Why did you choose Andrew Lloyd Weber’s famous quote ? The word love is so overused in our profession. ‘I love this; don’t you love that; pick the one you love.’ But here I am talking about a different emotion. It is the moment in the job when you ‘fall in love’ with it; when it is no longer your clients’ project but something wonderful you share their love for. It is the moment when all involved become a team and each member of the team works to make the others successful. You find yourself thinking about it in the shower, driving down the road or even watching an old movie. An idea comes to you and you can’t wait to see if your ‘team’ gets as excited as you do. Once you fall in love with a project you can never go back to indifference. Even when all is complete and years pass, you drive by and you are welled up with love for what was yours for a time. Please describe your design style. I don’t have one style I prefer. The only style preference I’m interested in are those of my clients. The beauty of my profession is that I get to do all styles. I love the clean lines and simplicity of contemporary. I love the playfulness of modern. I love the rich colors and materials of traditional. As a designer, having access to the best resources regardless of style allows me to create spaces that use my talents while honing the style preferences of my clients. Successful spaces regardless of style depend on the same elements and principles of design. If I were forced to choose a design style I would still hedge and say ‘my look’ is one that marries function and beauty with quality pieces. I want my clients’ friends to know they have really good taste. How long have you been in interior design? Was this your first career choice or did you come from a different background? Prior to Design I sold Information Technology training and services to the Fortune 100 companies. I traveled a lot and toured every building in places I visited to view the architecture. When I realized looking at venerable old buildings in Washington, DC, or new construction at an IT company was the highlight of my job I decided to go back to school and get a degree in Interior Design. That was 1988. There have been so many high end clients since then but my first client was the mother of my son’s friend whom I’d never met, but Brad told her I was a very good designer. My first reference. Right away there was a second client who loved anything red and was referred by a neighbor. My third client was a 43,000 square foot regional sales office. I partnered with a talented Designer from Marriott who got us the job, and one month in she was transferred to Texas leaving me in charge. I wasn’t even a year out of Design School. My
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business experience helped me bluff my way through client and site meetings but only adrenalin got me to the end. I was so proud. It was beautiful, finished on time and on budget. Best of all, the contractor who early on was less than thrilled with my inexperience and tried to get me fired said it was the best project in his portfolio. It’s been one love affair after another ever since. East Coast Home + Design is celebrating 10 years of Design, how have you seen design change over the past 10 years? There have been so many changes I don’t know where to begin. Let’s start with business changes. I see the recession and information technology as the two drivers. The first was painful but temporary and the second is here to stay. Maybe because I started out in the information technology field I find the changes exciting and I think we are just getting started. Communication with manufacturers, sales reps, clients, sub-contractors has been done online for a number of years. Our product catalog search is all online so there is no need for a paper library. Proposals and Purchase Orders are delivered via the internet. My CAD software is no longer a purchased CD but is continually updated ‘in the cloud.’ These and other changes make life easier for a design firm. The challenges are having a client say ‘I just bought the niftiest chandelier from One Kings Lane. I hope you like it.’ There is so much eye candy out there and you can’t expect them not to look. I would too. Styles have changed a lot. Even the most traditional magazines feature mostly contemporary spaces. Less is more. But the pendulum had to swing back from the excess of the 1990’s and 2000’s where fringe was queen. I noticed in my History of Interior Design classes that furniture styles seemed to recycle every hundred years. If my theory is correct that would mean we are now entering the early 18th century Empire/Federal and early 19th century Art Nouveau/Art Deco hundred year anniversaries where they cleaned up the excesses of Rococo and Victorian styles. Change is good for design. It spurs creativity and makes us see new and old with a fresh perspective. If there is one solid statement you can make that would help clients understand the design process what would that be? You will have the most successful project and will be happier in the end if you can do three things: Be open and honest with your designer about your budget. Communicate often about what you like and don’t like. Let your designer know you trust them so they can fall in love.
9/12/14 2:44 PM
East Coast Home Publishing