Every part of Amy Cimba is stylish. From her work, to her hair, to her wardrobe, her style is decidedly HERS. She is someone who seamlessly blends her personal creativity with her business acumen: a seemingly impossible task for the rest of us. Amy’s success as a designer at Bittners is not only a result of her talent, it is also a result of her great, laid-back personality. She is someone you can trust to make your home perfect for you.
What do you do for a living?
For a living, I get to do what I love, which is design homes and offices for clients throughout the country as Vice President of Residential Design at Bittners, Louisville’s first and leading design firm. I am so happy to be with this legendary design firm that is so forward thinking and innovative! We “design for the way you live” and put our design focus on our clients’ needs.
Tell me about your background in studio art.
I am really an artist, I LOVE to draw and work best with charcoal or graphite. I did many tutorials in college and worked with many famous artists including William Wegman and Michael Croyden, who really helped me to focus on my strengths and purse my passions. I knew that I HAD to do something creative in life. My personality is such that I could never be a painter with oils. It takes far too much precision and focus for me. So many steps and waiting and thinking…I need more of an instant gratification and I could get that with drawing.
Do you ever regret not pursuing that as a profession?
Not me. My father stressed the importance of having a back up plan in case the “artist” thing didn’t work out for me. Thankfully, I pursued a minor in business and that has become so helpful in my business today.
How did this background segue into interior design for you?
While in college, I did an internship for a design firm in Chicago for business credits, of all crazy things. I absolutely LOVED it and worked above and beyond the business credit for them. It was very natural for me and I finally thought that I had “found” the passion. It was a career that I wanted and loved to be involved with. It was an instant click. I worked for this firm for years in every facet of the business, therefore learning every last detail and taking on very big responsibility from a young age. I slowly took on my own clients and grew from there. I always knew that I wanted to work for Bittners, though. It was the “ultimate” in my eyes!
Who is your typical client?
I really have no “typical” client, as I work with people of many different age groups and settings, but I guess that I am best known for my work with young families, since that’s where I am in my life! I know how to do rooms with children lopped over the arm of the sofa and families that want a beautifully chic space that are not sacrificed by child proofing. At Bittners, we enjoy the luxury of having so many wonderful resources to pull from for such specifics. We are really so spoiled as designers; it’s pretty wonderful to have it all at my fingertips! Spoiled…just the way I like it!
Who would be your dream client or your dream situation (to design for)?
I have some pretty amazing clients who come from so many different situations and settings, and I have had such fun doing the most unusual things…boats, vacation homes, farms. But, my favorite situation is when I can come in and encourage someone to do the Master Bedroom or Bath or even the Family Room – the everyday spaces that are most used – and hear this responses: “why didn’t we do this sooner? It has made such a difference!” It’s those “priority” spots that sometimes get overlooked that can be dreamy luxury for people everyday. I also have a pretty dreamy local job right now that involves Ben Page, a nationally renowned landscape architect from Nashville, who is very inspiring and makes everyone involved work at their very best!
Favorite part about interior design?
My favorite part is certainly my clients! I have some of the very best and some of the best friends because of it. Think about it: it’s pretty trusting of someone to let me into their most intimate and private space (their home) and allow me to act in their best interest! It has made for some wonderful friendships that I am so thankful for!
Least favorite part?
The part that I have little control of–ship dates! Ugh! The death of me!
How do you balance your job and your family?
For me, it’s an easy balance. I am best when I compartmentalize my time. My main focus is my two amazing boys, who keep me jumping. I love my work and am devoted to my clients, but when it is family time, I give my boys all of my attention when we are together. Once they are in bed, back to work!
What is the biggest life lesson that you have ever learned?
One of my favorite life lesson quotes is from Rumi: “If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?” I find that it applies to so much in life! It is a quick and easy perspective to maintain!
Who is your mentor?
