About Us

From bathrooms to kitchens, fireplaces to built-ins, Habitar Design creates breathtaking interior design work that will help you achieve your home vision. Our work has been recognized and featured internationally in design magazines, but at heart, we’re a small Chicago-based firm dedicated to customer satisfaction for both residential and commercial spaces. We offer a full range of interior design, decorating and remodeling services and our knowledgeable design and construction teams ensure 100% excellence for projects of all sizes.

Our sister company, Stratagem Construction, means the design to construction process is seamless and hassle free. Stratagem specializes in complete home remodeling, along with custom cabinetry, built-ins, tiling, painting, fireplaces, and hardwood flooring.

Our number one priority is making our customers happy by working cooperatively to help them develop and achieve their design objectives. Design is a journey. We try to make it enjoyable, organized and efficient.

Meet the Team

Mitch Newman

Mitch Newman, Principal

Mitch often wandered off the safe and time-tested route. He went to medical school at the University of Chicago, became a Board Certified Family Practitioner, and shortly retired from the medical field. He traveled, skiing in mountain resorts behind the iron curtain and sleeping under the stars in Italian vineyards. He studied in Germany at the University of Tuebingen and supported himself creating and selling T-shirts, one which became enshrined in the City’s Museum. Interested in Arab culture, he moved to Cairo and published his first short story in the Egyptian Times before returning to Chicago to become Artistic Director of Thirsty Theater. However, building was in his blood. His father started a real estate development firm in 1962 and in 1999 it could no longer be resisted. He built his first 3 flat. In 2005, he launched Habitar Design with Kapan Shipman, inspired by her work and friendship.

Karl Sponholtz

Karl Sponholtz, Senior Designer

Karl has been designing residential homes and interiors for over 20 years. His ability to adapt his skills to a wide variety of styles and budgets is his greatest strength. He’ll tell you that design has always come naturally to him. He remembers rearranging the furniture in his house when he was 10. When his parents came home, they were shocked at how great everything looked. “It really did look better,” he laughs, “And I still use my own house as a laboratory!” His motto: “Design is a process and it needs to stay flexible, otherwise we’d have to stop shopping!”

Click to see photos of Karl’s interior design work.

MacKenzie Cain

MacKenzie Cain, Designer, LEED

A graduate from Purdue University, MacKenzie is Habitar Design’s associate interior designer. Like many designers before her, MacKenzie grew up re-imagining and reorganizing furniture in her home. Her parents even let her pick out their paint colors and furniture when she was 12 years old. While in school, she acquired her BA in Interior Design and LEED Green Associate accreditation. MacKenzie is thrilled to be working alongside her fellow designers at Habitar Design.

Click to see photos of MacKenzie’s interior design work.

Julian Garcia

Julian Garcia – Project Coordinator

With a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from La Universidad de Zacatecas, Mexico, Julian has assisted in the completion of several mid-rise condominium buildings in the Chicago West Loop area for the past 7+ years.

Julian has project management experience working in the different stages of construction projects, starting from planning, construction, and closing them out. Highly organized and attentive to details, Julian takes pride on what he does and makes sure the projects stay on track both schedule, and budget-wise.

In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wide & two kids, watching movies, going to the parks, and working on DIY projects around the house.

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