News release: SPACE takes on new challenges of workplace design

kathie fuce-hobohm smiles at table

SPACE, Inc.’s 26 years of designing work spaces that foster productivity, creativity and collaboration put the firm in a prime position to tackle the major challenges recent events have brought to the workplace. 

The focus will still be on designing for the future of work, but SPACE will now concentrate on three core areas to better serve clients: 

  • Design: Creating workplaces that reflect clients’ specific tastes, needs and budgets
  • Sustainability: Repurposing existing furniture to reduce waste while still reinventing spaces
  • Health and safety: Making sure workplaces keep staff safe

“Last year showed us that the future of work requires a variety of work settings—from offices, to homes, to coffee shops, and joint work spaces,” said Paddy Hobohm, SPACE president. “We help clients design smaller office spaces that foster collaboration, community, and efficiency for when employees are in the office. But we are also on the leading edge in supporting employers’ efforts to ensure staff well-being, which is a step beyond selecting furniture and design styles.” 

To reflect these changes, SPACE has revamped its brand and website.

“Our new branding is a bold statement that SPACE creates innovative workspaces for clients looking to stay ahead of the pack,” said Jenni Bush, senior vice president. “At the same time, the new branding elevates SPACE nationally to the front lines of interior workplace design.” The firm has offered full-space planning, layout, and execution for over 6,500 businesses in Michigan and government offices throughout the nation. 

In a transition that began three years ago, SPACE is also bringing on a second generation of leadership, as founder Kathie Fuce-Hobohm moves into an advisory role next year as the Chairman of the Board and her son Paddy Hobohm takes over

Hobohm came to the firm twelve years ago, starting in installation and working his way through scheduling and project management. In recent years he’s focused on the firm’s larger federal government projects. Hobohm earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. He also has an associate’s degree from Delta College and went to high school in Midland. 

Bush is senior vice president, overseeing the firm’s 24 employees while also doing human relations, sales, and events. She has worked for SPACE almost 9 years, starting by entering orders. Bush has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Grand Valley State University, and a master’s degree in administration and leadership from Central Michigan University. 

Fuce-Hobohm and her former business partner Lisa Hulbert launched SPACE in 1995, with just five people. In 2004, the firm won its first federal government contract, and just three months later garnered another to provide furniture for the Department of Health and Human Services. In 2007, SPACE was named among Michigan 50 Companies to Watch. 

Meanwhile, Fuce-Hobohm never shied away from assisting other businesses. 

 “Kathie’s contributions to Midland’s business community are immeasurable,” said Tony Stamas, president and CEO of the Midland Business Alliance. “She is always willing to share her experiences and provide guidance and mentorship. Her willingness to help is seen both in our community and around the State of Michigan. At the same time she is guiding a great business, Kathie’s commitment to helping others is truly inspiring.” 

Fuce-Hobohm is gearing up for her last year at SPACE. 

“At SPACE, we design for the future of work,” Fuce-Hobohm said. “I predict that the work-from-anywhere movement will continue with full steam, so our company is actively adapting to interior design trends to suit employees’ needs wherever they work. 

“However, we know the pendulum may swing back, with people eager to work collectively again after so much time in isolation. Whatever trends the future brings, we’re ready,” Fuce-Hobohm said. 

Designing unique workspaces — wherever you work

modern office space

Recognizing the ever-changing environments you work in, SPACE designs unique workspaces. These creative solutions are designed for work at home, work in an office, or work wherever you are. Hear from Megan Thomas, Senior Interior Designer – Account Manager at SPACE.

A unique design solution for your workspace

woman in green outfit sits and smiles at desk

I am part of an incredibly smart, creative, and technical team. We design unique workspaces that enable our clients to work more comfortably and productively—all while minimizing disruption and cost to employers.

It’s this ability to provide a comprehensive design solution that sets us apart from our competitors. We provide furniture products—we’re a preferred Haworth dealer, and offer a long list of other brands including AIS, National, and OFS. But we also can completely reinvent your workspace according to your business needs. 

