Interior Inspiration

Bellevue Club member Brittney Heiser, owner of Heiser Designs, shares her tips for working with
an interior designer.

Reflections magazine: Do you have advice for picking out an interior designer?
Brittney Heiser: Make sure you have a good rapport and connection with the designer. You’re going to work closely with this person for the duration of the project so you should enjoy working and spending time with them.

RM: What should someone expect an interior designer to bring to the table?
BH: Everyone brings something unique to the table—it could be their specific background, their personality or their eye for design. Research is so important. My biggest piece of advice is to find a well-rounded designer. Ask what their background is. What did they study in school? What training do they have? There are a lot of interior decorators, people who have a good aesthetic or an eye for design, but unlike designers they don’t necessarily have the experience or training in the technical side of design, such as space planning and creating floor plans that maximize the functionality and usability of a space.

RM: What can clients do to prepare for a meeting with an interior designer?
BH: Identify your issues with your current space that you want to fix. Knowing these will help your designer address these up front in the design process.  Another is having a budget, that’s the biggest driver. Everyone has a price range; and most have a limit . If you’re not realistic about your budget  up front, it’s hard to get the best results.

RM: How important is it to have knowledge about the technical construction side?
BH: It’s a critical component in the design process to ensure that a space is efficient, livable and functional. A seemingly small oversight during the design and layout process can make for big issues later on.

RM: What are the biggest misconceptions about interior designers?
BH:  Design should be a collaborative process. The best interior designers should present concepts and solutions that take a space to the next level in your eyes. Nothing should ever feel forced.

RM: You’re big on functionality driving your decisions. Where else does that show up for you?
BH: Understanding functionality also  plays a role when choosing materials, such as selecting a master bath floor that is both aesthetically beautiful yet will provide safe footing when getting out of the shower. Marble countertops, for example, can scratch and chip easily, creating a patina look. Some clients like that and choose marble for that reason. It’s easy to want to replicate looks from the Internet, but if you  aren’t familiar with materials, you don’t know how they  will wear.

RM: Any resources you recommend to help with budget research?
BH: I always tell clients that makeover shows are not necessarily realistic in terms of construction cost. There can be large discrepancies in cost of labor and materials throughout the country.  I try to educate my clients about what’s realistic. Asking neighbors and friends who have done similar projects can also be a great resource for referencing budgets and costs.

RM: What’s the biggest mistake you see people make when designing their space?
BH: In terms of furnishings, it’s never a good idea to go to the store and buy something right off the floor without preplanning. Also, going to a showroom and buying the first thing you see. Just because it fits with the style of the  showroom doesn’t mean it will be cohesive with your home. You really need to start with creating a plan, a vision.

RM: Any advice for how to create a vision?
BH: To create a vision, take inspiration from everywhere, even if it’s simple color combinations found in nature. Find photos online, so as you shop you have a reference of what you like. And remember, you don’t have to  stick to one style, whether modern or traditional. Don’t be afraid to mix and match complementing styles and tie back elements to create groupings.

I create 3-D renderings for my clients, so that they have a clear vision of the ambiance, scale and flow of the space from the get-go. Watching an outdated room being transformed into a functional and beautiful space is my favorite aspect of being a designer.

For more information, visit heiserdesigns.com.

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