Becoming a leading interior designer takes equal parts inspiration and process. Nina Lewis understands how to the balance the two and deliver results to her clients.
Thanks for joining us Nina! Tell our readers a little about how you got involved in the design business.
I have always loved Interior Design! When I was a child I used to create floor plans and furniture for my Barbie’s houses, so I suppose this career was written in the stars. After a slight detour from design and getting a Bachelor degree in Psychology, I decided to go back to school and pursue my passion for Interior design. That has turned out to be the best decision I every made! I learned a great deal from my time working at an architectural firm and with a homebuilder and my background in psychology has always helped in my client relationships and my ability to communicate effectively. All of these experiences have been instrumental in how I run my business now.
Take us through a typical design process from bidding to collecting the check. Most people have no idea the amount of work involved.
Many people think that an interior design
project is done is a flash the way HGTV shows
, but it is an in depth process. Interior Design is creative problem solving. It is not always the simple or the first solution that becomes the end result, which is why I work closely with the client to assess his/her needs. Each project, just like each client, is unique and presents itself with different needs and challenges; it is my job to ensure smooth transitions between the three phases I utilize when engaging in a new project.
First is the Design Phase: I work closely with the client to develop the design strategies and select the finishes, furnishings, lighting and accessories. Drawings, renderings, and space plans are created to help the client envision the finished product before the construction phase commences.
Next is the Construction Coordination Phase: The design plan is solidified, the trade professionals are hired, and coordination meetings are held to establish a cohesive project team.
Finally, it’s the Implementation Phase: This is the most transformative phase in which the construction and trade professionals collaborate their efforts to transform the vision we created into reality. Last, I want the client to enjoy their new space… and tell their friends about their great experience.
When consulting with clients who have questionable tastes, how do nudge them along to your ideas? Is some of it trial and error?
I try to nudge people along to consider new ides they may have never entertained. Every design and client are different so I always take personal styles and tastes into account while trying to steer them to make smart, tasteful choices. I communicate my design ideas to clients, but at the end of the day I am not the one who has to live in the space. If people feel really drawn to something, maybe it’s a great choice for them. While staying true to the form and function of a space, I encourage people to make bolder design choices than they normally would, whether it’s a brighter color or a patterned rug, I like to push clients to step outside their comfort zone for a really fabulous space.
The design business is constantly changing with the times. How do you stay current? Any tricks on how do-it-yourselfers can find the most recent trends?
I love Pinterest and the Blog DesignSponge. I scour both, most mornings, when I am having coffee and waking up. It’s a great way to ease into the day and get inspired first thing. There are amazing ideas on both, new products and great do it yourself tips. I gain inspiration from traveling, shopping, and being outdoor;, I also go to tradeshows, meet with local representatives from manufacturers to find out what’s new and take classes to continue my education. Great ideas can come from anywhere, but remember if you truly love something, that classic “you” piece never goes out of style. I love to mix classics with a piece or two that is trendy right now.
Talk to us a little about area rugs and how you utilize them in design.
Area rugs can be a great tool to anchor a space; they can and add color, texture, and versatility to any room. Rugs can be a useful tool for clients with children, pets or high traffic areas and assist in crowd control and way finding. I love using area rugs to create cozy conversation areas in an otherwise open floor plan.
Do you find them always to be helpful?
Yes! A rug is a simply way to make a space complete.
When are the best moments to say to yourself: “Yep, I need a rug.”
When I need to add a unique piece that no one will ever see at his or her neighbor’s house, I think- a rug! It can add interest, pattern, color, and warmth so simply.
Do you have any last tidbits of advice?
Surround yourself with things that inspire you! The best designs don’t look like they were plucked out of a magazine. Rooms should look like a lived in space, with pieces collected over time. If you feel lost, don’t be afraid to ask a design professional for help, whether it’s a whole house remodel or a simple color consultation, we can help!