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Inside Look: The Life of an Interior Designer

By January 22, 2020 January 27th, 2020 No Comments

For us, home remodeling is more than just the satisfaction of a beautifully completed project, it’s all about creating a space (or spaces) that give clients that sense of ‘home’. We couldn’t do what we do without a fantastic team, so this month we are starting a new series about our team and the different roles each member fulfills. Maybe you’ve thought about working in the home renovation industry for a while but just don’t know what type of role might be a good fit for you, or you’re thinking of undertaking a home remodeling project and are just interested in the secret sauce that enables us to do what we do. Wherever you are in your career or home remodeling decision making, let’s take a look behind the scenes of our home remodeling company so you can learn more about what (and how!) we do it.

This month, our spotlight is on Emily, one of our talented Interior Design Team. Emily plays a key role in pre-construction services in design and plan development. In addition to measuring and documenting existing conditions (called ‘as-builts’), Emily works on all aspects of conceptual design and 3D imagery so you get a real sense of what your finished space will look like. By her own admission, Emily has a ‘thing’ for cabinets and cabinetry layouts, so let’s find out all about her!

What was your path to becoming an Interior Designer?

I knew from an early age I wanted to be either an Architect or an Interior Designer. I did a four year Interior Design degree at Cornell University, but it was when I interned at an architectural firm that I decided I wanted to focus on residential interior design rather than become an Architect.

Tell us more about what your day-to-day looks like.

As the Interior Designer who takes the lead on space planning for our clients (rather than working on material selections), I do a lot of computer work rather than meeting clients in showrooms or working in the field on a daily basis. I focus on coming up with floor plans and permanent features (such as cabinetry) and meeting with clients to come up with the final design and aesthetic but also ensuring code requirements are met.  I also coordinate with other team members to ensure the space not only looks gorgeous, but it’s functional, too. It’s important to be extremely organized and detail oriented in this role and to be able to effectively keep track and really understand how one thing will impact another in the design.

Do you need technical expertise to become an Interior Designer?

In order to become a well-rounded Interior Designer who works on space planning, being able to do both computer aided design (CAD) and hand drawing is essential. It also helps to understand construction so your design will work in practice. This is more important than having a ‘good eye’ for design. It goes beyond decor and is especially important in cabinet layout and other permanent fixtures needed in the space.

What do you love most about your job?

I love the combination of the creative and technical aspects of my job. I really enjoy the inspirational part working on colors and trends, but I’m also extremely technical so I have to think through how a design will work in reality. In residential home remodeling, you also get to work with clients one-on-one which I really enjoy, unlike commercial remodeling.

What’s the most challenging aspect of your work?

The most challenging part is figuring out form vs. function! I constantly have to think through the details of how everything will work together. A good example is how even something small like a cabinet location can change how the cabinets need to open, or figuring out the distances that must be allowed for in something seemingly so simple like a lighting fixture choice. The biggest challenge is being able to think through holistically how a space will come together but still get all the details right!

To date, which has been your favorite home remodel and why?

I have many, but one of my all time favorites is this home remodel in Leesburg in a farmhouse-with-a-modern-twist style. It’s the closest to the aesthetic I would like in my own home and there was A LOT of custom cabinetry so I loved working on it!

What advice would you have for anyone who wants to become an Interior Designer?

I would highly recommend finding a company to intern with as it really helps you understand what an Interior Designer does on a daily basis. My own internship led me to deciding I wanted to become an Interior Designer rather than an Architect. You also need to decide early in the process if you prefer residential remodeling to commercial work. They are very different environments. It’s also extremely beneficial to be able to use design software and computer aided design (CAD). Lastly, keep informed on what’s popular and what trends are out there – homeowners will ask you about them and it’s important to understand both the aesthetic but also the implications from a functionality perspective.

At Synergy Design & Construction, we provide a full service design-build experience. That means we design everything we build and build everything we design to provide a turn-key home renovation experience. Just looking to do a few upgrades like refresh your kitchen cabinets or countertops? You don’t need to work with a full service firm like Synergy who have an in-house design team. Find out what and who you need in Best Remodelers in Reston & Where to Find Them.

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