Shelley McGinity: On the FLIP to Design

imageFew designers know more about how design can increase the value of a home more than former house flipper, Shelley McGinity.   

Thanks for joining us, Shelley! Tell us a little bit about how you got into the design business.

My husband has been a general contractor for the past 40 years, and when we were located in San Francisco, we started flipping houses. I went back to design school at that time and also received my NCIDQ certification.

What are some of the first things you try to notice when meeting a new client at their space? Do you have a checklist, or is it a meet and greet to feel out their personality?

I am always very aware of MY first hit when walking into a new space that I may be working in. What do I like, dislike, question, feel comfortable/uncomfortable with, etc. Then I usually start my client interview with objectives and their intentions.

Working as a designer is committing to a career filled with difficult challenges. Which problems do you face most often? Clients or space? Do you have a method to work through those problems?

Depending on the type of job… With residential, it is more often the client (much more emotion involved). Contract/hospitality is a more defined- space and budget issue.

Design shows are very popular on television right now. How have they influenced your business? In what ways do your clients now interact with you that they might not have before the popularity of the shows?

Having done a few of my own design shows locally, and just speaking to my (residential) clients, they are under the impression that design and implementation is far easier than it really is. I find that my clients want to be more involved initially, until the project becomes more complicated and timely, and they step back and increase my scope of work.

From the outside it seems like California focuses on incorporating its rich history into many designs! Is that something many clients want? Describe if/how you might incorporate a sense of history into your designs

Over the last decade, Craftsman design has been revived and become hugely popular. Because we have such a call for this style in my area (Lake Tahoe) I have often done some blending of styles to compliment the Craftsman and bring in other elements to lighten up the scale as well as incorporate the outside experience, views and available natural light.

Do you have a design project you are most proud to have completed? What did it look like before? After?

I am proud of most of the projects I have designed. Again, being in a more isolated area, it is important to be very flexible in what design projects you seek. I have done new construction consultation thru to completion, to many bathroom/kitchen remodels, color consultations, and “finished” projects that other designers did not finish or they were released. I must say that taking a 1970′s, very tired condominium in Northstar (psudo-contemporary outside/ hot mountain mess inside) and turning it into a beautiful, open floorplan with all contemporary finish, including adding a bathroom in a reclaimed closet, was the most fun and rewarding projects I have done to date!

We love rugs. Can you take us through how you use area rugs in your designs? Are there designs where you’re more likely to use a rug? Less?

I love rugs! I often treat area rugs as functional art. They are an investment that can take my projects (residential, contract, medical, hopitality, etc.) to the next level. I like to work from the ground up, with a layering affect, when planning interior spaces.

Which area rugs do you find most durable? Least durable?

New Zealand wool is sooo yummy, especially in our colder climate- summer and winter! I tend to stay away from any rugs that have silk in them, especially for this area, because the harsh sunlight at this elevation (6000 ft. +-) is not kind to certain materials.

We know as well as anyone that rugs can be expensive. Any assistance on how to cut down on the initial price?

I shop around a lot, keeping an ear to the ground for good deals. There are times, however, that I do go custom, and the option to have my client participate in the design of their rug is something that I have done several times and my clients really enjoy the process and outcome!

Thanks for your time today! Any more hints for our readers!

Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts!


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