Danielle and Michael Gutelli, co-founders of Plymouth home design company Clark + Aldine, share how they got started in the industry, trends they’re currently loving and more
By Chelsie Dzbanski
Featured photo via clarkandaldine.com
1. Tell us a little about yourselves and your professional backgrounds. We’re Danielle and Michael Gutelli, Co-founders of Clark + Aldine. We are a design-to-build collective specializing in functional and purposeful residential remodeling. Danielle is a licensed real estate agent and Michael a licensed residential builder. We are also parents to the two raddest dudes ever, Enzo (7) and Ziggy (4).
2. How did you get started in the industry? When we rented our first condo together in Chicago we updated everything we could. From paint to dimmer switches and adding new furniture and art, we just had to make the space feel like us. It was a true passion that we carried with us for over a decade. Once we moved to Michigan and started the blog our analytics showed that home and DIY content was resonating significantly with our readers, and we knew then that we were on to something. In November 2018, Michael left a 12-year career in advertising to go all in on our brand, and we haven’t looked back since.
3. What is your favorite thing about your job? Being able to work together is incredible. We’re the best of partners and bring out the absolute best in one another. But the real reward is knowing we are playing our part in changing people’s lives. One’s home is their sanctuary and our clients place their trust in us to make their dreams a reality.
4. Can you share some of your career highlights or moments you are most proud of thus far? Completing our first space together was extremely rewarding, but every day we find reasons to celebrate. We believe life is about acknowledging the struggles and celebrating the everyday moments.
5. What does a typical day/week look like for you? We start everyday at 5am with coffee and planning for the day. By 6 we are typically taking a Peloton class, then preparing breakfast for the family. By 8 we’re out the door for school drop-off, followed by a cold brew at Espresso Elevado (depending on the day). Our team meets us at our house which also serves as our HQ; we debrief for the day and are on our way to client projects. Meetings and calls happen throughout the day, but we wrap by 5:30 for dinner at home. We’ll head outside for a walk and fresh air before homework and getting bedtime started with the boys. The evening typically consists of emails, estimates, space planning and scheduling before reading, meditation and a good night sleep.
6. How do you find balance between work and your personal life? That is a great question and one that we don’t have a definitive answer to. Our brand is like family and it is impossible to turn off. We do, however, prioritize time for family. Thursday night is date night. After the boys go to bed we will make dinner or grab take out, open a nice bottle of wine or bourbon and just be together. Sometimes it involves a movie, and sometimes just conversation. Sunday nights are family dinners with our parents, [which] we never miss.
7. Can you share a few home design or decor trends that you’re currently loving? We’re seeing a ton of earth tones, textiles and natural elements like wood and natural stone throughout spaces.
8. What is your favorite room in a house to design and why? Kitchens and kids’ rooms. Both spaces are the heart of a home and provide opportunities to really push purposeful and functional design.
9. If you weren’t interior designers, what would you be instead? Well, we’re not just interior designers, or even residential remodelers. We are building a brand that is growing into multiple avenues…so stay tuned for the answer!
Now onto some fun…
10. What was your first job growing up?
Danielle: The Gap
Michael: Laborer for a construction company in St. Louis
11. What’s currently on your playlist?
Danielle: The Weeknd and Jesse Reyez
Michael: Any episode of Soulection Radio on Beats 1
12. What was your favorite TV show as a kid?
Michael: Yup, TGIF and pizza…you couldn’t go wrong.
13. Three things you can’t live without?
Danielle: Matte lipstick, funky earrings and a good book.
Michael: Glasses wipes, utility knife and a good book.
14. Dream vacation destination?
Danielle: New Zealand.
Michael: Anywhere after coronavirus has been cured.
Local Love Questions…
15. What are your current favorite local spots for breakfast, lunch and dinner? We typically hang in downtown Plymouth so for breakfast it’s either Greek Islands Eatery, Omelette and Waffle Café or Sardine Room (if we’re doing brunch). Lunch, depending on the day, is takeout from Simply Fresh or Maya’s Deli, and a sit down would be Arbor Brewing. Dinner options revolve around Barrio, Compari’s or Pizza e Vino.
16. What’s your favorite place to shop locally in Metro Detroit? We love visiting and supporting our good friends Jen and Rob Thomlinson at 28 Furniture, and Martha at Haven…all of the homes we touch has some elements from these stores. Some local online retailers we frequent are Trip Wipes (keep everything clean), Madcap for coffee and Cellar Door Candle Co. for all the good smells.
17. Your go-to for a good cup of coffee? Espresso Elevado in Downtown Plymouth. We also subscribe to Madcap for home brew.
18. What’s your favorite thing to do on a weekend in Metro Detroit? Just get outside and spend quality time with our kids. We like to spend one day a month in a local city doing all the touristy things…it’s a fun way to unplug.
19. What do you love about Detroit? We love the small communities, all the relentless innovation from local creators and makers, and the midwest vibe that we’re likely to never leave behind.
20. Favorite quote or words to live by?
Danielle: How you do anything is how you do everything.
Michael: Consistent persistence takes you the distance.