Interviews with American designers, Marina V Umali (Marina V Design Studio, NY + NJ) and Jake Krowkowski (JWK Design, SC) - Episode 3 (Season 10 - INDUSTRY INSIDERS)


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What do you need to know about renovating and building your family home? And how can Feng Shui be used in the design of your home?

Hello, and welcome to Episode 3 of Season 10. In this episode, I have two American designers to introduce you to. Both are doing fantastic work in their own businesses, and have lots of helpful knowledge to share with you.

This is super exciting, because with both of my guests today, I had such a great time learning from them as I interviewed them - and so I know you’re going to benefit hugely from their expertise as well.

My first guest on this episode, is Marina V Umali, an Interior Designer and Certified Feng Shui Practitioner based in New York State. And my second guest is Jake Krokowski of JWK Design, and he is based in South Carolina, and specialises in new homes, renovations and landscape design.


So, let me first introduce you to Marina.

Marina V Umali is a NY State Certified Interior Designer and Certified Feng Shui Practitioner, and owner of Marina V Design Studio.

She has studied Interior Design, Architecture and Psychology, and worked as an Interior Designer for a number of prominent firms in New York City.

She cares deeply about helping people create lasting improvements in their lives. And she does that by creating lasting improvements in their environments.

Marina seeks to integrate interior design and Feng Shui closely in her work. Her favorite thing about Feng Shui is that it combines her experience and expertise in design and architecture with her innate desire to promote health and well-being. Seeing the smiles on her clients’ faces, hearing the emotion in their testimonials, and knowing that she helped make a difference in their lives is truly what makes all the difference in hers.

Her goal is to help you achieve a living space that’s striking, inviting, and functions practically for your lifestyle. Marina take a common-sense approach to Feng Shui – sorting through the myriad of misconceptions, alleviating your concerns and utilizing an age-old philosophical system to promote harmony and good energy in your home through thoughtful, compelling design.

She works locally with clients, and also provides her services online regardless of your location. Marina specialises in residential work and helps homeowners globally. She seeks to create custom solutions for her clients using beautiful and timeless design principles in combination with the power of intention. Marina wants you to have a home that feels as good as it looks.

I’ve been wanting to talk about Feng Shui on the podcast for AGES now, so it’s even more exciting to be bringing this chat with Marina to you.

Now, let’s meet our next guest.

Jake Krokowski is a designer based in South Carolina, USA. In 2015, he founded JWK Design, to help families realise their dream of a comfortable, modern home.

With 20 years industry and design experience, Jake has worked on design teams for large international resorts and prominent public projects, most notably the reconstruction of the World Trade Center in New York.

As well as working with clients on their custom new homes and renovations, he is also a registered Landscape Architect.

He can assist with

+ Landscape & Architectural design concepts & planning

+ Construction drawings & material selection

+ Bid review & contractor vetting

+ Construction oversight & quality control

Jake shares some great insight into what most challenges homeowners, and how he helps them to get clear on their project needs and desires. So, let’s dive into my chat with Jake.

Listen to the episode now. And be sure to get in touch with Marina and Jake to let them know you heard them on Undercover Architect, and to thank them for all they share!!

This podcast is an edited version of the full interviews with Marina and Jake. Those interviews are now featured inside my online course “The Welcome Home Course” for American homeowners.

Head to to learn more about “The Welcome Home Course”.

In the full interview, Marina has some fantastic help in ...

  • how you can use intentionality in your design for great results
  • where she has seen improper use of Feng Shui impact homeowners
  • why your health and wellbeing is such a big part of your home design
  • understanding ceilings as the 5th elevation of each room
  • recommendations for finding out more about Feng Shui for your project

In Jake’s full interview, he has some great tips for ...

  • how to design for Carolina’s climate and conditions
  • what type of roofing, materials and window systems are best for this type of climate
  • the planning conditions in the Carolinas to be aware of
  • local resources to help you with renovating and building in the Carolinas

In “The Welcome Home Course”, I’ve teamed up with award-winning American architect, Eric Reinholdt, to create a specific course for American homeowners.

If you’re planning your renovation or new build, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and confused about the best way forward. Many homeowners make the mistake of diving in, and fall for all sorts of terrible advice as a result. And the journey becomes far more stressful, expensive and time consuming as a result. And their finished home never lives up to the dreams they held so dear.

When you have the steps to follow … the map for your journey ahead, you can then move confidently towards that future home you’re dreaming of, and not waste any time or money.

When you know that step-by-step system has been created over decades of experience in hundreds and hundreds of family homes like yours, you can save so much stress in your project, and create a home that works and feels great.

And when you have the steps, as well as professional know-how, design knowledge, tools, resources, and guides, you can shortcut your journey, enjoy your experience, and avoid the heartache and drama so many experience.

If you’re keen to make your journey simpler, be confident that the home you’re dreaming of is achievable, and know the steps to get you there …’The Welcome Home Course’ is the way. Together with Eric, we’ve packaged up almost 45 years experience to show you the way to your future family home.

Head to to learn more and join us.


Find more information and links to Marina V Umali, Marina V Design Studio, here >>>

Learn more about Jake Krokowski and get links to JWK Design, here >>>

Find out about “The Welcome Home Course” for American homeowners here >>>

And “How to Get it Right” for Aussie homeowners here >>>

160 episodes