What do you do for a living?
Certified Interior Designer & Life Coach...and mom!
How would you describe what you do?
I create authentic spaces for my Client's. Whether it's residential or commercial, I guide people through life transformations by helping them create a new, more meaningful and authentic relationship with themselves and their space.
What does your work entail?
Color Consulting, home staging, redesign (using a client’s existing furnishings to create a new look), new construction design, furniture restoration and reupholstery, CAD, remodels and decorating existing spaces for both residential and commercial.
What’s a typical work week like?
On a slow week I may meet with one to two clients and spend 5-10 hours shopping for a project or communicating with sub-contractors regarding specs or bids. On a busy week, you can add to that two to three additional client meetings, pit stops at a showroom or two to place orders, and working on my social media or networking events.
How did you get started?
When I was a child I realized how much I loved rearranging my mother's furniture every other week or so, as well as redecorating my room as much as I could with what ever I had. In high school my mom became a single parent and I remember decorating my entire ceiling of my room with all the pretty paper shopping bags I had saved from cute boutiques I had visited. There were at least 50 bags stapled to my ceiling, and it looked really cute. All my friends ended up wanting the same look in their rooms. I just had to improvise a lot because we didn't have a lot of money. I started repainting and repurposing furniture before it was even a 'thing'.
What do you like about what you do?
Seeing the look on a client’s face when I present them with a finished room is all the reward I need!
What do you dislike?
The “back office” work! No one tells the aspiring designer that they will also be the bookkeeper, the PR person, etc. I HATE keeping up with the invoices, the receipts, the bills..
How do you make money/or how are you compensated?
In addition to an hourly fee, in some not all cases, there may be a 10-15% mark up on items purchased for the clients when a trade discount is available.
How much money do Interior Decorators make?
The average Certified Interior Designer in my region makes between $75-$115 per hour, depending upon their range of services and advanced education.
How much money did/do you make starting out as an Interior Decorator?
What education, schooling, or skills are needed to do this?
In the State of Colorado you DO NOT need a degree to practice interior design. However it is important to always get credentials regarding certifications in interior design. ASID designers make more, starting at $150 per hour but that degree program is much more lengthy, comparative to an architecture degree.
What is most challenging about what you do?
Taking the client’s vision and putting it to paper then creating an actual room is by far the easiest aspect of this job. As designer, I’m often playing the role of mediator between spouses, and three people can describe the same vision for one room but be thinking of three completely different end results, this is by far the most challenging part of my job. Clear communication is key! But it helps that I hold a Psychology degree for when those moments arise!
What is most rewarding?
I love helping and teaching my client's that their home is so much more than where they live, but breathe, grow and celebrate. I love the intimacy of common ground and the excitement of fresh possibilities. I love harvesting the beauty on the other side of chaos. I love the glow of a woman, man, couple or family recreating their life from a place of intuition and self-love.
What advice would you offer someone considering this career?
Start small- take on small jobs for people you know, build your reputation and word of mouth will spread. Don’t be afraid to talk money with your clients and contractors and if ever you walk onto a job site and you’re not sure what you’re doing- fake it! Be confident, if you don’t know the answer, ask someone who does, but never let your clients see that you feel overwhelmed. And never, EVER, steal business from another designer in order to try and get ahead. Focus on what you bring to the table and be authentic!
How much time off do you get/take?
I used to work 7 days a week just to keep up until I realized that I was setting myself up for burnout before age 40. So now I never work Sundays and one weekday, and during slow months, I meet with clients only on Monday through Thursday to allow time for personal appointments like Dr visits or trips out of town.
What is a common misconception people have about what you do?
That anyone can do it! Often times a lot of people are born with that God given talent as I was, however there are still skills sets and education you need to back it up. There is a lot more to what I do than what HGTV makes it seem.
What are your goals/dreams for the future?
