The Pacific Northwest is filled with rain, but Scott Neste knows that you can warm up any room with a nice area rug and by paying attention to the details!
Tell us a little bit about your training in interior design and how you came to choose both the profession and your location.
My training in interior design has primarily been comprised of hands-on activities. My first “room reveal” was on a winter night when I was about 7 years old and I announced to my family after dinner that they all needed me to come to my bedroom to see how what I had done! Some things never change. Design is in my DNA.
I was raised by creative and entrepreneurial parents, my Dad was a high-end menswear retailer for 43 years and Mom is a Home Economist. There was always a plethora of creative opportunities to be involved in from creating retail store window displays to helping renovate the family room or cook an extravagant holiday dinner for 25.
And what about professionally?
My degree is in Organization Communications and Psychology. After college I had a 12 year career as a District Manager for American home furnishings retailer, Pier 1 Imports followed by a two year career as a Human Resources Director in a pharmaceutical research company, America’s Doctor. In December of 2000 my position relocated but I didn’t as I choose to pursue a life dream of having my own design studio. That brings us to 2012!
Does Seattle (and all that rain) making for a challenging market as an interior decorating? What are some of the major influences for the area?
Good question! Having been a Pacific Northwest resident for 26 + years I’d have to say the region is on the whole laid back, not concerned with progressive design, focused on the outdoors and living a comfortable non-flashy life. Our very temperate climate makes it a really easy place to live and fall in love with. You may think since we average 226 cloudy days per year that homeowners would be drawn to bright colors and bold statements that combat the gray. I’ve never found this to be the case. People seem drawn to relish tonal, subdued palettes with organic color references. On the whole, my paint palettes tend to be very tonal and subtle with an occasional feature wall for a special “pop of color.”
While our days are cloudy, they are also bright so these tonal color palettes actually have a rather chameleon effect. Greens turn blue, yellows can turn green and whites stay refreshing.
If nature in the spectacular “Evergreen State” is a primary influence, I’d say that Glasswork is a second major influence. The influence of Dale Chihuly and other well-noted glass artists is ever-present. There is an appreciation for art and the process of making beautiful things. Additionally, being a very environmentally conscious state creates at least the desire to work sustainably, to consider reclaimed woods and materials and to do the right thing in terms of the environment.
What’s you design philosophy? How do you try and implement it in your work?
Simple. The client is inspiration for and benefactor of everything I do! I work primarily to gain an accurate understanding of whom my client is, how they live currently and how they’d like to live in the future. I consider is a great honor to design with clients. I see my job as to interpret and anticipate their needs and to design with those needs in minds. Secondarily, to be a robust source of inspiration, ideas, options and solutions for every need. I’m thrilled when I show a client exactly what they think they need then I push the boundaries by showing then another option they had no ideas existed and they are wild about it!
Are your clients typically looking for big jobs, or a room-by-room type thing?
It’s a mixed bag. I work exclusively on the billable hour so I take on projects of all sizes and budgets. During the early 2000’s I was perhaps doing more long-range or complex projects and certainly more new construction. Since about 2010, the trend seems to be to take on what fits in the budget at this time, complete that phase then immediately start planning the next one. Commercial projects are of course more about getting the job done and moving on so businesses can minimize their downtime.
When it comes to floor coverings, tell us how you incorporate area rugs into your designs.
A great rug can really anchor a room! It is often the inspiration for the other materials selections like hardwoods, tile, paint, wall covering, fabrics and even art. When I’m working in a traditional setting, there may be existing rug which necessitates that need to find the perfect companion rugs. If we’re starting from scratch, I usually present an edited selection of rugs to see what my client responds to. Often I will include fabrics for major furniture pieces so the client is better able to visualize a design direction.
Area rugs add some warmth to space. What are some other ways they can be used? Do you have any types of rugs you use more often than others in Seattle?
I find Northwest clients are rather traditional and, without a doubt, practical in their use of rugs. Rarely, have I persuaded a client to use a rug as a wall hanging, for example. Again, my clients seem to typically respond to subtle designs, tonal color palettes, lush textures and simple patterns. They always want to know the content and what the cleaning protocol is. They tend to be more concerned with how the rug will wear and how much work it will be to care for than if the rug is a particular style, designer name or of museum quality. They pay attention to things like how will with work with my animals or how will this feel underfoot when I slide out of bed.
Any other tips or tricks for using area rugs?
If a client is relative new to are rugs, I will work to show them some simple options for say, an entryway, atrium, dining room or other smaller space. I find if I can get them interested in a smaller financial commitment in rugs, they are often open to larger purchases when it comes time to buy a “grown-up rug” for the living room! I have a couple tips for designers. First, be sure you understand the client’s lifestyle and how / where the rug will be used so you can show them options with an appropriate fiber content. I’m not sure I’d recommend a silk rug to a young family who has 3 small children and 4 large dogs. Second, use samples or yarn boxes to show actual color ways when possible to ensure all your design elements complement each other.
Where can readers find your work, or make a booking for an estimate?
The best way to learn more about my work is to visit my website. All my design and consultation time is billable by the hour so it makes it easy to bring me in for a consult and test the waters. Most clients simply feel compelled by the work and wish to dive right in. I’m fine either way! Clients and learn more about my work and view project photos on numerous sites.