Designing You Saturday, Jan 28 2017 

I am very excited to say that the book is done and now available through Amazon! It has been a project of love and an amazing experience. I had always thought about writing a book but never really thought it was something that I would do. It is done and I thought I would go into a bit more depth as to what the book is about and what is in the book.

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Designing You is about my philosophy on design, what it is like to work with me, and a self evaluation on your personal design style. To me interior design is all about the client. For many years and through much of my early training I heard all about how the client doesn’t know what they want. That is is the designers job to tell them what they should do. That it is the designer and only the designer that has the style and vision to see what should be done. I have always felt that this was not correct. Yes, we as designers much have a vision for what the space is going to be. But we much get that vision from somewhere. And it must come from the client.

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Throughout the book you will learn about how working from a client driven space creates designs that our clients love for many years, because they are all about them.

I also want all of my readers to be able to get to know themselves more. So in the book I have included a color/design quiz that will help each reader to better understand their own personal style. I have dropped the traditional hard to understand design terms and created it in everyday language. Good design is for everyone.

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I will take you on a journey of what it is like to work on clients designs, what Furniture Fashion Week is all about, and why I do what I do. Creating great design, is creating a place that you can soar from. The process includes every emotion out there. When I design I have to get into the heads of my clients. So when I am shopping for them I have to see everything as they would see it. Go through all the options and then present to them only what is best for them.

And of course there are some great pictures of completed spaces. I have included some of my favorite projects in the book to show what it is like when a space is completed. The styles range all over the place, from beach living to traditional to contemporary. And as I designer I feel that I should always be able to pop back and forth between styles because each client is different and deserves to have a design specific to them.

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So please enjoy, check it out. Pick up the paper copy so that you can write in it and mark things that you love. But most of all find out more about who you are and your personal style.

What Does a Designer Actually Do? Tuesday, Dec 1 2015 

It always amazes me when I hear comments like “you don’t need a designer, just google it”. Or how about “I’m just as good as a designer”. Or one of my favorites “oh it won’t take you long, like what 10 minutes to just draw it out”. When I hear these kinds of comments I always think what other profession would you say those kinds of things to? Do people not realize that we go to school for between 4 – 6 years to be able to do what we do? Do they not realize that I can’t just scratch out a drawing because I do have a degree and I need the drawing that I do to be correct in all ways. The drawing that I do needs to be able to be given to a contractor or installer or workroom and made into what I have drawn. Designing isn’t just throwing pretty things together. Designing is creating a functioning work of art. It is creating a living space that people will live in, work in, raise children in, get married in, create a living in. And you want me to just throw it together? Do you ask your Doctor to just give you their best guess without running lab tests? Do you ask your CPA to just fudge the numbers to look good? No, you would never. So here is a look into what we as designers actually do all day.

We meet with reps to learn about the newest products available. These will be products from fabrics, to furniture, to tile, to flooring, to wall treatments, to window coverings, to cabinetry, plumbing fixtures and lighting. We have to know all the latest designs trends, the latest changes to each of these many industries, and we have to know what issues each of these industries are facing at any given time. This could mean an issue with fabrics mills, to shipping disruptions to changes to construction and new laws about components. This alone is a full time job and yet we can allot maybe two hours a week to this section of our jobs.

We meet with clients. We learn their loves and hates, their fears, their needs, their wants and their obsessions. We learn everything we can about that client so that we can make decisions for them when there is a need for a quick decision. We learn their budgets. We learn what is important to them and what isn’t. And most of all we learn how to work in that clients style.

We meet with contractions, architects, electricians, cabinet makers, tilers, floorers, workrooms, HVAC specialists, and plumbers. And at each new meeting we have to go to we jump through hoops to prove to everyone we really do know what we are talking about. Ok, that may be a little harsh, but the reality is that many in these positions still don’t want to believe that we are a valuable part of the process. So when we get a contractor, architect, electrician, installer and such that is happy to be working with a designer, we don’t let that person go. Because it is so much easier to work with those that value what we do and understand that we make their jobs easier.

We design and then redesign. I would love to say that with each project the design just flows and everything we suggest is accepted and created. But that is not reality. First, we probably design a specific space two to three times before we present the best option to the client. We spend hours drawing and redrawing. It doesn’t matter if we do it by hand or on the computer it doesn’t just magically appear on a piece of paper. And even the fastest designer still takes double the time that people think it takes to get it right. We spend hours looking through fabrics, wallpapers, lighting, furniture and flooring. We create multiple options in case one of the suggestions is not what the client loves and we need a back up. We price, reprice and negotiate to get our clients the best price. And then when it is all put together we present the vision to the client.

At the end of the day we have created a piece of art. We created a space where anything can happen. We created the home that will raise children, or fur babies, or dreams. We created the working environment that will make greatness possible, that will welcome clients, or patients, or customers. We created the environment that will entice people to try that new food, or that outfit. We created the space that will inspire people to dream. So when you ask “what does a designer actually do” I have the answer. We create the space where dreams are possible!