Within the next few years I hope to be the go-to designer in this region as someone who has created my own unique niche in a very saturated marketplace. I want to be known for creating a new type of design that is really focused on the Client- inside and out. I want to be known as an innovator, business women who inspires others to think outside the box, a real pretty box. ;) I would also like to start traveling to other State's to do design work and build my portfolio. I also want to write and publish a book!
What else would you like people to know about your job/career?
This is a very fun profession with great reward and plenty of room for growth, however, it is not without its risks and challenges. New designers should protect themselves- legally with proper contracts and physically by not going to questionable meeting places alone. As a single female designer I will occasionally take a friend on new client consultations when I am commissioned by a male client. I have had an inappropriate situation arise, and it was not a good experience. It’s always best to air on the side of caution!
The spaces where we spend our time whether at work or at home are very much a reflection of who we are. The environment we are in is a reflection of possibilities and limitations. Our home’s interior space has a big impact on how we perceive ourselves, moods, self-esteem, and confidence. Some people will eagerly welcome visitors even in their humble abodes, while others are not too enthusiastic about receiving visitors.
Your home’s interior space is an extension of your personal space. It tells a lot of who you are and who you are becoming. By creating an authentic space, you discover your authentic persona and allow it to emerge and be expressed in the different colors and themes of your home’s décor.
Treating your space is treating yourself
You can change your self-perception by changing your home’s interior space. This could be something as simple as re-arranging the furniture or the wall art. You can breathe new life into your home’s interior space and shift your outlook as well by changing the way it looks. You break out of the box that you think defines you. If your home’s interior space receives a change so do you. By making changes in your space you are re-envisioning and re-positioning.
When do you require to use life coaching principles in interior design?
• When moving into a new home for any reason; up/downsizing or moving in with someone else
• When passing through major life phases that is emotional
• When you don’t know what to decorate with, suffering decorating paralysis
• When you need a new look from your existing home items
• When decluttering and clearing away old but emotionally attached items
• When staging the home for renting or selling
Interior designing from the inside out.
The way you plan your spaces has a big impact on your choices and the direction your life takes. Consciously or unconsciously your interior designing supports or hampers your goals in ways you may not recognize.
The state of your environment supports you psychologically. You may want to cook but find the kitchen in disarray. The first instinct is to tidy up the kitchen, which then ends up taking longer than you would have liked. Or trying to make some space for your intended morning yoga classes but find that the humongous dining table takes all space.
How well do you like spending time alone in your house? Does it feel warm, bright and inviting you to lie down and take a nap? Or does it feel gloomy and dark pushing you to spend more time outside? Does your bedroom feel comfortable enough to sleep through the whole Sunday, or do you get out at the first light? The interior space of your house has marked effect on your emotions and thoughts.
Changing your home’s interior space can begin to change your overall well-being. You shift space on the outside which then starts influencing change within.
Design psychology explains how personal space impacts our lives. Does your space serve you like you would want? How do you feel when you get into your kitchen or bathroom? Paying attention to these feelings helps to understand the different psychology involved in interior design.
Designing to support goals
Our physical space plays a big part in supporting our goals. This happens unconsciously as we go about trying to achieve these goals. Maybe the goal is to write 5,000 words in a week as a home-based writer. If your home is bright airy and quiet, it creates the atmosphere for creativity and helps you write better. If the place is dimly lit, cluttered and noisy, you will not have a good atmosphere for writing. You can get support in different goals by trying some design goals:
Goal – Eat healthy
The kitchen is where your food comes from. Rearranging the kitchen for faster cooking encourages you to cook more, and rely less on take away food. Organized cabinets and drawers make it easier to prepare home-cooked meals.
Goal – Sleep better
Do you often have to move stuff off your bed to go to sleep? Is your lighting too bright for sleep? Changing the bedroom’s atmosphere is the best antidote to poor sleep. Declutter, install dimming lights and burn essential oils. It also involves ridding the bedroom of stressors, for example, unpaid bills, disruptive electronics, and unwashed laundry.
