Photo credit: Amy Paulson
Trimming costs can be difficult, but Cristi Holcombe finds that hard work helps her deliver quality designs to her clients on a budget.
Thanks for joining us, Cristi! Tell us a little bit about how you got into the design business.
I’ve been interested in design since I was a child. I would rearrange the furniture in my childhood bedrooms every 6 months or so. I was fascinated with space planning an how moving furniture around could create more or less room in a space. After receiving a degree in design I landed in Atlanta and have been working in the design world ever since. I started my own company Charm Home in August of 2009.
What are some of the first things you try to notice when meeting a new client at their space? Do you have a checklist?
I try to take in a client’s style when from the first time I step into the home. I take note of their personal style as well as the style of their home. When I’m working with someone I try to envelope their style and add in my own personal touches instead of designing for them with my own personal style. I don’t have an actual checklist but there are key items that I try to gather from an initial meeting, “what is the general style of the client, what is the budget, what are the client’s dislikes/likes, etc.”
Your job is filled with challenges. Which do you face most often? Do you have a method to work through those problems?
My biggest challenge is always the budget. It is hard for most people to spend money in their home even though they are so happy once they have. I find myself really having to explain to people that the money is going to be worth it. I’ve never had a client tell me after the fact that the money wasn’t well-spent. They are much more comfortable in their homes and their homes finally fit their style. In the beginning, it’s hard to tell someone that they will feel that once they have a completely designed space.
Describe to us the project you are most proud to have designed. What did it look like before? After?
The project that I am most proud of is currently in progress! It is a total renovation of the main living spaces of a family’s home. Before they had three separate spaces and were not able to spend time together as a family (it is a really large family and they couldn’t all be in one room at a time). The kitchen was also very outdated but they love to cook. I designed a totally open and updated floor plan for them. All the walls have come down and you can see from the front door to the back porch. There is an island where up to 10 people can sit comfortably. It’s the perfect house for family time and entertaining. The difference is night and day and it is going to make them closer as a family because of it. I love it when a design is functional as well as beautiful.
We love rugs. Can you take us through how you use area rugs in your business? Which type of designs do you see yourself using more? Less?
I love rugs too! I think that rugs can totally transform a room. A room can go from cold and stark to warm and cozy in an instant by adding rugs. One of the most common mistakes people make is using area rugs that are too small. People shouldn’t be scared to cover their floors. Right now my favorite rug designs are natural woven rugs like jute and seagrass and flatwoven wool rugs.
Which area rugs do you find most durable? Least durable?
I have found natural woven jute and sea grass rugs to be the most durable in my designs. They look great and really hold up to wear. They are very low maintenance as well.
These things can be expensive. Any assistance on how to cut down on the initial price?
Flat woven rugs are very popular right now and are very affordable. I suggest shopping around to find the best price. Also, if the rug you really want is out of your price range. Opt for a smaller version of the rug to use in a bathroom area. Then get a less expensive option for the larger area.
Thanks for your time!