Designers Coffeehouse — Current Design
Sit at the table with me in the virtual café as we share a cup and have a chat with a group of interior designers. Today we are joined by:
- Linda H. Bassert, of Masterworks Window Fashions & Design in Fairfax, Virginia
- Barbara Miller, of Barbara Miller Design in West Linn, Oregon
- Linda Merrill, of Chameleon Interiors in Duxbury, Massachusetts
- Kerry Ann Dame, of Posh Living in Surfside Beach, South Carolina
HomeWorkshop: What’s happening in Design right now that you are the most excited about?
Linda H. Bassert: I think we are more aware of other disciplines – I’ve been watching closely what the fashion designers are doing in textiles, for instance. I was looking through a Nordstrom catalog this morning, and ripped out a page because I saw a window treatment design idea in a dress. Sometimes I look at dresses and see that they picked up some ideas from us. The result of this cross pollination is more creativity and growth in textile designs, in textile fabrics, in furniture designs, in accessory availability. I know it is influencing and improving my work.
I just closed a sale on a design inspired by a dress in an issue of Threads magazine. This will be the window treatment in a dining room which has already been transformed and inspired by a textile fragment that had belonged to the client’s mother. We framed the silk print, used it to direct the colors and textures, and the room is fabulous. The original window treatment I just designed will be the finishing element to complete the room and take it to the next level.
Barbara Miller: I see a reprioritization of home and family in today’s world. We are turning toward home for comfort and retreat and we want our homes to be beautiful, functional and inviting. My clients are placing more emphasis on quality and detail, if they are investing in their homes they want it to be worth it!
With the growing visibility of sustainable design we are seeing an increased use of natural textures and shapes. I love the look of layering natural finishes in a room from bark wall covering (like Lori Weitzner) to organic linens and everything in between. A room can use natural products and still be extremely stylish and sophisticated.
Linda Merrill: I think there’s an openness to a wide range of design styles – from updated traditional to sleek modernism – and no one style is predominant. This means that there is something for everyone out there and lots of products and designers who will bring the best to a wide variety of styles.
Kerry Ann Dame: We are seeing a return to quality that has boosted our furniture sales. In this economy, clients are tired of disposable furniture and are seeking well-built, American-made pieces that will last, in timeless silhouettes, so they get the most use for their money.
HomeWorkshop: What’s the most significant change in the field since you started as an Interior Designer?
Barbara Miller: The client’s desire to be part of the process is the biggest shift I have seen. Designers are no longer designing and selecting items for a space from start to finish but are part of a team with the homeowner. A talented designer will blend their sense of style with the needs and desires of a homeowner in order to deliver a final product that is a reflection of the client’s own personality in a cohesive, functional, and beautiful space.
Kerry Ann Dame: The availability of good design at retail has made it possible for people of regular means to have a great-looking home. Designers have to watch their pricing to be competitive in the marketplace. Medium priced fabric and accessory manufacturers are coming out with more high-end looks, and some of the big retailers and e-tailers are even seen as trendsetters, taking design ideas straight to the end consumer.
Linda H. Bassert: I find that designers are networking with each other, which I did not experience at all back in the late 1970s when I started in this field. We are sharing resources, samples, ideas, and our best work. This collaborative and positive development helps experienced designers mentor ones new to the field, and helps us share our strengths with each other.
This is facilitated by the Web, email, and social networking sites such as Linked In, Facebook, and Twitter, but is also found in the professional organizations of the Trade. I myself am a member of AIDP, IFDA, and WCAA, as well as a chamber of commerce (VTRCC) and a BNI chapter. We always have stood on the shoulders of those who came before us in design, but with networking, we have the opportunity to share our expertise geometrically, not just one to one.
Linda Merrill: I think the Internet has made the most significant impact to the field. The access to resources, products and information is nearly unlimited and as a result, interior designers and decorators need to work harder to establish their expertise. It’s now less about “products” and more about getting back to the basics of good old interior design principals.
Next time, we’ll pull back the curtain and learn what these designers wish you knew about their Trade…and ways they can help homeowners that may surprise you.