2004/10b: Ask Me
Q&A 16 years ago No Comments

What’s the biggest misconception about what interior designers do”


In MY opinion, the biggest misconception about what an interior designer does is that we “just pick out the colors”. If I had a rock for every architect or contractor that I heard that from” lets just say I”d have a big pile of rocks.

Television seems to feed this misconception every day and night on a wide variety of cable stations. I realize that, like most reality shows, the Home Design TV Phenomenon is all “fictiontainment”.

Casual friends of mine will ask me about the latest Trading Spaces episode. I will engage in this little conversation for a few minutes, then politely say: “You know, your home is a reflection of you. It shouldn”t be what someone else thinks is you. And just because they have a staple gun and a can of spray mount doesn”t really qualify them to do anything that you can”t do.” As they ponder the statement, I see the question mark cloud forming above their heads, and I make my get away. Don”t get me wrong, some of these TV Designers are talented, but would you want to live in something that they built without your input and in a mere 24 hours”

Most of what I do on a daily basis has very little to do with color selection. While it is an important part of what I do, I would say I spend less than 5% of my time pulling any type of selections together. While I am an Interior Designer by training, most days are spent solving problems related to space planning, scheduling, building materials, construction harmony, ADA compliance, invoice processing, cat juggling and hostage negotiation. (As a father of 3, the last 2 skills come in real handy.)

Listening is a key skill that I have developed throughout my career as an Interior Design professional. You want your Client to know that you want to help them achieve their vision in an efficient and cost effective manner. Sometimes your “Client” is many different people all at the same time. I have a responsibility to design space that my Owner can be proud of, my Leasing Agents can sell, outside Brokers will want, the Tenant will work efficiently in, my Contractor can build and my Property Management Team can maintain.

As an Interior Designer, Facilities Site Manager and now as a Project Manager with a Developer, my days have been filled with numerous calls and emails from Tenants that want to know how much something costs or how long it will take to get into their new space.

If you think that you are coming out of school with the idea that you come in and just design, get real. You are learning to be a problem solver ” not just finish and planning problems ” but all kinds of problems. Be able to think on your feet, be thick-skinned and flexible and not only will you achieve, you”ll have fun doing it.