Know Your Neighbors: Kim Daunis & Natalie Papier of Home Ec.

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Kim Daunis and Natalie Papier, Owners of Home Ec. in Oak Park

Home. It’s a place of refuge. Especially for those of us in the Midwest, who spend SO much time inside for a good portion of the year…aka winter. I often think of our homes as a (very lived in, very casual) museum – a manifestation of the people who live in them and the lives they build. Our homes tell the world so much about who we are and can have such an impact on our day-to-day happiness.

That’s why people like Kim Daunis and Natalie Papier are so important. They are the owners and home stylists of Home Ec. LLC. and have built a flourishing business helping people do just that – design rooms and homes that reflect the people that live there. It’s this passion – plus loads of talent – that make them such an inspiring ‘neighbor to know’.

Read on to learn more about Kim and Natalie, what they love about Oak Park, how Home Ec. started, how they stay inspired and what’s coming up for these local entrepreneurs.

Around Oak Park
Before we dive into Home Ec., we’d love to learn a little bit about you both and what you love. When you’re not working, where can we find you? Who are you with?

Home Ec.
Both of our families take full advantage of what Oak Park has to offer. You may find us find enjoying Mexican food at Sergio’s or catching a flick at Lake Street Cinema. Or the various activities our kids keep us busy with.

Kim’s boys keep her on her toes with lacrosse, wrestling, and baseball. But if she’s not at a sporting event, you’ll find her trolling through an antique store or an estate sale. Otherwise known as her happy place…

Natalie is still an artist at heart, though her home has become her latest canvas for creativity. She still loves to paint and draw with her kids and explore other artistic outlets. But her kids also found their own creative outlets through School of Rock OP as well as ballet.

AOP
You already answered my next question! Obviously, you both live in the area. What brought you here?

Home Ec.
Kim and her husband, Steve, came back to the Chicagoland area to raise their young family after starting their adventures together in San Francisco. They loved the bay area but wanted to be closer to family… And their Midwestern roots!

Natalie and her husband, Alan, moved to Oak Park after spending their early years as a family in Chicago and a short time abroad in London. They loved the vibes of a big city but were looking for a diverse community with the offerings of a big city with a small village mentality.

Oak Park for the win!!!

AOP
What would the ‘perfect’ day in Oak park look like for you?

Kim
It would start over at the Oak Park Farmer’s Market and end with Oaktoberfest!

Natalie
It would start with a workout at The Daily Method, then a trip over to the Economy Shop, a bike ride with my family (hopefully there would be some garage sales along the way), a pint at the Beer Shop & then over to Thursday Night Out!

AOP
Tell us about the origins of Home Ec. How did it all begin?

Home Ec.
We met as moms of students at Holmes Elementary School and connected with a love for vintage and design. Our collaboration began as we started doing local, vintage furniture & décor pop up shops. The business grew as we continued to utilize our skills for styling and design into interiors and Home Ec. was born!

AOP
In 2017 you opened a new office in Downtown Oak Park. How did you find the space?

Home Ec.
Chris Conmy, a friend, and neighbor of the Papier’s asked for some help with his office on Marion Street. He gave us a tour of the whole building and the third-floor attic space was not being used. After Kim and I expressed our interest, we worked out an agreement and set up shop. We love the location and it’s such a great building!

AOP
Why did you choose Oak Park as the ‘home’ for Home Ec.?

Home Ec.
When we started our home styling business it was just local. It grew and grew with local referrals and hasn’t slowed down yet. So it just seems easy and natural for us to stay working with our favorite local businesses and vendors. Now we have such a great relationship with our local small businesses. We love our community and how natural the word spread about our services!

AOP
How would you explain Home Ec.’s mission statement in two sentences?

Home Ec.
Our passion is to reuse the things you already own and love to combine those pieces with vintage and modern touches to reflect your home’s personality. We want your home to reflect you!

AOP
What question do you get most often from people who are interested in learning more about working with Home Ec.?

Home Ec.
Usually, most people want to know how our design process works. We always start out by doing a free in-home consultation to assess your needs and put together a proposal with our estimate for consultation hours. But the process of collaborating with a client is done after we get a sense of their style and what’s important to them, how they want their home to feel. Pinterest is a great tool to get a sense of their style. We love curating a space with items that mean something to them and bring it all together into a cohesive, well-designed space.

AOP
What does a typical day look like for you?

Home Ec.
When we aren’t consulting with clients in their homes, we are either working at our office on Marion Street or out shopping for home treasures. Our business really values finding eclectic pieces, vintage décor, and unique home furnishings so we make sure we always take the time to hit up those estate sales or vintage sources. Some days when we actually remember to eat, you might catch up heading over to Two Brothers for lunch! Once school is out, we switch gears back to our most important jobs as moms.

AOP
What professional accomplishments are you most proud of?

Home Ec.
We’ve been so fortunate this last year to have been featured in Design Sponge, Joybird, and The Wednesday Journal. But we are most proud of our business when we get feedback from our clients with how much we have helped them love their home!

AOP
You have such creative careers. What did you want to be when you were kids?

Kim
A photographer.

Natalie
An artist, that lived in a big loft, where I would paint and listen to music all day. Because that’s what artists do, right?

AOP
How would your friends/family describe you in three words?

Kim
Loyal, creative and generous.

Natalie
Talented, passionate and intuitive.

We swear this is from family and friends… And they weren’t just tooting our own horn. 😉

AOP
What keeps you inspired?

Home Ec.
We are inspired by all the strong, creative women in this community making a name for themselves. We are inspired by these beautiful old homes we live in and around. We are inspired by our families and friends and all of the support and love they have given us.

AOP
Finally, anything new and exciting on the horizon for Home Ec. that we should know about?

Home Ec.
Yes! We have been scouting locations for a property in Michigan to rent out as a fun, quirky, family or friends get away with a Home Ec. vibe. Expect unconventional, campy décor at the future Camp Home Ec.! We’d love a place to get away from our computers, stock it up with board games and local beer and decorate it with our eclectic tastes. And we think other people would enjoy that too.

To connect with Kim Daunis and Natalie Papier, find out more about Home Ec. or simply get inspired, visit:

Email: home.ec.op@gmail.com
Website: www.homeecop.com
Facebook: facebook.com/homeecop
Instagram: @home_ec_op

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