Clients come to us when they face changes in their workplace. Maybe they’ve outgrown their existing building or are restructuring their organization. Maybe they need to retain or recruit new talent. Or they’re faced with a global pandemic that forces them to completely rethink their way of working. Whatever the reason, our team can help.

Each client engagement begins with a discovery meeting, where we explore the client’s dreams and desires and examine the scope of work. Then, we enter the design engagement phase where we provide a quote for our services. From here we gather information about the project. Next, we field-measure the space and conduct a furniture inventory, before providing the client with 3D renderings for review. If all looks good, we enter all orders and complete installation.

A memorable project with Spence Brothers

Spence Brothers—a general contractor based in Saginaw, Michigan—came to us with a challenge. They were moving from their old, small building to a new, renovated marketplace building called SVRC Marketplace. As a result, the family-led team wanted to maintain their 125 year legacy of commercial construction while modernizing their workspace. 

The team gave me the word “streetscape” as their vision. We incorporated wood canopies and outdoor lights over enclosed, glass offices. We added pipes and wood for shelving and corrugated metal for the reception. The conference room was designed to mirror their historic one, with the same legacy table. As you enter the office space, they added a history wall and framed photos of completed projects.

What started as a bold vision, is now a workspace that properly represents the creativity of the Spence Brothers team.

What does the future hold for designing unique workspaces?

COVID-19 will surely leave behind many workplace changes in its path. We anticipate an increased desire for collaborative, comfortable, and hospitable workspaces. Coming out of a forced work from home era, employees may crave human interaction but in a cozy, relaxed environment instead. 

We’re eager to continue designing unique workspaces for the future of work!

A Q&A with SPACE Gen 2 leadership

young man sits at desk and smiles

As we celebrate our 26th anniversary and the launch of SPACE’s new brand, we’re excited to continue designing for the future of work. But what’s next for SPACE? Join us for a Q&A with SPACE Gen 2 leadership: Paddy Hobohm, president, and Jenni Bush, senior vice president.

How did the Gen 2 leadership get started at SPACE?


As Kathie’s son, I grew up in the business. But it was a requirement that I spend some time learning outside of SPACE. 

I attended high school in Midland, got my associate’s degree locally at Delta College, then spent a few years in Colorado. There, I earned my bachelor’s degree and worked at a property management company.

When I moved back to Michigan, I started at the bottom in installation. I worked my way through scheduling and project management—focusing on our larger federal government projects these past few years. Last year, I was named president.

While 2021 is a transition year for SPACE, I’ve learned and grown alongside Kathie for the past 12 years. As a small business leader, it’s important for me to have a strong grasp on all areas of the business.


I’m a Michigan native, as well. I attended Grand Valley State University for undergrad before earning my master’s degree at Central Michigan University in administration and leadership. My career began in higher education for Cornerstone University. 

At that point, I had literally never thought about working in commercial interiors. What I loved—and still do—is coaching, managing, and leading people. 

I got my start with SPACE in order entry. Later, I transitioned into sales and project management for our home organization services and, later, the commercial side of our business. Thanks to Kathie’s incredible encouragement and support, I grew into my current role where I oversee our team of 24 people. I also manage human relations, sales, and events. 

What does the new brand mean to SPACE as you continue growing?


I often find that external shareholders think SPACE is a lot bigger than we are. That’s pretty cool, especially when we’re competing against companies ten times our size when bidding for federal government jobs. This new brand will take us to the next level. We want to compete nationally and stay on the front lines of interior workplace design trends.

The modern look, paired with the growing ability to work remotely, will be an important asset in attracting top talent across the country. In our industry, whoever gets the best designers, wins.

What trends do you foresee when designing for the future of work?


If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that the future of work isn’t going to be just one thing. We’re going to continue to see a variety of work settings—from offices, to homes, to coffee shops, and joint work spaces. 

We’re embracing the positives of remote work by allowing our staff more flexibility and recruiting across a wider talent pool. 

