Lemont woman’s business designed to succeed
BY TINA AKOURIS firstname.lastname@example.org August 15, 2013 9:16PM
Michelle Nagel Fleener in her design studio | Tina Akouris~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 17, 2013 8:25AM
It was an idea that Lemont resident Michelle Nagel Fleener had been turning over in her mind for years: a business that she could call her own and one that was named after her son and daughter.
Nagel Fleener got her wish earlier this year.
Cobri Decor opened in downtown Downers Grove, and the name is derived from Nagel Fleener’s two children: Coby and Briana.
If Coby Fleener’s name sounds familiar, it might be because Nagel Fleener’s son is entering his second year as a tight end for the Indianapolis Colts.
The 24-year-old former Stanford standout cut his teeth on the football field at Joliet Memorial Stadium when he played for Dan Sharp at Joliet Catholic. Briana Fleener also went to Joliet Catholic and played volleyball.
In 12 games last season, Coby Fleener caught two touchdown passes and averaged 10.8 yards per catch. He had 26 catches in 2012.
Fleener is in training camp this week, but was held out of Tuesday’s practice with a concussion.
Nagel Fleener, who has been to several Colts games, said the hardest part of having her son play professional football is watching him get hit.
“It’s extremely difficult,” Nagel Fleener said. “The whole game, my stomach is churning.”
But Nagel Fleener said her son isn’t using her as his personal interior designer — at least not yet.
“I think maybe in the future he will ask me, but he’s been on his own now for a year and I think he’s doing OK with that,” Nagel Fleener said.
After making countless trips to Palo Alto, Calif., to visit Coby at Stanford, Nagel Fleener said the four-hour drive to Indianapolis is a piece of cake. But there is still one thing she just can’t get used to.
“It’s weird for me to see people asking him for his autograph,” Nagel Fleener said. “He’s just my son. That part of it just doesn’t seem real.”
Nagel Fleener graduated from Miami (Ohio) and went into interior design, having been in the profession since 1985. Once her children were born, Nagel Fleener did interior design part time, moving to full time once Coby and Briana were older and in school.
“I had already built my clientele,” Nagel Fleener said. “But the challenge is still having people find you, and working with the client to prove that you can make their vision come true.”
When Nagel Fleener takes on a client, she goes out to the location to see what needs to be done and what ideas the client has to improve the space. Nagel Fleener then works with the client and contractors to pick out things such as tile, carpeting, fixtures and whatever other pieces are needed for the job.
“I can take down a wall, and physically I’ve done a number of different things,” Nagel Fleener said. “I’m an artist first, but that doesn’t mean I can’t paint a wall.”
The way Nagel Fleener’s shop is laid out and decorated is indicative of what she likes. It’s a mix of traditional and contemporary art and furniture, which Nagel Fleener enjoys incorporating in her work and design for clients.
“My favorite look is an eclectic look, and I love contemporary and traditional,” Nagel Fleener said. “I love both ends of the spectrum and I can appreciate both of them.”
And Nagel Fleener’s mantra is “no job is too small.”
“I always feel like something might lead to something else and maybe a client will refer me to someone else,”
Nagel Fleener said. “I never turn anything down.”
Fleener is accepting new clients and can be reached at (773) 609-1082. Her hours are by appointment only. For more information, visit www.cobridecor.com.