However, I have had a few great friends move locally and I offered my design services to them for free in exchange for sharing what I've contributed to their home. Here's my first project that I am THRILLED about!
Now, I am sure that most clients interior designers have come with their own great ideas into a project. My friend, Kaylee, was one such client. She already had some wonderful plans in place, but I was able to help her finalize some decisions she was debating on, as well as provide some ideas to take her kitchen to the next notch up. (I also helped with her family and dining rooms, and they'll be shared in the future once completed!)
Here are some before pictures:
Kaylee, her husband, and one-year old daughter moved into a beautiful old home with great bones, but a lot of work needed. Luckily, her father-in-law is a brilliant contractor who agreed to help them with the remodel. But the design was largely on Kaylee's shoulders. Kaylee is a big Fixer Upper fan (who isn't, right?!) and loved the idea of a farmhouse-inspired kitchen, so she had already decided on white cabinetry, marble backsplash, slate floors, and an apron sink, in addition to how she wanted things laid out. Once I walked through her home and we talked a lot, it seemed like to me the foundation of her kitchen could be farmhouse-inspired (white cabinets, slate floors, some industrial and natural elements), but instead of a shabby-chic/distressed layers, she should lean to her more prominent preference of traditional-modern design, as apparent in the rest of her home. With that in mind, here are the ideas I brought to the (kitchen) table:
* Dark, oil rubbed bronze hardware and sink fixtures to match the slate floors, but streamlined to add a modern touch
* Moving the original glass hardware from the built-in to the island--to keep some charm!
* Making the countertop on the buffet a natural wood, to bring in warmth.
* Switch glass-covered doors to the cabinets of the new side buffet instead of by the sink.
* Creating open shelving next to the sink instead of the glass-door cabinets, to create more openness; make those shelves from wood and use metal brackets to add some industrial element.
* Add glass pendants for over the island. This is because it's a small space and there is a drop ceiling right behind where the pendants go; the glass add the light, some style, but doesn't interfere too much with visual space.
* Use oil-rubbed lighting with touches of brass too, to mix metals a bit.
* Sheer curtains in a linen fabric, again because the space is small.
* COLOR on the walls--we used a light green/blue/gray that I have in my home. Kaylee was originally thinking gray, but with a little more color there is more warmth in the space.
* Confirmed her choice on island and pendant placement, and slate floors.
* Advised for stools with wood and metal.
Here are some notes on the process: Kaylee and I talked a lot at her house, then I went home and scoured the internet for my ideas. I made Kaylee a Pinterest board so she could see what I meant when I said "modern-traditional," and also included images to show blending all these styles together, or up-close photos of examples for design elements I had come up with. Once I got some happy confirmations from her regarding the style, I sent her a lot of links to lighting, furniture, hardware options that I found (that were also very affordable--because like me, Kaylee is on a tight budget with her decorating!). I went to Homegoods and snapped a ton of photos of things I had mentioned so she would know what to look for, like the stools, regardless of where we ended up finding the final choices. I also forwarded her a lot of inspiration photos that illustrated the thoughts I had, such as wood open shelving and lighting ideas, to show how to make these things come together in the style we had talked about.
Kaylee and I went back and forth about a few ideas and she sent me some things she was thinking about buying and I gave my feedback on yays and nays. For example, I say nay to some lighting options (too big, clashed with the style of the room) as well as some shelves she found (too fake of wood and heavy pipes that would distract from room; advised to just make the shelves herself--which they did!), but then lots of "yes!" to many of her finds. Kaylee was shopping savvy too and found some of my same lighting on amazon instead of the source I originally sent her!
Kaylee and her family then did all the hard work of demoing their kitchen and putting it all back together again. I was thrilled to see that she went through with a lot of my ideas and I feel they they paired so well with her foundational thoughts on what she wanted. I came by her home, quickly styled things, snapped a few pictures, and went on my way. Want a peek at more of the details? (If I were you, I'd click to enlarge these images even more. . . ;)
My take-away from this: I LOVED doing interior design work. In fact, it wasn't "work" to me at all. I was able to use my great interests, OCD-ness, and work savvy all in one beautiful, very satisfactory way. It made me realize that this is indeed a passion I'd like to begin pursuing.
So, I am ready to open myself up for my design services! I will offer a highly discounted rate of $50 for my first five clients.
Here is how it will work: choose a room in your home you need some guidance, whether you are trying to figure out furniture placement, decide on your style, or about to do a remodel and are feeling scared. If you are local, I'll pay a visit and chat with you before sending you inspirational ideas, Pinterest boards, and actual things you can purchase all tailored to your overall budget. If you are out of my area, you will send me a lot of of pictures of your space, we'll chat via phone or Skype, and then we will go from there in the same manner as above. Please send inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm excited to hear from you.
**UPDATE: I have maxed out on that highly-discounted rate. (Yay!) I'd still love any inquiries on pricing and will have a page up soon listing my services and more detailed prices. I plan on gradually raising my rates, so they will still be exceptionally low for a while, even compared to other designers who are just starting out.**