But we’re also seeing these trends emerging for our clients. We’re helping them design smaller office spaces that build community, collaboration, and loyalty for when staff are in the office. Beyond selecting furniture and design styles, we hope to be a trend-leader in supporting employers’ efforts to focus on staff’s wellbeing.

What message does the Gen 2 leadership have for staff and clients as you look to the future of SPACE?


I want everyone to know that we stand by our mission to make work life better for everyone we impact. And I plan to continue emphasizing our strong work culture, so we can continue being named one of the Best and Brightest places to work!


We’re a nimble, high-performing team, and this is what’s going to sustain us as a business over the next decade. At SPACE, we want to be able to celebrate our successes among our team and with our community. Being laser-focused on performance and experience will ensure that we are sustainable and viable now and going forward.

Celebrating SPACE’s 26th anniversary

young man and his mother hug while celebrating SPACE's 26th anniversary

As we celebrate SPACE’s 26th anniversary, we’re proud to reveal our new brand and website. Founder, Kathie Fuce-Hobohm, reflects on the business and prepares to pass the baton to her second generation of leadership.

Five people and a dream: SPACE’S beginnings

When my previous business partner, Lisa Hulbert, and I launched SPACE, we were just five people, three computers, and a big dream. 

In 1994, Lisa and I worked together at an office furniture dealership in Midland, Michigan. At that point, an ownership transition resulted in the new owner closing the business to concentrate on the Detroit market. When he called me asking me to tell the staff of the news, I became what I call an “accidental entrepreneur.” 

Lisa and I purchased the company’s assets and, 90 days later, opened SPACE. With the help of a man named John Bartos, we found our building, moved in, and continued delivering to the previous company’s existing clients.

woman shows off messy desk, a flashback while celebrating SPACE's 26th anniversary

Building a real business: SPACE’s early years

My background is in education—high school English—and coaching cheerleading. I had taught for a few years before I was laid off. That turned out to be one of the pivotal moments of my life. 

I was hired by Battle Creek Office Interiors, working as a sales rep for Jack Meyers—an outstanding mentor. After only one year, my husband got transferred to Midland, I consider that divine intervention, as it brought me a step closer to what became SPACE. 

I had quickly learned I loved the industry; it was my true calling. So with a few thousand dollars we had saved in bonds for our children’s college education and part of Lisa’s inheritance, we built SPACE into a “real business.”

At that point, we didn’t know what we didn’t know, but we had to start somewhere. I reached out to the Chairman Emeritus of Chemical Bank, Alan Ott, who helped me create a formal business plan.  

In 2004, we were awarded our first GSA contract. Three months later, we received a fax asking if we wanted to bid on providing furniture for the Department of Health and Human Services. We checked “yes,” and were the only one in the U.S. who sold the right products and checked yes!

In 2007, we won the Michigan 50 Companies to Watch, and the prize included a three-day business retreat. Spending time with the Edward Lowe Foundation as a result is where we began to learn how to truly run a business, understand the financial acumen, and turn this endeavor into a sustainable living.

newspaper article about SPACE saying yes to the federal government

Passing the baton: SPACE’s future

As of February 1, 2021, I have officially entered my final year as Dealer Principal of SPACE. I’ll spend this year passing the baton to our Gen 2 leaders as I prepare for a new advisory role as Chairman of the Board on February 2, 2022.

Three years ago, we began a purposeful program to transition the strategic planning, financial strategy, and leadership to this next group of leaders. And I’ve been so proud as I’ve watched them find their voices and step into leadership positions. I’m thrilled that my son, Paddy Hobohm, is taking over the business as president, and that SPACE will become a second generation small business.

At SPACE, we design for the future of work. My prediction is that the work from anywhere movement will continue with full steam. Our company is actively adapting to interior design trends to suit employees’ needs wherever they work. However, the pendulum may swing backward—with people eager to work collectively again after so much time in isolation.

Our team serves clients’ needs regardless how they choose to work.

