Today as I was collecting boxes of wallpaper and door hardware from suppliers, I reflected on the number of people who ask me how I manage a project based in Goulburn when I'm based in Canberra. It got me thinking that as an Interior Designer there are a few key traits that make working on 'out of town' projects possible.
1. Being highly organised... I have lists and checklists for everything. Amongst other things, today's list included collecting wallpaper and door hardware to take to site. It along with all the relevant files, drawings and samples is neatly packed and ready for the trip tomorrow.
2. A well documented Design Brief... a few key meetings up front ensure that both the client and I are on the same page. More time spent at the briefing stage results in a clearer vision for both parties. I understand what they want and they understand what I'm going to deliver. Of course there are always design decisions that need to be made as we go and that is where using ArchiCAD bridges the gap between us.
Today I needed to convey a concept for a timber wall to my client via email so I generated some 3D sketches and a quick 3D model to enable to client to visualise the concept. While these are not high quality 3D visuals for client presentations, they do enable a concept to be confirmed quickly and easily when there is a good client relationship established.
3. Relationships are key... The most important factor for me is building relationships with my clients, tradesmen and suppliers so that are all working together to the achieve the desired outcome. We all communicate regularly to ensure to keep the project on track. Site visits like the one I'm heading on tomorrow, are about once a month. The builder, client and I work through any questions that are outstanding and make decisions quickly or document things for follow up. Now that the project is seeing finishes being installed, it's an exciting time as Interior Designer. The months of planning starts to take shape on site and the clients begin to see what you've visualised for their home.
Tomorrow I get to enjoy being an Interior Designer revealing the beautiful finishes that are going to make my clients new house their home. I get to see the beautiful tiles I selected months ago at Rivoland, and meticulously set out by the tiler. I get to see the driveway and gate pillars I shared here in real life. I get to discuss design details with the builder, landscaper and client. Everything I do with a client here in Canberra... only this time it's in Goulburn.
Oh and if you've guessed from this quote... number 4. I love a challenge.
I look forward to sharing more on this amazing new home as the build progresses.
Take a quick look at these copper door knobs and let me tell you where I found them...
Easter Sunday I found myself caught up amongst hundreds of parents and young children following the Easter Trail around the corridors and rooms of Old Parliament House, Canberra. Excited children running in and out of rooms that one day housed the Commonwealth Parliament. Me... amazed that the premises are readily made available for events like this and that I haven't visited it since living in Canberra. If you are at all interested in design or history, I urge you to put it on your list of places to visit when in Canberra.
Being a designer I was drawn to the beauty and simplicity of both the exterior and the interior design. Designed by John Smith Murdoch in the simplified or 'stripped' Classical style used in the 1920s and 1930s for Australian Government buildings, the design is both simple and functional but also extremely beautiful.
Timber panelling throughout showcases stunning Australian timbers including Tasmanian Blackwood and Black bean wood - both timbers incorporated in an Interior Design project I'm working on. Look at this beautiful example of timber panelling in the bathroom of the Prime Minister's suite. Such a contrast to the simple and functional white laminate joinery butting up to it.
Hand woven carpets feature Australian Eucalyptus leaves and Wattle blossom are dotted with equally beautiful timber furniture and upholstered seating designed by Murdoch in simplified classicism.
But my gem from the day is this snapshot of the bathroom. If you've followed any of my social media, you'll know I love mosaic tiles, and this is not what I have in mind when I'm thinking mosaics.
I'm sure it would have been an eye-catching bathroom in its day. What do you think?
Welcome to my first blog post (well, not really but I’ll tell you about that later). I’m Lisa Alward, Interior Designer and founder of Bella Vie Interiors a boutique interior design business based in Canberra ACT. I love my business and I want to share with you some of the things that I’ve learnt about interiors, design, starting an interior design business, building, renovating, kitchens, bathrooms… the list goes on. There’s so many things on my ‘what to blog about’ list but for today I’ll start at the beginning.
Today I’ll share with you
1. why I used to have a blog but stopped
2. why I started this interior design blog
3. one of the most valuable pieces of advice I’ve learnt (ever) and
4. share a snapshot of what it’s like being an Interior Designer
So I did have a blog… when I as an aspiring interior design student eager to learn as much as I could about design. I wrote lengthy blogs on aspects of design I was studying or design that inspired me. Needless to say it ended with the study as I moved forward with my career as a kitchen designer.
Here’s why I started an Interior Design blog… I like to talk and I’m constantly sharing valuable design knowledge with clients and it’s probably something I’ll continue to do, so I figured I should write it down. How many times have you searched the Internet for information on topics of interest? I like to share information that might add value to someone’s life. It goes back to my years as a retailer.
One of the best pieces of advice I learnt as a fledgling beauty retailer...
‘when you are speaking to customers,
you want them to leave thinking that their time with you was worthwhile’.
It served me well as I grew my retail business from one to eight stores and then as a National Business Manager and European Sales and Marketing Manager growing other people’s businesses. It still serves me well as I continue to add value to the lives of my clients as an Interior Designer.
I like being the go-to person for people building their first new home or changing a kitchen they’ve had for 20 years. Many of the clients I work with never imagined using an interior designer for their own home. Like them, I used to think Interior Designers were the exclusive domain of the wealthy. Everyone else went to his or her local kitchen renovation shop or DIY superstore.
In reality, anyone can use the services of an Interior Designer. There are so many options available and these can be tailored to suit just about any project.
Thank you for reading. I look forward to sharing inspiring images, useful information and a love of interior design with you.
Founder and Interior Designer - Bella Vie Interiors.