Interview with an interior design expert


I was asked by "Guide to Career Education" about what it's like to be an interior designer. Below is the article.


Kimberlee Jaynes is an interior designer in Portland, Oregon. She runs her own firm, Kimberlee Jaynes Interior Designs Inc., where she merges modern and traditional styles to create bold, simple interior designs. Kimberlee's designs have been featured in The Portrait of Portland magazine, as well as Oregon Home magazine and The Oregonian newspaper. Kimberlee has completed projects all over Oregon and Washington, in addition to Santa Fe, San Francisco and Stuttgart, Germany.

What is an interior designer?

An interior designer helps a client develop their style and implement the agreed upon design.

Why did you decide to become an interior designer?

I changed the design of my room three times from the age of 15-18. I suppose it is in my DNA! My environment has always been very important to me. My home needs to please my eyes and be functional.

Are there common misconceptions about your profession?

I think the most common mis-perception is that designers are not down to earth. And that we will not listen to our clients' needs/wants and just do whatever we want to do.

What is a typical day like for you?

When I meet with clients for the first time, I measure and photograph the project. I conduct interviews with the client about the project and I review blueprints.

These are the categories I complete in any given week:

Design Development: My time spent preparing information for presentation, including the gathering of samples, researching the products, pricing and requesting information from suppliers as well as creating the budget spread sheet.

Graphics and Drafting: Time spent preparing floor plans, renderings, fabric samples, color boards and other visual presentations for the project.

Specification of Product: Shopping for items on the scope of work outline. Example: Specifying artwork, furniture, fabrics, and accessories etc.

Design Coordination: Planning sequence or scope of activities related to a project. Meeting time reviewing the project with related person's involved with the project. I will inspect custom items in production.

Client Consultation: Time spent with client for presentations, reviewing, and refining the design.

Management: My time spent writing orders and specifications of project. Time spent inspecting all completed merchandise from vendors prior to delivery.

How long is your typical workday?

Between 8 and 12 hours.

What are your favorite aspects of your job?

The final reveal. When the client walks in and is pleased with the outcome.

What are your least favorite aspects of your job?

Invoicing and the bookkeeping part of the job.

What classes did you take in high school that are the most relevant to your job?

Art classes learning composition, rhythm, balance and color theory.

What personality traits do you think would help someone to be successful as an interior designer?

Confidence, ethical business practices. Salesman ship --you must be able to sell your design. Good listening skills and intuition.

What personality traits do you think might hinder some one's success as an interior designer?

Someone who interrupts continually. A person that is too shy. A person that wants to line their pockets with money rather than having the clients' best interests in mind.

What advice, or words of caution, would you give to a student who is considering studying to become an interior designer?

Interior design has lots of liability. If you order a sofa and you did not measure the door in which the sofa will come through and the sofa is too big you just bought yourself a sofa! Be sure all of the tradespeople you use are licensed and bonded. Carry insurance so that if you were to be sued, you have a policy for mistakes. I have never been sued but I do carry insurance.
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