November 1, 2022 castlebri

This month’s employee spotlight features Interior Designer and Remodeling Pro Emily Blonigen. Emily has been working with Castle for 10 years as of February 2022.

Emily received her Bachelors of Science in Interior Design from the Art Institutes International Minnesota. One thing that she appreciates from her education is the artistic approach Ai takes to the Interior Design profession. Her main interest in the field is to find opportunities to create sustainable and healthy environments. Design may be achieved through trends, unique styles, colors, and materials- but great design is found through considering the users experience and the continuing future within that environment. With knowledgeable design practices and smart material selections, she is opening the doors of design towards a prosperous and more sustainable future that she is excited to be a part of.

Before joining the Castle family ten years ago, Emily worked in customer service and attended school full time. She started at Castle right out of college as a design assistant/intern and was quickly hired onto the team. She has been finding an equal balance of growth and return on her investment here ever since!

Our marketing team sat down with Emily to get to know her a little more, here’s what she had to say:

What are three fun facts about you?

  1. I adopted a puppy in 2020. She is so sweet + perfect. Big 75+lb Staffordshire Terrier + German Shepherd mix.
  2. I love dancing.
  3. I live/own a 1902 home in Minneapolis. My own fixer upper but I love her!


Why did you choose this profession?

I actually started my college career in nursing but quickly learned that wasn’t my path. So, I did some research to find more artistic fields where I could still feel the joy of helping people. After talking to my best friends, one suggested I have always had a talent for design. Why not look into interior design. I fell in love!  I have always been a creative person, great listener, detailed planner, empathetic people person, and I get to do it all at Castle.


Can you share an industry related piece of advice for upcoming designers and remodeling pros?

Work with the people who appreciate, respect and see you.

The world is small and having a great community of people supporting you is important. Be yourself and show your passion for people and knowledge of homes! The people you want to work with notice your drive and dedication and will equally push you + return your investment to them.


What inspires you?

I grew up in a family that contributing to the world was an important part of our lives. Working hard is in my nature! My love of older homes and working with people keeps me motivated to tackle each project.  It’s truly inspiring to help homeowners problem solve ways to make their home work for them.

I am passionate about working and living in the Minneapolis / St. Paul area and contributing to my community.  Added bonus is getting to design in the beautiful variety of homes we have in our communities. I use my planning skills and dedication to make their remodel happen!


What is the best advice you have received?

When I was new at Castle I was working a late showroom shift at our NE showroom. A project manager came upstairs and noticed my clear distress. I was struggling finding my place. He listened to me and very clearly advised there is plenty of room at Castle (and/or in remodeling) and it was up to me to find my place.

Know what you are good at, apply yourself to that avenue and the rest will follow. This was a pivotal career moment for me and allowed me to grow to where I am today working on all sorts of projects that I enjoy and also push me.


Can you share your favorite quote?

“Truth and persistence has its rewards.”  – One of Castle’s former Project managers.


Do you have a favorite spot or place to go in the Twin Cities / surrounding area?
I love Minneapolis! There are so many great places.
I have a favorite bench at Minnehaha Falls that I love to sit at and listen to the creek. You can sometimes find me there on my lunch break or after work grabbing a few moments of quiet before jumping back into the remodeling grind!
Another favorite is going to the Mill City Farmers Market on Saturdays. I usually will hop the light rail or bike up and grab a pizza from Northern Fires and a few fresh produce items and eat my pizza while looking out over the Stone Arch bridge + water.
Another favorite spot is spending the day on Lake Nokomis in my kayak.
When you’re not working, what do you do to unwind?
Finding peace–which typically includes being outside! I grew up in the country and find if I need a breath, a walk, bike ride, kayak paddle, or go exploring MN can help me reset. Having some silence so I can clear my thoughts and find my zen. 😊
I also love doing little creative projects. Either on my home, drawing a doodle, charcoal drawing, or on special occasion pulling out my sewing machine!
Next month, meet Designer Ashley Hansen!