Goal – Better time management
A better organization at home is part of ensuring energy efficiency. If the home is in disarray it becomes difficult to organize thoughts and tasks, making poor time management. Design changes that would improve efficiency would be, for example, installing an umbrella and key rack to spend less time looking for these items or installing a corner office desk to work in early mornings instead of working from the bed.
Goal –Better self-care
You have to love yourself so that you can make the effort to take better care of your wellbeing. Starting by making the space around you fun makes you feel good and in turn motivates you to make the necessary changes for a better lifestyle. Get rid of the old sofa to make room for a meditation space, install LED lights to change the color scheme at different times of the day, and place some motivational plaques over the door to motivate you at the start of the day. There are a variety of design changes that can help you feel motivated in all aspects of life including keeping fit.
Interior designing is very much complementary to the principles of life coaching. Whatever is in your environment impacts you.
This month in my Masterclass group I am discussing ways we can really organize our homes and our lives. Did you know that often times our homes are what keeps us trapped in life? No really, it has even been scientifically studied and proven that clutter and mess in our homes is one of the leading causes of depression and anxiety. Read about this great study done by UCLA
When I work with Client's who use my 'Organizational Mapping' design package I notice a lot of these client's have a lot in common.
* Not so great finances.
* They are often feeling overwhelmed and stressed
* Their health is suffering, and they are regularly feeling tired
* They struggle to accomplish their goals and manage their time effectively
* Their home does not feel like a safe haven or does it lacks the peace and order they long for
These are just a few of the results from excess clutter in a home. Excess clutter affects our finances, our mental state, and even our physical health. Clutter steals your time and focus, making it more difficult to pursue your goals. Perhaps most important, it robs you of that feeling of peace and comfort that your home should provide.
Almost all my client's who remove clutter after using my techniques and suggestions are able to maintain their homes cleanliness and have a sense of well-being and peace as they look around at a neat and orderly environment.
You can immediately eliminate unnecessary stress in your life, by eliminating unnecessary clutter.
Some quick easy tips to declutter your home without getting anxiety from doing so:
1. Make A Master Plan
Yes, I really mean grab a notepad and pencil and go room by room and create a list of items that you decide belongs in each room/area on your plan.
For example, decide ahead of time where the household papers belong – do you want to keep files in the kitchen near your what I refer to as your command center or do you have a home office.
2.. Prepare For The Clutter Purge
Use Three Large Boxes. Label these boxes as follows: “Put Away,” Give Away” and “Throw Away.”
3. My Room Declutter Strategy
Here’s the simple process I use to declutter each room… when going room-by-room:
4. Make sure you finish each room completely before moving on to the next!
Once you have eliminated the clutter from your home you will be able to clean it in only minutes. It's easier to find things. You will feel more relaxed and less overwhelmed while actually living in your home. You will finally enjoy being home.
Today, I will break down what interior design really is. I can assure you it is not what HGTV has made it appear to be. Intеriоr dеѕign iѕ thе аrt оf еnhаnсing intеriоrѕ, аlѕо including the еxtеriоr, to асhiеvе аѕtаtiсаllу рlеаding еnvirоnmеnt fоr thе uѕеr. And аlѕо we саn ѕау it iѕ thе рrосеѕѕ оf shaping the еxреriеnсе of interior space, thе manipulation оf ѕраtiаl vоlumе аѕ well аѕ ѕurfасе treatment fоr the bеttеrmеnt оf humаn funсtiоnаlitу. An interior dеѕignеr has рlаnѕ, researches, coordinates аnd mаnаgеѕ projects. In intеriоr dеѕign, thеrе аrе mуriаd fасtоrѕ to think аbоut but thе mоѕt imроrtаnt decision tо mаkе iѕ whаt kind оf аtmоѕрhеrе ѕhоuld be аffесtеd. A gооd intеriоr dеѕignеr will bе аblе tо mаkе аll aspects оf design wоrk tоgеthеr in оrdеr tо сrеаtе a соhеѕivе fееl that subscribes tо a certain tоnе оr аtmоѕрhеrе. Elements to be considered in Interior Dеѕign.
