INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — In seeing her long blonde hair and heeled boots, one wouldn’t expect Cristalyn Rousseau to describe herself as a tomboy.
Raised in the mountains, she said she was more about dirt bikes than dolls.
“I don’t shy away from what would traditionally be considered a man’s job,” Rousseau said. “I like that tech-y, break-a-nail approach.”
Rousseau is the masculine, hands-on side of a remodel or renovation job, while her business partner, Kristen Fencl, approaches projects from the feminine, artistic side.
Fencl, the yin to her partner’s yang, describes herself as a nester.
“I need to feel really good in a space no matter where I’m at,” she said.
CELEBRATING A PARTNERSHIP
Sowing Basil (a floor and window design company owned by Rousseau) and Decorating Den Interiors (an interior design company owned by Fencl) joined retail spaces and have been working together since March.
To announce their recent partnership, the women will host a grand opening reception this Saturday at their joint location in the Incline Village Shopping Center (next to Raley’s).
“It’s like a marriage,” Fencl said. “We’ve worked out a few bumps and learned how to listen to each other.”
Rousseau her decision to team up with Kristen has benefitted both businesses tremendously.
“I not only have fun but I have someone I can go through growing pains with,” she said.
The grand opening, which falls on Small Business Saturday, will host food and refreshments from 3-6 p.m.
‘KIND OF A WALTZ’
The partnership has allowed the women to learn about the other’s point of view, and learn how to use their contrasting skills to create a unified project.
“She’s really given me more of the emotional view,” Rousseau explained. “She’s softened me up a bit and I’ve toughened her up as well.”
Rousseau works on the installs for a home — Sowing Basil offers a variety of flooring options as well as Hunter Douglas window coverings and custom window treatments. After her work is done, she said she leaves the rest up to Fencl, whose eye for décor and communication with clients ties it all together.
“I do the base and she fills it in,” Rousseau said. “I set the stage and she dances on it.”
The women admit the partnership hasn’t always been easy, but since teaming up nearly nine months ago, the change has been positive.
“It’s much more fun working with Cristalyn,” Fencl said. “I would hate to go back to being just me.”
“It’s kind of a waltz,” Rousseau agreed. “I can’t dance without a partner.”
By teaming up, Decorating Den Interiors and Sowing Basil offer customers a one-stop shop for remodels, renovations and home design. By joining retail space, both of the businesses are able to save on rent, which they said allows them to pass their savings to the customer.
With the combination of Sowing Basil’s hard window coverings and flooring with Decorating Den Interiors’s furniture, lighting, sinks and cabinets, the partnership covers all bases and also manages each project.
“It’s not just somebody who does furniture and somebody who does sewing,” Rousseau said. “It’s so much more than that.”
Fencl said the women both wear a lot of hats — “more than you would ever imagine” — between the flooring, window treatments, interior design and project management.
Sowing Basil also offers home automation services, allowing homes to be placed in energy saving “vacation mode” and controlled by a centralized location.
Unlike other interior design companies, Fencl said Decorating Den Interiors always offers a free consultation. And by having a very large supplier list, she is able to offer clients many different choices when it comes to interior design.
Jenny Luna is a freelance reporter for the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza and Sierra Sun newspapers. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I do the base and she fills it in. I set the stage and she dances on it.”
owner, Sowing Basil