next adventure!

Name three things someone might not know about you:

  • My husband and I have been together for 26 years; we’ve been married 18 years and have two children, ages 14 and 11.
  • I used to love going to amusement parks and would ride all the rides, several times if I could. I dreamed of parasailing and skydiving. But, now just looking at the merry-go-round makes my equilibrium swoon!
  • There’s something about 80’s pop music, not to mention anything from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s, that can put me in a good mood no matter what. I openly admit to having seen Barry Manilow and Neil Diamond in concert (both excellent performers!). I also enjoy some country – Gary Allan, Kenny Chesney, Jo Dee Messina, George Strait…but, sometimes I just need to crank it up and put on some Led Zeppelin!

Learn more about Michele.

Beyond the Basics with Paul Foresman

Paul Foresman, VP of Business Development at Design Basics, LLCPaul Foresman is the VP of Business Development and oversees our Woman-Centric Matters!® program, helping builders more fully appreciate women’s preferences in home design.

You have been with Design Basics for over 25 years. How did you get here and what makes you stick around?

I had been working for an advertising agency and Design Basics was one of my accounts. After a couple years, the owner of Design Basics offered me the position as Director of Marketing. Over the years I’ve been told I am “un-hirable,” being with the same company in the same position for so long. This may or may not be true, but the opportunity to do what you really enjoy, innovate, and grow your role with a team that’s become my second family is very rewarding, so why would I even think about leaving?

What do you like best about working at Design Basics?

The learning opportunities are endless here at Design Basics and my role has expanded in so many exciting ways. Just like homeowners want open designs rather than closed-off rooms, I wouldn’t be happy in a strictly defined job doing essentially the same thing day after day.

What do you find is most fulfilling about working with our customers?

The clients I get to work with inspire us to evolve home design in profound ways that’s having a significant impact on American housing.

Tell us a little bit about how you got involved in and launched the Woman-Centric program? 

Woman-Centric Matters! was born out of years of (still ongoing) research. Also, I have a degree is in marketing research, so it was a natural fit for me. Really, it’s Marketing 101 – know thy customer. Women make most of the home buying decisions, yet most architects, engineers, builders, and construction tradespeople are men, so home design and construction has been from a decidedly male perspective. Hearing homebuyers say “You’ve thought of everything!” and “Why don’t other builders offer amenities like these?” validates the need for builders to gain an ever-increasing appreciation for women’s preferences in the home.

You are a Packers fan. How did that come about? 

I was eight years old and Green Bay was going to face Kansas City in Super Bowl I. My older brother was a Chiefs fan so I took the Packers. One of the best days of my life was finally going with my youngest son to Lambeau field and watching the Packers beat Detroit in the final game of the 2014 season to win the NFC north division.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I don’t believe in “spare time.”  We’ve only been given so many days on this earth to make a difference in people’s lives, starting with family.

Name three things someone might not know about you:

I was adopted at a young age by wonderful parents. Adopted to me means “chosen,” and I thank God for His leading in my parent’s and my life.

My wife, Cindy, and I will celebrate 34 years of marriage, and the birth of our third grandson this December.

I was very into fast cars and drag racing in high school, which kept me out of trouble – all the money I earned went into my cars!

Learn more about Paul by clicking here.

Beyond the Basics with Morgan Lewis

morgan-lewisAs a drafter and plan alterations designer, Morgan is responsible for incorporating changes to plans in accordance with customer request and architectural specifications.
What do you like best about working at Design Basics?

I really enjoy working with the team here at Design Basics. It feels much more like a family than a workplace.

What do you find is most fulfilling about working with our customers?
Being able to provide them with a finished product that they are happy with. And, I get to work with and design for many different and interesting people.

What made you decide to be a drafter/designer?
I took an AutoCAD class all four years of high school. When I first started college, my major was architecture. But, then I decided I really liked the drafting and design aspect and I switched to CADD. So I guess I kind of always knew that I wanted to do something that dealt with the designing of homes. When the housing market started going south, I decided to get a degree in business administration. Both skill sets have been an excellent combination for drafting and design, and working with our customers.

You enjoy playing darts and have participated in tournaments. What type of darts do you play? Where have you traveled for tournaments? How have you done in tournaments?
For city leagues and most tournaments, the dart games I play are 301/501/701 or cricket. I have participated in tournaments in Nebraska, Iowa, and Las Vegas. Most of the tournament games played are team events. I usually participate in several events, and have placed in the top five for many of them.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
With four children you really do not get any spare time. One of my kids plays football and the other plays basketball. We go from one sport to the next, and then year-round training and practice for both. On top of that my two younger children require lots of mommy attention; however, when I do get that brief moment, I just like to relax with a nice glass of wine.

Place you most want to visit and why?
There are three places that I would like to visit. One is Fallingwater in Pennsylvania – noted as “the most unique home in the world” – take a minute and look it up you’ll see why! Another is Amsterdam, because of the windmills. And, of course an architectural masterpiece, the Sydney Opera House in Australia. As you can see, I love architecture!

Tell us something interesting someone might not know about you.
I enjoy fishing! I have been going fishing since I was a little girl and still love it to this day. I own a bow, and know how to use it. And, I like driving on road trips.

Learn more about Morgan on our Contact page.

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