Experience is top priority for RAMLOW/STEIN’S Tara Christian





Tara Christian, new partner at RAMLOW/STEIN, is making headlines in the Milwaukee Business Journal! In an article titled “Experience is Top Priority for RAMLOW/STEINS Tara Christian,” Tara shares how her extensive experience shapes our approach to delivering exceptional service.

Her insights remind us why we prioritize experience in our work. Join us in celebrating Tara’s feature and the wisdom she brings to our firm!

Read the full story here

The interview transcript from the Milwaukee Business Journal is posted below.

Tara Christian said she enjoys visiting the building spaces she designed to hear what people are noticing, and how their experience goes.

As the director of interior design for Ramlow/Stein Architecture + Interiors, Christian crafts rooms with walls and windows and doors, but she’s really focused on creating the feeling people experience when they are in those spaces.

When she designed a new welcome center for the Milwaukee School of Engineering, for example, Christian thought about how to make it comfortable and easy to navigate for parents and students who are on campus perhaps for the first time. After the project was completed, she stopped by as a fly on the wall to observe.

About six families with new students were in its lobby space, chatting with the greeter at its prominent welcome desk. Some checked out displays of technologies that are taught to MSOE students. It was a comfortable space. That was the goal.

“Every step in the process was around that core of making sure it’s easy, and making sure people feel welcome,” Christian said. “My biggest passion with interior design is the space feels right, feels comfortable, feels it’s right for that client. It’s not about what I like.”

Many people in the region have likely experienced one of Christian’s designs, even if they did not know her name or the architecture firm.

Dating to 2006, she has designed interior spaces, including suites, in what is now American Family Field. She’s done several projects for MSOE and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and she is the interior designer for the 261-unit Evoni apartments under construction at 245 Harbor Drive in the Third Ward. She has worked on historic restorations including the conversion of Old Main building in the Milwaukee Soldiers Home into apartments for veterans.

Christian at the start of this year became a partner with an ownership stake in the 26-person architecture firm. Her career began with an internship there in 2001.

“We have the intention to try to grow the interior design market,” she said. “The firm is a great size. My ability to be a partner, but still continue to be involved in projects and practice, is exciting too. The plan is to continue to do great work.”

Partners Scott Ramlow and Nat Stein credited Christian with contributing to the firm’s repeat business from clients and in-house talent development.

“She’s a natural leader, which helps us go to maintaining our client base, and she’s a terrific mentor,” said Ramlow, firm president.

The firm was formerly Uihlein Wilson Architects and was co-founded by David Uihlein and Del Wilson. Ramlow and Stein became owners in 2017.

Christian’s growing interior design team at the firm is involved throughout the building design process, helping Christian influence visitors’ experiences from the moment they approach the building to the point when they leave.

“You can’t just come in at the end,” she said. “We get to know the people and are able to create not only a beautiful space, but a very functional space that meets their needs. Without getting to know them, I don’t know how you could ever do that.”

Christian’s interest in interior design stretches back to childhood. Already artistically inclined at a young age, Christian learned about interior design through her aunt, an interior designer for homes in Marietta, Georgia. Her aunt would send Christian boxes of fabric samples from her upholstery or drapery projects. Christian’s grandmother made them into purses or hair scrunchies.

Christian, who in first grade had envisioned herself becoming an artist, connected to interior design through conversations with her aunt.

“Having that creative side, and seeing that you could funnel it into a career made sense to me,” Christian said. “She passed away when I was 17, so I didn’t get any career guidance, but I think what she facilitated might’ve been more powerful in just her passion for it. That really translated.”

Tara Christian

  • Company: Ramlow/Stein Architecture + Interiors
  • Title: Partner and director of interior design
  • Age: 45
  • Family: Two sons, Landon (17) and Collin (14)
  • Education: Bachelor of arts in interior architecture from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
  • Resides: Greendale
  • Best decision: Staying with Ramlow/Stein for 22 years
  • Like best about job: “Collaborating with creative and talented people”
  • Most important lesson learned: “Maintain an attitude of gratitude, seek out the positive and lead with kindness.”
  • Favorite pastimes: “Cheering on my sons, cooking, fussing over houseplants”
  • Item on your desk that’s been there the longest: “My oldest son’s clay baby footprint”
  • Piece of advice for interior designers who are early in their career: “Always be an enthusiastic learner. It’s so important to dig in and soak up knowledge from those around you.”