When the Marketing Firm Identity in Design invited me to be a featured “Design Expert” for the Interior Design Series at Bloomingdale’s Bergen County, I was equally humbled and daunted. Although I’ve had my design business for nearly 20 years, I’ve always been a bit unique in the world of Interior Designers. For example, I’ve chosen not to participate in traditional Designer Showhouses, an otherwise fabulous way for Designers and potential clients to window shop each other.
I wasn’t sure if designing an area of the sales floor in the Bloomingdale’s home department was the right fit for me. My business is unique in that my designs begin (and often end!) with the client’s existing furniture and accessories. Oh, sure, I’ve done plenty of empty rooms, empty homes, even building homes from the ground up. But the bulk of what I do, and what I love to do the most, is take the things in someone’s home that they have already invested in, and hopefully already love, and re-imagine them. Whether I move them from room to room, reupholster or paint, re-purpose their use or simply accessorize them differently, there’s a lot a fresh eye can bring to your home. And in my fresh eyes, a traditional Designer Showhouse never fit the bill for me. Bloomingdale’s furniture department, however, is very much like someone’s home. I knew after walking the floor I’d have no trouble doing what I do best using their wares. I couldn’t wait to see the “room” I’d be designing. Well……
My fellow designers in the series are all accomplished Interior Designers, but very different not only from me, but each other. One of the teams specializes in traditional, elegant, high-end Window Treatments, while another works mostly in mid-century Vintage. I needed a way to show potential clients what I can do in a space that, sure, had escalator adjacency but barely one full wall — it didn’t exactly scream, ‘inviting’.
After thinking of some of my more recent clients, I realized a lot of what I do involves the growth of a home over time. Design is a process. It’s not like one day the average homeowner steps back and says, “Decorating, that’s done! Lets go do all of our landscaping now!” Your environment changes as your needs change. Whether it’s a move from an apartment to a home or downsizing from a large home to your newly empty nest, people’s lives (and therefore their decor) are forever in flux. Blending a couple’s furnishings, adding children or pets, throwing in a few job relocations along the way, and even the ever evolving technology we use and live with (remember TV armoires?), and you’re bound to have re-designed your space over your lifetime, whether you wanted to or not.
How many people have you heard say, when asked what they do for a living, “I studied Shakespearean Literature in College, but now I’m happy to be an Insurance Adjuster!” Life happens. And I believe the design of your home should be in YOUR style, not your Designers’ style. Most folks don’t plan on having an Ikea chair in their lives for 20 plus years, but it happens. In this series I wanted to show how simple styling changes over the years can give new life to simple, well constructed pieces of furniture. Perhaps as shoppers see a chair, side table and reading lamp imagined for newlyweds, new parents AND empty nesters, it will inspire them to buy quality over quantity when designing their homes. Take time and thought when you purchase the items you will live with, sit on, sleep in, fight with your in-laws atop…..you may just have that chair 20 years from now!
If you live in the tri-state area, come by and see my designs, and stay tuned here and on our Facebook Page for updates and pictures! Join us for a special event on February 10th where I’ll be on hand to discuss my work and answer your design questions.