Sрасе iѕ one оf thе most important раrtѕ of intеriоr dеѕign. Space асtѕ as a fоundаtiоn оn which thе еntirе interior design рlаn iѕ built. Hеnсе it is еѕѕеntiаl thаt thе designer iѕ wеll aware оf thе ѕрасе аvаilаblе, its dimеnѕiоnѕ and itѕ utilitiеѕ.
Linеѕ аrе broadly саtеgоrizеd intо thrее types - Hоrizоntаl, Vеrtiсаl аnd Dynamic. Whеrеаѕ hоrizоntаl lines аdоrn ѕtruсturеѕ likеѕ tаblеѕ, сhаirѕ аnd beds, vеrtiсаl lines may be fоund оn windоwѕ аnd dооrwауѕ whilе hоrizоntаl lines аdd a ѕаfе аnd secure fееling to thе space, vertical lines emote free аnd еxраnѕivе nаturе. Dynamic оr angular linеѕ, thаt аrе асtiоn оriеntеd add drama and mау be ѕееn on structures likе ѕtаirѕ.
Fоrmѕ mеаn ѕhареѕ in gеnеrаl, аn outline of any three dimensional оbjесt in the ѕрасе. Forms may bе created bу combining twо оr mоrе shapes and might bе ассеntuаtеd with thе аѕѕiѕtаnсе оf diffеrеnt elements likе tеxturе, patterns аnd соlоrѕ. Light iѕ оnе of thе mоѕt оbviоuѕ еlеmеntѕ оf interior design. Eithеr natural or artificial, withоut light оthеr еlеmеntѕ namely color, tеxturе and раttеrn hаvе nо ѕignifiсаnсе аt аll. Light ѕеtѕ in the mооd and аmbiеnсе intо a living space аnd highlightѕ thе every оthеr еlеmеnt inсluding ѕрасе, linе and fоrmѕ.
Cоlоrѕ dоn't nееd аnу ѕресiаl introduction. Colors еѕtаbliѕh аn аеѕthеtiс аffiliаtiоn between оbjесtѕ аnd ѕеt thе mооd. Cоlоrѕ must bе сhоѕеn based оn thе рѕусhоlоgу аnd the mindѕеt оf thе dwеllеr. As аn еxаmрlе, rеd iѕ a superb сhоiсе fоr dining аrеа аѕ it encourages арреtitе and grееn fоr bedroom as it is thе color оf tranquility аnd hеаlth. Every color has thrее diѕtinсt characteristics nаmеlу Huе, Vаluе аnd Intеnѕitу, аnd аn interior designer muѕt be wеll аwаrе of thеѕе characteristics tо реrfоrm vаriоuѕ реrmutаtiоnѕ аnd combinations. Cоlоrѕ аrе broadly classified into two саtеgоriеѕ: Primаrу аnd Sесоndаrу colors.
Tеxturе mаinlу dеаlѕ with surfaces аnd dеtеrminеѕ hоw a tурiсаl ѕurfасе looks and fееlѕ. Texture adds depth and intеrеѕt intо room аnd defines thе feel/appearance аnd соnѕiѕtеnсу of a surface. Tеxturе iѕ brоаdlу classified into twо tуреѕ - Viѕuаl Tеxturе whеrе thе tеxturе iѕ оnlу visible аnd Actual Tеxturе where thе tеxturе is bоth ѕееn аnd fеlt. Anуthing thаt hаѕ tо dо with tеxtilеѕ ѕuсh as рillоw соvеrs, bеd spreads оr аnуthing to do with соvеrѕ like drapes, wаll paint or wallpapers hаvе a tеxturе.
