Meet Interior Designer; Yumilka Soto; behind the Stunning New Night Club & Lounge La Diabla” in LoDo 

Hi Yumilka!

What was it like recently designing  “La Diabla”, the new Night Club & Lounge in Downtown Denver? 

My clients met me through a referral. They were in love with the Lounges I did in Orlando FL. They told me how Denver needed that tropical touch as a connection with Latin roots, where you get to eat this homie gastronomy while listening to music that brings great memories to your heart in an upscale ambiance.

The biggest challenge was to keep the architectural origins. Since it is a historical building ( The Baur’s, 1872 ) It was a famous bakery and candy factory that keeps its reputation for fine food and old-world elegance. So I had to marry that romantic Victorian style with “ Tropical” to please my clients and add on the “sensual touch to represent the femininity of LA DIABLA.

Here in the pictures, you can see how I managed to mix these styles and essences throughout the different areas and how I blended the historical Victorian elements that I needed to protect and made them part of the compositions.

La Diabla is divided into 3 areas, which resemble a woman’s feelings, let’s call them “ moods”, there is the blue section is the heaven when she is feeling sensitive and a good girl, and there is the red section where she is feeling spicy and empowered, and last is the “RED ROOM” when she is feeling heartbroken or disappointed.

Can you tell us your journey to becoming an Interior Designer?

Hi, I am Yumilka Soto, an Interior Designer from the Dominican Republic, From an early age I had this little tickle on me to find my way to create, sell, and have a business on my own, I had an amazing childhood with my friends Christina and Suzet creating things to sale at school and since then I did not stop doing it. I felt happy with the outcome of trading creative talent for coins and having the freedom to buy candies and glittery  plastic bracelets that were on trend back then.

Once I finished college I got my first restaurant Design opportunity through one of my best friends Yanesa, JOES PIZZA DR, the place came out great and that taste of success became addictive.

The discipline to keep yourself accountable and show results was the best adrenaline I could experience. Until love brought me to Florida and I had to start from scratch again, new language, new construction regulations, new everything overall no connections or stability.

I knew I needed to learn the “know-how” English version this time! So I took a job opportunity that was an hour or so far away from home, it was a sacrifice since I did not have a car at that time, and managed to show up on time and learn. It was selling tiles and finishing materials, a great school for me I could say!

I got to meet amazing people, build relationships with great contractors, get trained, and master tile installations becoming so knowledgeable in my field and the best part that came with it was to become fluent speaking English.

On my days off I was designing fireplaces, kitchens, bathrooms, and summer kitchens for clients through contractor referrals. Once my full-time job became an obstacle to booking more design appointments I quit.

It was the scariest thing I have done so far, leaving a safe salary for the unknown, let’s add on as a cherry on top that “ I got my first car loan “, that was a kind of a crazy move for me and the car seller guy told me a sale speech to overcome my fear that became my motto, maybe yours too now you’re reading this: “ YOUR CAR PAYMENT IT IS YOUR GOAL FOR THE DAY, DON’T COME BACK HOME WITHOUT THAT AMOUNT”.

It was my morning drive to wake up at the same time every day to send texts, follow- ups, and phone calls to get enough Design consultations to cover the car payment for the day. Not every day was successful but the good days covered for the missing days and it became my discipline.

One happy client brought me to the next happy client and so on, I started to have a name on my own, this time doing restaurants and Lounges.

Happy clients are your best marketing and your discipline is that arm you need as support to wake up and take the world when you’re an entrepreneur.

 Shout out your team here if you’d like! :

A big shout out to my assistant Johanna Calderon, who’s my civil engineer who  oversees the execution and takes care of project management, Without her it would be  chaos to manage myself to work on upcoming projects, admin tasks, and take care of  Designing, 2D and 3D productions. My carpenter Carlos, is the one who has the  patience to breathe and listens when I come up with crazy unique ideas, it is funny  because he goes on a side and plays his favorite music and comes back with a way to  do it and indeed the finish product looks just like my 3D render. More than a carpenter  he is my right hand and my support system and like a Dad to me.

What is the process like when working with a client on designing a space?

It is simple, the main focus is to listen, once I take notes, I put together a list of what  they want and I divide it into 3 sections: Essential needs, Priorities, and wishes. This is  the best way to distribute my client’s budget. I always leave a little cushion for extras  and mostly the wishes are the ones taking over it and surpassing.

The design process it’s my favorite, I always start from a conceptual story mostly given  by my clients and use it as a board to get my inspiration to pull finishing materials,  styles, and colors out of it.  

Communication is key when it comes to renovations, the constant back and forth giving  them reports of what is going on, and making decisions on the surprises that come up  randomly is a priority in this process. The fun is always picking up colors and furniture  selections.  


What are some of your favorite projects you have done?

I am involuntary getting hired to develop mostly Tropical style projects and it happens  that two of my favorites besides La Diabla Night Club Denver is a residential renovation I named “ TROPICAL OASIS “, my clients told me “ Yumi we want to feel we arrived to a Luxury Caribbean Hotel when we get home every day “ and Indeed I gave them that  feeling. 

Why did you choose Denver for your business? 

Honestly, it was all God’s plans, I had no clue I would end up living in Denver and falling  in love with all the amenities, Colorado received me with open arms and I felt welcome!  It is so hard to resist it, mostly all areas within 30 miles away from the city centre.  

What challenges have you experienced on your journey?

I could say the biggest challenge of all time is pulling permits! This is the most tedious  timeframe in all projects, mostly when it is commercial and it feels like takes forever to move forward, fortunately, we can take care of other things that don’t overlap with  permits on the agenda while we wait.  

Surprisingly the Pandemic was the busiest time I ever had, which put me in shock  because I was going through an emotional roller coaster myself about “ cleaning my  steering wheel with hand sanitizer and getting Lysol showers on my foyer in one day  and the next day carefree and thinking twice to ear mask.  

It was the time when I got the most IN-HOME Design Consultations, seems like people  started to pay attention to their home needs and decided to take care of it as a part of  getting their minds involved in something else far away from the news. I remember  showing up to their homes dressed up like spacemen with all my protection and they asked me if “ I “ wanted to reschedule until feeling more comfortable. I bet someone can  relate to this!

How would you describe the Personality or “Vibe” of Denver?

Inclusive overall and green-conscious in all aspects.

Are you from Colorado? Which neighborhood did you choose to call home and why?

No, I am not but Colorado is the state that allowed me to move forward in my career, it  is a place that spreads inspiration anywhere you go with the beautiful landscapes and  quickly made me feel “home”. I could say the universe brought me to Arvada!, the peace  you feel wandering around, the clean air you breathe on your morning walks, the  landscapes while driving, the fast development of new constructions as career  opportunities, how close it is from everywhere, and at the same time feels like a break  from the city fast track, I love it!

Website + Social Media to Follow your Upcoming Work? 

Instagram | LinkedIn | Facebook and all social media as @visualstudioplus There you can follow my everyday journey and to book a consultation you can do it  directly on the website or any social media just click on the links to prompt you to book. 

Embrace discipline over motivation. There is more cloudy days than bright days and you need to stick to a discipline to go out when the motivation just isn’t there.  

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