Two Wichita design businesses plus one new space equal a lot more collaboration

Vicki Flores, left, and Wendy Mayes have separate design businesses but often collaborate on work and now share the same office space.








The coronavirus pandemic caused people to start working from home, and a lot are continuing to stay there.

Designers Wendy Mayes and Vicki Flores are taking the opposite route.

The two had always worked from home, but they decided to open a storefront together. Both women are long time members of The American Society of Interior Designers.

Mayes who is one of the few Certified Kitchen and Bath Designers (CKD) in the area, still has her Wendy Mayes Design, which focuses on kitchen and bath renovations, and Flores still has Designs for Life.

Now, both businesses are at 3211 E. Douglas between Reuben Saunders Gallery and the Crown Uptown Theatre.

“We collaborate together on a lot of projects,” Mayes said. “It’s just kind of easier to work together this way”

They like the area in part because it’s close to a lot of their suppliers, and it’s in the Douglas Design District.

“There’s just a great feeling here,” Flores said.

The space isn’t a showroom.“It’s a space where we can have our clients and guests come in and just sit and be comfortable and chat,” Flores said.

She’s a Certified   Living  In Place Professional (CLIPP) interior designer who specializes in what’s called “Living In Place.” That’s when a home is designed for people of all ages so that they can be comfortable, safe and well regardless of their circumstances. The home design prepares it for readiness for changes both expected and the unforseen.

Both Flores and Mayes live in multigenerational homes and incorporate features into their designs and layouts to make it easier for anyone of any age to use a home.

“We have just become passionate about it,” Flores said.

The two can show their work via a video monitor, and Flores said they can do a lot of preliminary design from a distance.

May is ALS Awareness Month

  ALS .. Those 3 letters changed my life 15 years ago. Our son Bryan was diagnosed with this body destroying and fatal  disease at the age of 33. He was told by a heartless specialist to get a feeding tube, fill out a DNR and prepare to die. His life expectancy was 18 months.

He had just returned to Wichita, after spending 5 years  teaching in Prague and had begun his first year teaching at Wichita State.

Our hearts were full of despair and hopelessness. An intervention from an ALS angel, Jean Hayley, brought HOPE into our lives. She put Bryan on a huge regiment of vitamins and told him to eat to keep weight on his body. He went to the ALS clinic at KU Med and was told that he had a very slow progressing form of the disease and that his life span was like everyone else undetermined.

From that point on we celebrate life. We appreciate each extra day that we have been given.

However, that is not the norm for this beast of a disease. Every 90 minutes, someone is diagnosed with ALS and ever 90 minutes, someone takes their last breath.

There are no survivors to celebrate at the ALS Walks. There are no treatments that bring any long term relief.  Every patient is different but the out -come is  always the same.

Because our family has been given a gift, I feel it is my duty and privilege to do what I can to help spread the awareness and offer support to those patients and their caregivers while we await a treatment of any kind.

You will be hearing from me again as we prepare for fundraising walk in September.Brand

WHAT IS ALS? The name amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is Greek in origin. “A” means “no” or “negative,” “myo” translates to “muscle”, and “trophic” refers to “nourishment”. So, amyotrophic means “no muscle nourishment”. “Lateral” refers to the places in a person’s spinal cord where portions of nerve cells that signal and control the muscles are located. As this area degenerates it leads to scarring or hardening (“sclerosis”) in the region.In the United States and many other countries, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, named after the legendary Yankees baseball player who died from ALS in 1941. In the United Kingdom and other parts of the world, ALS is often called Motor Neurone Disease (MND). In many Spanish speaking countries it is called Esclerosis Lateral Amiotrófica (ELA).This disease weakens and kills nerve cells that control voluntary muscle movement. Individuals are robbed of their ability to move, speak, eat and breathe, but it often leaves the mind intact. Death can occur within 2-5 years of diagnosis, but some individuals have survived for 10 or more years. Some symptoms can be managed and certain treatments can help extend life. However, there is currently no known cure or fully effective treatment for the underlying causes of ALS.

ALS is not contagious and doesn’t discriminate. This disease can strike anyone, regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. Every 90 minutes ALS claims another life. Every time someone dies, another person is diagnosed with ALS.

Our journey

In 2014, our family began a journey into uncharted territory. We blended 3 generations into one home. Jim and I were in our late 60’s, Dot, my Mom, late 80’s and our son Bryan was 40 and living with ALS. I I am so thankful that we have had this opportunity. I write for me to remember the love, tears and laughter that we have shared with one another and to encourage others to take the leap of faith if the opportunity presents itself to you.


Yes , the Flores/ Armstrong  household does believe in celebrating but we took it a bit too far this time. Being very involved in Living In Place, I am aware of all the usual “fall prevention” do’s and don’ts, and feel like I follow everything pretty closely. These falls were really not  covered by those guidelines.

The first occurred in the dining room when Dot and I tried to share the same space at the same time. One little butt bump and she was on the floor. She is not very adept at righting herself. Luckily Jim was home so together we were able to get her upright and  steady enough to use her walker.  She was a bit bruised  and tender for  a week or so.  She is an amazing woman. I know that she gets angry for  her lack of ability, but she never complains.

Fall # 2 : Dot fought the dishwasher and the dishwasher won.  I was working upstairs and heard a loud array of sounds. I rushed into the kitchen and she was on the floor behind the island. Evidently, she was unloading the dishwasher and decided to reach across the open door to access a drawer in the island. That did not work out so well! Somehow she managed to fall over the door and land on her side. Her glasses flew off but she had a smallish cut on her eye where they had been. I managed to get her setting up right against the cabinets with ice on her cut. I knew that I could not get her up by myself so I called Dan ( thank goodness they only live a mile away). Alexis  relayed the message to him  and he was here  within 10 minutes. I called her doctor because I was concerned about her hitting her head and they thought she should come in. So when Dan arrived we got her up and he took her to her doctor. She got a clean bill of health and was a little stiff for a few days.

Fall #3: The cough that rocked the world

Just imagine having a cold when you have very little use of your arms and hands. Bryan faces  challenges every day because ALS has robbed him of the use of his hands and arms. He can still stand and walk but  if he loses his balance he can not use his arms to steady or catch  himself.  He was walking from his desk to his chair when  a bout of heavy coughing  developed. Before he could make it to the chair, he lost his balance and ended up on the floor.

Jim and I were up stairs when he called us on Alexa to say he need help.  With his directions we were able to get him scooted  with his back against his chair but we could not lift him into the chair. Thankfully, our neighbor (a 22 year old well built man) was able to assist us.

Someone said ” It takes a village to raise a child.” It also “takes a village” to keep a family together under 1 roof. These events do not happen every day or week but they did all three happen in September. I want to thank our village of family, friends and neighbors who are there for us providing love and support.