Pаttеrnѕ аdd intеrеѕt аnd lifе tо intеriоr dеѕign аnd work аlоng with соlоrѕ. Pаttеrnѕ tеll a ѕtоrу оf thеir own аnd аdd thе еlеmеntѕ of continuity and smooth transition in a room. Patterns соuld bе оf аnу shape аnd mоѕtlу соmрriѕе of аttrасtivе and rереtitivе designs.
Did you know that enhancing the Chi (energy) in your home really isn't a mystical thing? No really, I based my entire time in design school focused on the subject of feng shui, and it can play a big part when it comes to you and your relationship with your space.
So before I give you my top feng shui tips, you need to really understand feng shui and remove any negative stigmas you may have about it.
Feng Shui transforms your space to enhance your life. If your energy feels blocked or you want to change course, Feng Shui has the answers. The other thing I explain to my Client's who use my feng shui services is do not be intimidated by the rules..or I like to refer to them more as tools.
So let's go over my top 5 Feng Shui Tips-
1. Clear out your entryway.
Let the chi (energy) flow right into your home and life by ridding your home’s front entry of obstacles. This also makes guests feel uneasy and anxious when walking through your door. Remove such things as looming plants or vines, old newspapers, bikes, and toys in your front path may limit the amount of energy entering your home. Clear out anything behind your door for even more benefits.
2. Position your bed to feel safe, loved, and great. Place your bed in the Command Position (this is a term used in feng shui and is the most auspicious where you feel the most supported) of your bedroom. This spot is the one farthest from the door but where you’re still able to see the doorway and anyone approaching while you’re lying in the bed. Placing your bed in the Commanding Position allows you to be stronger, calmer, and in charge.
3. Cut the Clutter
Remove unnecessary kitchen gadgets from on top of the counters. Also place children's toys in bins and use shelving wisely.
4. Throw out broken items
Replace blown light bulbs, throw out broken items, and be ruthless with items that you haven’t used or worn in the last 12 months...get rid of the stuff!!! If there are repairs that need to be done around the house, fix them!
5. Don't block windows
This is probably my BIGGEST design pet peeve. Windows and doors help energy flow freely in and out of your home. Don’t place large furniture in front of windows. This allows light to enter your room and look more spacious, as well as keep the feng shui in your room flowing.
What do you find helps you when your trying to balance the energy in your home? Share your feng shui tips!
Personal decorating style: Eclectic. I love mixing many styles to create a cozy and inviting vibe. I want people to feel welcomed when they walk in.
Prized possessions: Artwork that I've collected while traveling. Every town I visit you'll find me in a local gallery or shop picking artwork- my personal more expensive kind of "souvenir". Most of the time it's pottery, statement pieces.
Designer who inspires her: Elsie De Wolfe. She was wild for her time, in every sense of the word. her attitude, her style, and her designs. She had it all. The best clients,
The best- best- best! but, she hadn't found the love of her LIFE- that could give her- LOVE or in lieu of that detail, the House of her DREAMS! So she did it her damn self!
Color she couldn’t design without: Gray is such a perfect neutral for mixing in any other colors. It takes on a different life every time you pair it with something new.
Design element she loves to incorporate into a space: Cowhide. It’s my signature move in most spaces I design. The texture element will hide just about anything you throw at it, and the pattern is neutral enough that I can easily mix it with different patterns in the room’s other textiles. It can be classy, rustic, eclectic...it just goes with anything!
Cool design trend of the moment: Driftwood and gold. The gray/light-brown wood look that is so hot right now falls right in line with my design tip of buying things that are already the color of dirt and dust.
Favorite rooms to design: My specialty is designing authentic spaces that bring families together. The design and décor of a room will inevitably influence the way a family interacts, so there’s nothing more fulfilling than helping families get the most out of their space so they can spend more time together having fun, but most of all having it reflect them- not some cookie cutter bullshit out of a magazine. Boring!
