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. 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 (that actually focused on commercial design!), but it was when I interned at a small firm working with both an architect and an interior designer that I decided I really loved and wanted to focus on residential interior design.
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 typically do more computer work than showroom visits. I focus on developing original floor plans as well as layouts for Kitchen and Bath cabinetry and meeting with clients to come up with the final design and aesthetic while 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 organized and very detail oriented in this role and to be able to effectively keep track of and really understand how even the smallest selections or dimensions can impact other aspects of 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 (as opposed to a decorator who focuses mainly on finishes and aesthetics), computer aided design (CAD) is essential – and experience with 3D software is even better! It also helps to understand various aspects of home construction so your design will work in practice. These aspects are as important – if not more important in the early stages – than simply having a ‘good eye’ for design (though this comes in handy too down the road). An eye for detail is especially important in specifying a cabinetry design and other permanent fixtures 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 – unlike commercial remodeling – you also get to work with clients one-on-one which I really enjoy. You also get to see the fruits of your labor when construction is complete, which is amazing, especially after seeing only computer renderings of a project for months!
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?
While my personal style tends to include more transitional and traditional elements, I love this modern townhouse Main Level in Reston. It is truly a beautiful example of what can happen when you think outside “the box” of an existing floorplan! This kitchen was extended to pull the whole Main Level together. We also used a lot of custom cabinetry and did some very unique things with it, which was a blast.
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. We have an in-house team of experts who partner with you every step of the way from design all the way through construction. One team. One point of accountability. Endless possibilities for your dream space.