Interior Architect at Common: Elma Kukaj
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Discover what it’s like to be a day in Elma Kukaj’s shoes as an Interior Architect at Common. Keep reading to learn more about her experience, and head to www.common.com/careers to learn more about our company, our values, and how you can join our team.
Hi Elma! Let’s start at the beginning, what was your first week like at Common?
When I joined Common the last week of February 2020, I had no idea that a global pandemic was about to break out! I like to believe that my timing was perfect since I still got to work at the Common NYC headquarters for a few weeks before Covid-19 closed down the city. My first week was filled with exciting new introductions, one on one meetups, project introductions, and an onboarding experience that made my transition to a new office very seamless. Everyone was very welcoming and friendly, and I’m so happy that I had the chance to meet my team before transitioning to working from home.
What’s been your favorite part about being a part of the Common team?
Common offers one of the most career diverse environments I’ve ever seen. From the beginning, I was quickly introduced to all the departments and have since become familiar with all aspects of coliving including real estate, marketing, procurement, operations, and even editorial styling.
I believe Common provides the space for all creative minds to express their opinions freely in an open environment and consider all ideas, no matter how big or small. There’s full transparency between departments which allows for open communication and easy project tracking.
Have you learned anything surprising in your current role as an Interior Architect?
My past work experience was in a very traditional architecture office where there wasn’t any involvement in the ins and outs of the financial aspect of a project. I was happy to learn that Common encourages interdepartmental collaboration in order to push a project forward in a timely manner. It has opened my eyes the cross-functional collaboration that goes into preparing to open a successfully functioning home from the perspective of an interior architect and beyond.
Now for some fun questions! Do you have a favorite hobby?
It’s so difficult to pick just one since I’m one of those people who has fallen in love with different hobbies at different times in my life. I’ve dabbled in everything from swimming, biking, and kickboxing to writing, painting, and building. However, photography has always held a special place in my heart, and it’s allowed me to connect with a diverse group of people and make some lifelong friends!
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Believe it or not, I was 100% sure I was going to become a general surgeon. I come from a line of family doctors from my mom’s side and engineers on my dad’s side. Let’s just say that my dad was pretty happy to learn that I landed on a creative career over a more traditional one.
My family has always deemed travel the best way to spend weekends and holidays together, and I feel very blessed it was part of my childhood growing up. However, I have to admit that my favorite place of all time has to be my childhood home den. My family and I have had some of our most vulnerable conversations in that space, so I jokingly call it the confession room. Even though it’s not one of the most functional rooms in the house, I believe that great design transmits exactly that, pure emotion.
Favorite Common home?
There are a few Common homes that I adore, but one that I keep going back to is Common Melrose. I love the clean lines, natural light, simple neutral furnishings, and a modern kitchen that is very pleasing to the eye.