I have two men in my life who have mentored me along the way. First, my father! He has instilled a strong and persistent work ethic in me and motivates me to be at the top of my game and keep pushing no matter what! The other is Douglas Riddle, the President of Bittners and one of my best friends. He is a creative genius who has his fingers on the pulse of incredible, creative design. Douglas inspires me daily, as well as everyone who works for him. Bittners is such an amazing and exciting place to be, much in thanks to Douglas!
What is the best advice you have ever received in business?
The best advice comes from a quote, “Live life with an ounce of humble since you are only as good as those who surround you.” This is so true because at Bittners, we are truly a team. From our master craftsmen in our custom furniture shop, to the project managers and delivery team, we could not produce such highly respected design work without everyone working together.
If you were not in your current job, what would you secretly love to do?
I would secretly love to be a farmer. Of course, an urban farmer with beautiful chickens who live in a very chic shake-sided coop and goats–for goat cheese. I love the idea of canning and fresh veggies and farm-to-table freshness. But the reality of it is that I couldn’t grow a stick and would likely starve!
What is something that people would be surprised to know about you?
I am a tomboy at heart. I love to be outside – hiking, biking, I especially love water sports like skiing and sailing and I am SUPER competitive! Backyard basketball with my boys can get pretty funny when they stuff it in Momma’s face!
What is your favorite place to go eat?
I am not a foodie, but I am always inspired and happy at Wiltshire on Market. The atmosphere is so comfortable and intimate and the food is amazingly fresh! I do love it there with familiar faces!
Where do you like to shop?
I have local boutiques that I love for fashion: Elizabeth’s, Circe, Blink, Clodhoppers, but I am so very limited on time. I am on the dash-in and dash-out plan. I do some shopping online and my favorite go-to is Zara (which I love). My wardrobe is not complex, very little pattern and a good variety of black, grey, cream, repeat (with a touch of brown when I am really feeling crazy!).
Other types of favorite shopping might include B. Deemer Gallery, Trace Mayer, Steve Tipton for Antiques and of course Bittners, for the best in home décor, accessories and gifts!
What is a treat or luxury that you do for yourself?
Time is my biggest luxury. So, when I have it, I love to read and walk while listening to music at the Reservoir. I find inspiration and solace there.
What is your weakness?
Sappy period dramas! Anything Jane Austin (Pride and Prejudice is a favorite), Young Victoria, Gosford Park, and I am DYING for the return of Downton Abby! I LOVE the wardrobes too!
What is your number one pet peeve?
What is your favorite thing that you bought this fall?
A painting for my family room that appears WET! It’s contemporary and adds a great juxtapositions to my room. Everyone wants to touch it! It is very chic and makes me so happy!
What is your favorite thing to do in Louisville?
I really love all of the events at Locust Grove. I take my boys every year to the 18th Century Fair, I LOVE the fall antiques market. There is nothing better to me than to be on those beautiful grounds with my best friend on a fall day with that beautiful house in the background looking at gorgeous furniture. How can it get any better? Maybe with a glass of wine!
Three things you can not live without (besides God, family and friends):
- Illuminate Shine Mist by Euphora for my hair. (Stephen Lewis at J. Michael Spa & Salon)
- Eggs. Preferably served poached, as breakfast, over a salad. This is my “fast food” and my go to protein choice!
- Music. I am totally inspired by music. Right now I just love Mumford and Sons.
What are you reading right now?
Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann.
What are three of your “favorite” things right now (can be anything)?
- Lucite. I am obsessed with the chic reflective, yet quiet quality. I have been using it as drapery rods lately and I don’t think I can go back! LOVE! It speaks volumes without saying anything at all! So stylish and timeless!
- Shades of White paint from Benjamin Moore. Ultra Elegant!
- New furniture and accessory shipments that come into Bittners’ Showroom.
Thank you to Amy Cimba for a great photoshoot and personal tour of all the magnificence of Bittners. To contact Amy, visit the Bittners’ showroom at 731 East Main St., call (502) 584-6349 or visit Bittners’ website here.
Thank you to Adele Reding Photography and the beautiful photographs.