Boy if I knew then what I know now... Being the shopaholic that I am, I have purchased furniture and home accessories with many different motives. The red sofas because I loved the lines and color, the oak mission desk furniture, because it was quality furniture and I was just starting out and didn't have an overall concept of what I wanted my house to be, the maple dining table with the veneer top, to the dozens of vases and art pieces that just called my name... Now I have a house full and wish I had an overall plan before I started.
As I looked at my home office space I realized that I need more storage and thought about asking my husband for an armoire for Christmas and then I thought, what would Laura do? Laura Martin Bovard is an Oakland based Designer who creates spaces that her clients love to live in. I have always steered away from Interior Designers as I thought I couldn't afford one, so I talked to Laura and asked her for some advise and realized that I had it all wrong.
Q: How do you advise your clients to start the decorating process?
A: One piece of advice I always offer my clients is to keep a folder with images from magazines or pictures of artwork you feel inspired by and collect them as you go. Whether you work with a decorator or just do it on your own it’s always good to have a place to refer back to when beginning the decorating or remodeling process. With so much exposure to what’s new and in fashion and it can be easy to get side tracked and end up feeling confused. Always good to have the general feeling tone established so that you can keep your focus on how you want your space to look. Having the design folder allows you to go back and see the direction you want to keep. That way you can say to yourself, “would this pillow that I love while I’m here in the store actually do what it needs to add to the feeling of warmth and comfort I want my room to have?” or “will this tile go with the counter material?”
Q: I have always thought I couldn't afford a decorator, what are your thoughts? A: Sometimes I hear that my clients don’t perceive that they can afford to work with a decorator but in fact in the end we can help them save money by coming up with a plan and by shopping smart. We have resources that most people don’t have access to and often get them at dealer pricing which allows us in many cases to re-sell them at below retail pricing. You can think of it this way…the money you save on making purchases through us goes to the design fees which is the time we spend coming up with and implementing a cohesive look that reflects who you are.
Q: What is it like to work with a decorator? A: When you work with a decorator it’s like having a coach tell you yes, that size will work or no, that finish won’t flow so you avoid making costly mistakes. Bringing a decorator in before making expensive decisions is very often where clients end of saving the most money. I can’t tell you how many kitchen and bath remodels I’ve seen go awry when people chose materials that simply don’t go together or don’t fit the style of the house. On the other hand a couple of hours with someone who has a good eye for design and experience can help you get through a remodel or a decorating without wasting time and money.
Q: Do you help clients with small projects, such as paint color consulting ? A: Yes, for less of a commitment but one that still nets good results we are able to come in for a few hours and help our clients freshen up their space without purchasing new items by styling with a designer’s eye by rearranging furniture, re-hanging art and basically “shopping” your own house to shift the energy.
Q: Can you tell me a few of your low cost tips? A: A few tricks of the trade that I’ve come to rely on for big impact are:
· Rearranging furniture and adding lamps or just new lamp shades and pillows or a throw over the back of the sofa
· I like to take the jackets off of hardback books and use them to style (the bindings provide great hits of color) books are a great way for people to learn more about you and I use them a lot for styling
· painting the backs of shelves a dark color to allow the objects and books on the shelves to pop off.
· I love to hang a textured or beautiful wall covering on just one wall which provides a focal point and another layer of beauty or just painting one anchor wall can make it feel like a whole new space. Good design is all about creating layers so when we see an opportunity to do so we jump on it.
The following pictures show a recently completed job in San Leandro, a fresh, soothing mid-century modern home. The construction remodel was done by Welte Construction, a local contractor in San Leandro. Laura said they are a super nice and professional firm.