I was excited to hear about authentic design taking place in the corporate world, AKA commercial spaces. It seems as though for decades we’ve stuck to the traditional modern mid-century design in commercial spaces.
n order to stay competitive with millennials, the more authentic approach to our workspaces seems to be what they’re yearning for. Designer Brigette Preston said it best, in a recent article for WorkDesign Magazine.
“This generation wants a career that offers a sense of purpose and contributes to the greater good. Given this reality, workplace designers should consider how the workspace can embody these goals and how they can visually be represented in the space.”
I love this; as we have too seen an increase in our own Clients who hire as for commercial space design. It is important for them as well, in wanting to keep this concept in order to make their clients feel welcome and employees feel more productive in their space. As these younger Generations enter the workforce, we see the importance of authentic inspired design in our work spaces, a shift from what we’ve seen in the past. Moving away from the contemporary modern design, often leaving people feeling cold when entering; I’m excited to see elements with a wood floors, stone accents, warm colors, and plant-inspired materials — leveraging a palette that leads to positive biophilic responses.
In 2015, interior designers worldwide, okay- maybe not the designers….let’s start over. In 2015, our media decided that ‘Individuality’ was the new trend in interior design. Who decides this stuff anyways? Seriously, who decides what the latest trends are….I’ve alays wondered that. Not because I follow trends, quite the opposite. It just seems…. Odd. Well, at least to me that seems odd- the concept of the media decides something, for all of us.
I’ve always thought that interior design should always reflect individuality, however, at some point society decided that was wrong- and it is far more important to follow trends, keep up with the Jones’, and replicate every Pintrest photo that inspires you.
Here are some examples of great designers like myself, who feel as though individuality never went out of style.
David Obel Rosenkvist
I want to ask my readers, what’s more important to you- a home that reflects changing trends -or- a home that reflects YOU?
What do Handmade, Minimalistic, Rustic Utilitarian, and even the New Antiquarian Movement, design styles have in common? Each one of these styles at their core represents: authenticity. Whether it’s a vintage chair, still encased in it’s bright yellow fabric, or a beautiful accent table, carved from locally sourced, and sanded by hand, or just a beautiful piece of linen, woven in small batches, and sewn into pillowcases. There’s something beautiful about a piece that has meaning rather than a mass manufactured item that is available at the click of a button. Those special pieces we have in our home, you know, the ones passed down from generation to generation they are personal and intimate. Or maybe they are things left behind or forgotten by loved ones, updated perhaps. Sometimes those pieces require some effort on getting to the heart of the piece itself. Maybe it requires ripping up all the carpet in your home only to uncover the rich vintage oak floors hidden underneath, or making a quilt from the your children’s baby clothes you’ve saved for 20 years. There may be challenges and setbacks that you have to overcome; time you won’t get back. But in the end, the reward of sourcing and creating, restoring and rebuilding, leaves a satisfaction that just can’t be had by any other way. Sometimes these sentimental things we incorporate in our space mean more than the $3,000 Ethan Allen sofa you just splurged on. While they are all things you can touch, these authentic heirlooms are a story you can tell. It was created with thought and care. It’s real. It’s AUTHENTIC.
What pieces do you have in your home, that have meaning and share a story?
Having worked in the new home industry for 10 years, if there was something I noticed over and over agin when looking at the floor plans of the homes I sold- poor use of space The layouts were not designed properly.
Once I moved over to the interior design side of things, I could help my Client's who were building new homes much easier when it came down to this big issue. Keep in mind not all home builders are the same, and not all are going to make structural changes, but if you are building a custom or even semi custom home, knowing this design mistake ahead of time will save you from a lot of headaches down the road.
This will provide flexibility for entertaining. Place the kitchen and the living at opposite ends of the entire space for noise buffering, while keeping the openness of vision.
Author, Candance Toscano
"You can design the life of your dreams and acquire that luxurious, fulfilled and empowered lifestyle you know you have always wanted."