An Era of Celebrity Designers
Though Interior Designers are receiving widespread, mostly positive, exposure these days with the popularity of HGTV programming and social media, it can be an intimidating task for homeowners to hire a designer. We appear to be living in an era of omnipresent, “bigger-than-life”, “can-do-no-wrong” celebrity designers.
“No Regret” Viewing vs. Reality
A major part of the fun and allure of home design shows, is that the viewer is not tethered to time, money or inconvenience. Most importantly the viewer DOES NOT HAVE TO LIVE with the results! We like to refer to it as “no regret” viewing pleasure.
So, when homeowners seriously begin to contemplate taking the design plunge, fear and apprehension can easily set in:
- How much will an interior designer cost and can you justify this expense?
- Will the designer listen to you and respect your opinions and concerns?
- Will you later regret any of the aesthetic choices made?
- Will any of the changes be difficult to undo?
The Perspectives of a Passionate But Realistic Interior Designer
To help assuage these prevalent fears, we contacted Lesley Myrick, an interior designer based outside of Atlanta. We were fortunate to have heard her speak at a recent virtual conference on interior design.
Her perspectives and attitude resonated with us for a couple of important reasons. First, she understands how technology has changed her industry. As a result, she has adjusted and evolved her offerings to be more conducive to the needs of her clients. Second, and most importantly, she genuinely respects her clients, especially homeowners.
One moment that really commanded our attention, was when she encouraged her peers to learn to “let go of the outcome”. She reminded the attending design professionals that you have to respect the homeowner’s wishes, as they have their own visions, too. She further emphasized that clients will be the persons actually living in the space for a significant amount of time. It is their space, not yours.
Given Lesley’s positive and mature approach to working with her clients, we followed up to seek more of her viewpoints on what it’s like for homeowners to work with an interior designer. Here are the highlights of our interview with her.
Please share your lessons learned working with designers, successful or not, in our comments section below!
Purgula: How do you determine if a client is a good fit for your services?
Lesley Myrick (LM): The relationship between a client and interior designer is quite intimate. Often at a first meeting, I end up seeing their dirty laundry or the contents of their medicine cabinets! I don’t take that privilege lightly, and trust is huge when it comes to design.
An interior design project can take months (or even years) and the client and designer need to “click” for the process to be enjoyable and to get the best possible outcome.
I tend to get a gut feeling about a potential client quickly, and every time – and I mean every time – that I’ve ignored that feeling or convinced myself that we can make it work, something has soured along the way.
To help improve the chances of finding a mutually good fit, I offer a complimentary consultation call to potential clients. Not only is this call an opportunity for me to learn about the scope of their project and provide a proposal for our design services, but it’s just as much about us getting to know each other, and see if we jibe together. If we can make each other laugh on that first phone call, it’s usually a good sign.
How do you handle differences in style and taste between you and a client?
LM: I have a degree in Interior Design and have spent years working under other seasoned interior designers. I’ve also worked as a set designer and stylist, where we created interiors in every imaginable style.
From Traditional to Ultra-Modern to Mid-Century to French Farmhouse, as a designer, I CAN do it all – BUT – am I the BEST designer in a style that isn’t really my wheelhouse? Nope. My tagline is “bust out of boring” and I love color, pattern, and offbeat interiors. Clients who are looking for those things are definitely the best fit.
If a client wants something completely opposite from what I’m known for – say, a beige and brown traditional home – then, I know we’re not a great fit and I’ll refer them to another designer.
How should homeowners go about choosing the right Interior Designer with whom to work?
LM: Homeowners should not only be drawn to the interior designer’s signature style, but also to the designer themselves. It’s not just about aesthetics, but also about the relationship.
Some questions to ask yourself are:
- Is the designer a good communicator?
- Has the designer used colors, textures, and patterns in their past projects that resonate with you?
- Do you think you could get along with the designer for 6 months or longer?
- Did they answer your inquiry in a timely manner?
- Do they run their business like a business (with insurance, contracts, and systems in place)?
In your opinion, what are the characteristics for a great homeowner client?
LM: I love when a client comes to me with an idea in mind for what they’re hoping to achieve together, an estimated budget, and a Pinterest board or Houzz board with a few ideas that convey the aesthetics they’re drawn to.
Usually, clients have a high-level vision for the project, but not often a budget or concrete inspiration images – and that’s okay.
The important thing is to start the conversation with a designer. We can help with all of that. I even have a free interior design budget guide available to help clients plan their design budget.
What advice would you give to homeowners to realize that they really need an interior designer versus taking a DIY route?
LM: Would you cut and color your own hair to save a couple hundred bucks? Maybe, but the end result won’t be anything like what you see in magazines, and you’ll likely end up spending twice as much fixing the problem. It’s the same with interior design.
Designers are experts who can save you time, money, and mistakes. We know this industry, our tradespeople and our vendors inside and out. We’re trained in space planning, ergonomics, color, scale, building codes and more.
Would you cut and color your own hair to save a couple hundred bucks? Maybe, but the end result won’t be anything like what you see in magazines, and you’ll likely end up spending twice as much fixing the problem. It’s the same with interior design.
We love to do what we do best so we can free up your time for you do what you do best – which probably isn’t interior design! When you find an interior designer who’s the right fit, both professionally and personally, the investment in your home and family is worth every penny.
If you were not a designer, what other profession would you have chosen and why?
LM: When I was a kid, I remember declaring that I wanted to be a singer or an actress. I did spend a year touring as a vocalist with a music ministry in my mid-20s, so I guess that childhood dream kind of came true! As I got a little older, I thought about being a fashion designer – but as soon as I realized that I hated sewing, I let that career path go and focused on art and design!
~End of Interview~
Parting Words from Purgula
Homeowners can learn a lot from designers like Lesley. She is not only helping clients directly, but is also educating both homeowners and other interior designers on how the industry is changing.
We really respect her passion for her craft and how transparent she is about how she continues to adapt her services based on listening to the evolving needs of the marketplace. She is also serving as a positive influence, where clients and designers can follow her lead on how to best establish productive and trustworthy partnerships.
Lastly we encourage you to take Lesley’s imaginative advice by envisioning your hired designer as your personal “Design Brain”, where they can:
- Generate creative ideas for you
- Develop detailed plans & schedules
- Source items
- Provide on-going guidance & coaching
- Offer flexibility, such as allowing you to find similar pieces at lower pricing
More Information on Lesley Myrick Art + Design
Our Summary of Lesley’s Design Philosophy:
- Design NOW!
- You may not get more time in the future to create a home that you love!
- You might not be healthy enough to enjoy your home for as long as you’d like!
- Don’t be afraid if your home won’t look like every other one on the block – that’s okay & totally awesome!
- Embrace what you love, and believe that you CAN make confident design decisions!
Lesley Myrick Art + Design Website
Lesley Myrick YouTube Channel
Lesley Myrick Instagram Account
Bust Out of Boring Podcast
5 Myths About Interior Design
Lesley Myrick Portfolio
Lesley Myrick Freebies
Lesley’s Favorite Textbook from College
How to Choose Interior Design Services from Virtual to Full-Service
Interior Design: Everything You Need to Know
Home Improvement Shows: News for Viewers
Home Improvement Shows on Amazon Prime
YouTube Channels for Imaginative Homeowners
Crowdsourcing Your Renovation with GoPillar
How to Use Havenly for Your Interior Design Needs
Enhance Your Design Inspiration with Behance
Have you visited the new Purgula News page? It covers all things related to homeownership, home improvement, interior design, real estate, budgeting, financing, etc. – updated daily!
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