Supporting women-owned businesses: Kathie’s retirement plans

I’ve always been passionate about helping women-owned small businesses grow and thrive. Did you know that only three percent of women-owned small businesses achieve revenue over $1 million annually? In retirement, I plan to continue mentoring young women through the Midland Women’s Executive Round Table and Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP). 

I can’t leave without thanking the many clients, team members, and mentors who have been so kind and generous throughout my career. 

As they say, the worst day I’ve ever had owning my own business was better than my best day working for someone else. I’m confident I’m leaving this place in great hands. But for now, I’m eager for one more year at SPACE. Join us in celebrating SPACE’s 26th anniversary!

Carpet Tiles, What You NEED to Know!!

Carpet tiles have been and still are considered to be the height of fashion and practicality in the corporate office environment.  Here are just a few of the advantages of choosing carpet tiles for your office space.

Creativity:  Carpet tiles are the first and foremost when wanting to truly design a space.  With their small size and ability to be cut to precise shapes, carpet tiles let you create an environment that is right for your business.

Versatility:  Because of their size and layout, carpet tiles can be laid to fit rooms that are less than conventional.  Because carpet tiles can be cut easily, the process is easier, faster and produces a finished final product.

Durability:  Carpet tiles are VERY durable.  There is a reason carpet tiles have been around since the 50’s!

Warranties:  Carpet tiles can come with the best warranties for the life of your carpet.  Engineered wood and Laminate can come with a warranty, but most times are a shorter length with stipulations.

What is Activation?

In the construction and design world, everyone knows the main phases of a typical project: Pre-Design, Design, Procurement, Construction, Post-Construction.

So, what is Activation and where does it fit?  

Activation – or to activate, a verb — means to set in motion; make active or more active.  

In construction management, Activation is the phase of a project that prepares a building/space for occupancy.

Activities could include:

  • Mechanical and electrical commissioning
  • Furniture installation
  • IT network configuration
  • Phone installation
  • Actual move of occupants into the space

On face value one could say, “Oh, that’s just another name for Post-Construction.”  

However, Activation, specifically for technical projects like bio-medical research laboratories and hospitals, is a phase that spans the whole project schedule.

The goal of any project is to create a space where the occupants can perform their activities effectively — from a scientist reviewing newly formed stem cells to a doctor operating on a sick patient.  

These high-tech buildings need to function.

At the end of the day, what is the point of turning over a new facility to talented researchers and medical personnel if the building can’t serve them?

A common problem that I’ve experienced over the years is that by the time the construction project is completed — sometimes taking multiple years — the technology & equipment used by the occupants is outdated and obsolete.

Furthermore, scientific personnel and/or research projects have changed.  

Utility requirements, whether electrical, mechanical heat loads, or lab/medical gasses have been modified and the whole space needs to be renovated before the occupant can move in.

Yes, brand new facilities must be renovated to meet the needs of the users before they can move-in.

How is this an effective use of resources, time and money?

Therefore, I believe that Activation needs to be in the forefront of everyone’s mind throughout the whole project lifecycle.  Continual check-ins with the users, surveys of equipment, discussions with IT and equipment manufacturers need to occur.

Coordination between the design/construction and activation teams need to occur early in the design process, rather than after construction is complete.

By focusing on Activation early, the project has better success of staying on schedule too.  The more time you have to adjust to new information the more time you have to incorporate it into your project plan.  The last thing a project needs at turnover is finding out that a user piece of equipment requires a specific kind of power outlet, requiring change orders and additional work.

And this model can be used for other building industry groups like retail tenant fit-out, hotels and high-rise residential.  Maintaining high levels of quality on day one for users and guests is paramount for brand justification.

Again, our goal as service providers in the construction industry is to deliver a space that can be used by the occupants on the day that they arrive in the space.

Working together with that goal and foresight in mind by starting Activation early is a great way to make that goal a reality.

What areas of Project Turnover do you struggle with?  Please leave a comment and we will respond!