Furniture Fashion Week, Why I Go Tuesday, Mar 31 2015 

So it is just about that time again, furniture fashion week. That’s right those of us in the industry are getting ready to descend on the town of High Point, NC and shop until we drop. Ok so we may not be shopping all the time, but what we are doing is seeing all of the new trends and the up and coming designer and companies. We are also going to seminars about how we can be better designer, business people and companies. We are finding out about the newest software to make our lives easier and how to make our clients lives better. But during all of that we definitely have some fun and certainly don’t sleep. It means long days, usually at the first showroom by 8am and working until 8-9pm. We are shopping for clients, showrooms, new vendors and just to keep up with the newest ideas. It is super fasted paced and it is all set in this great town that is the perfect mix of old and new. I say that because you may be in a hundred year old building at 9am and then in a brand new skyscraper in the afternoon and in the courtyard in the evening for wine, cheese and day end review. So how about a little peek into markets past? Here are some pictures of the fantastic buildings and showrooms that can be found at market. And yes this is just a very small slice into what happens at market.

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Are you as excited as I am for market? Keep checking in for updates on market as it is happening and my favorites from the show. Market will be from April 18-23, 2015. Almost time!

What Your Interior Designer Does Tuesday, Aug 6 2013 

As an interior design I hear on a regular basis what does an interior designer actually do. I believe we get this question because there is this image out there of a fancy dressed person prancing around with a cocktail in their hand pointing and demand things to be done while spending the client’s money as fast as possible. This is definitely not what really goes on but it is what makes good television. What really goes on in our daily life well it is not so glamorous. It is a lot of number crunching, sketching, problem solving, and hot construction sites. This doesn’t sound like the image you had in mind does it? I thought I would walk everyone through the design process and what an interior designer actually does from conceptions to implementation.

The first thing we do is meet with the client to understand their needs, wants and budgets. Our goal during this meeting is to be able to get inside the head of the client/clients and determine what essentials verse wants need to go into the project. We are also asking questions and determining the style of the client. If there are multiple clients such as in a commercial space or if it is a married couple it is determining how we need to balance the styles of the entire team for the best outcome.

The next step is to head back to the office and start working on the project. If it is new construction that means sketching and drawing the beginning plans for the space. If it is redesigning or remodeling that means also sketching and drawing the plans but there is usually a footprint to be working off of. No matter what the project it always needs to start with an inspiration. This can be a picture, a piece of fabric, an architectural feature, or simply a feeling that needs to be created.

Once the drawings are done elements need to be added. These are the architectural features things like built ins, columns, arches, moldings, and wainscoting. We also need to select flooring, cabinetry, fixtures and all items that need to go in during construction. These elements are then added to the drawings and specs for the plans.

Once all structural elements are selected it is time to select the decorative elements. These are the things that take the space from a shell to a home/office/shop. This includes window treatments, furnishings, paint colors, wallpaper, rugs etc. These are the places where the personality of the client really starts to be seen. This is also where we focus even more on the use of the space for the products we are selecting. If it is a retail store we are designing we want to make sure that we are inciting the potential customers to come into the space. If it is an office we want to make sure that it is set up in a proficient way that will keep people in the mindset to work. If it is a home we need to make sure that it is inviting and hugs the client when they walk through the front door.

All of these elements come together on design boards and are then presented to the client. At this point we always hope for a resounding I love everything go ahead. But that doesn’t always happen. What usually happens is the majority of the idea is accepted and then there is time spent tweaking the idea and plans to get the final outcome that is desired. Once this has been achieved the plans are sent to engineering and permitting and demo begins.

As the design is being implemented your interior designer is constantly working behind the scenes. This entails following up with suppliers to make sure that the products are getting to the job sites on time. This means working with the fabricators to make sure that everything is being made to the specifications of the design. This means being on the construction site making sure that the plans are being properly constructed. And many times it means problems solving to create the design. Something what is forgotten is that what we draw on paper even with the best 3D programs it is still and idea on paper. When we are in the field there are times that changes need to be made to work around needed structural elements. Two of the biggest areas that change design elements are trusses and HVAC systems. These have very specific places that they have to be installed. This means that we have to work around them when creating the design. So that can lead to changing the positions of lights, changing the dimensions of closets, or even the set up of a room. When these changes need to be made your interior designer has all of your needs in mind and is on site to make the best decision possible to meet your needs.

Once the construction is complete it is all about furnishing the project. During the construction process these pieces were being made. They were designed to work with the cabinetry, the granite, the floors, the arches and columns. They were also made to be the best solutions to your work or living needs. So when they are placed in the home or office they feel as though they belonged there the entire time. It is at this point that the clients truly see the implementation of the design. This is the point that we as designers work for. This is where the fruits of all the long days, hot construction sites and stress come together. It is the absolute best when you walk in the completed space and the client is grinning from ear to ear. It makes it all worth it and why we do it again.

So no I do not get to prance around in exorbitantly expensive clothes with a drink in hand spending someone else’s money. What I do is take a dream that was at one time just a glimmer in someone’s mind and make it reality.

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