With her Lintels and Lallies design business in full swing, Barbara All Holmes shares some secrets of interior design and how to pick the perfect area rug.
Thanks for joining us, Barbara! Tell us a little bit about how you got into the design business.
I began working professionally with color and design in 2000 within the art & framing industry. I started as a residential art consultant, which means that I spent time in client’s homes helping them find art and translate it into their space. While in that role, everyone kept asking me for interior design advice as well. My passion for helping people and love for their stories grew, leading me to go back to school for Interior Design. As my hobby grew, it became a business. I love every minute of it!
What are some of the first things you try to notice when meeting a new client at their space? Do you have a checklist?
With my background, the first thing I tend to notice is art. Art can be very revealing; it is an easy way to identify a client’s style and favorite colors. Then, while getting a tour of the client’s home I notice architectural elements, and room challenges. The client really points out what they need in each space, so the checklist changes based on the client’s needs. It is all about gathering the right clues and listening to each unique dilemma.
Your job is filled with challenges. Which do you face most often? Do you have a method to work through those problems?
Since opposites attract, I’m often brought into a home to help solve design disputes amongst partners. Giving each person time to talk and state what is most important makes the world of difference. When left alone, the gloves come off and people can’t hear each other, but when I’m the mediator, with my experience, I can usually find a common denominator that represents everyone.
Describe to us the project you are most proud to have designed. What did it look like before? After?
I love all my projects. Each of them requires the same amount of energy, creativity, and planning. But if I had to choose something it would likely be my own kitchen. My husband and I built our home, and as a design that I spend the most time in, I’m kitchen proud. Fortunately the “before” was on blueprints, so to change the floor plan on paper was much easier than knocking down physical walls. The original design was very closed off from the rest of our home and very ordinary. I used vintage magazine covers (art) for my inspiration to build the room from. My husband’s love for baseball is featured in our baseball diamond-shaped island. Just like the work I do for my clients, every last detail evokes the homeowners personality.
We love rugs. Can you take us through how you use are rugs in your business? Which type of designs do you see yourself using more? Less?
With hardwood flooring in most homes, rugs are one of the key elements I use to warm up a space. The moment you place a rug in a room, it *feels* like home. It allows you to get comfortable, barefoot, and rest on the floor. Just as I mentioned with art, a rug can also be a source of inspiration to build a space from. If you find a design you love, you can pull colors from it to build the rest of your room from. I also have custom framed rugs& carpets as art for the wall. The possibilities are endless. The designs I use vary per project. It does seem we are on a trend of “anything goes” right now. Clients are no longer identifying themselves by “Victorian, Country, Contemporary, etc,” which can be too limiting. So, I’m finding the focus is more on balances such as: feminine & masculine; casual mixed with formal; bold graphics paired with simplistic lines, etc. Rugs are an easy way to achieve that balance.
Which area rugs do you find most durable? Least durable?
It really depends on the room, if there is high foot traffic, or an area with children where there may be spills. The pile of a wool rug is very durable for foot traffic, but I tend to use synthetic blends more because of their resistance to stains. Also, we try to select a pattern with different colors in it because it is more forgiving and hides flaws better.
These things can be expensive. Any assistance on how to cut down on the initial price?
As far as interior design goes, the best way to keep price down is to plan. The more planning the better your selections & the happier you’ll be long term. I offer hourly services, so my clients can choose upfront how much they’d like to spend. If you are working with a designer, I always recommend writing out all your questions before you meet, so you get the most of your time together. As far as rug purchases go, again proper planning. Know where you want the rug and make sure all key furniture in the space overlaps the rug. Then, think about what you will use the rug for. Is it decorative, or will the function & durability be a main factor? *Planning* is always the best step towards avoiding expensive mistakes.
Thanks for your time today! Any more hints for our readers!
Don’t be afraid to try new things! Try new colors. Select fresh, new focal points – move things around. Also, don’t hesitate to contact a designer in areas you feel less confident in. Most of us love our jobs and are happy to help in any area you need, no matter how big or small!