How did you start your company, Design by Deborah?
After qualifying as an Interior Designer, I worked for a designer part-time to enable me to work round a young family. However, it was always my intention to start my own company and once my circumstances allowed me to work full time and I could focus on developing a business properly I did.
What was your biggest business hurdle to overcome?
The biggest hurdle had been initially attracting clients when you don’t yet have a portfolio of any significance. It is one thing being a good designer but it is something completely different having people know about you in a sector that is not regulated. Anyone can call himself or herself an Interior Designer so it is important to educate the client and be clear on what you can offer.
How would you describe your style?
It is always difficult to describe your own style, as we will reflect the client’s tastes and style in anything that we design. I love elegance, colour, character and light. I don’t like clutter but I am also not a minimalist.
We have discussed it in the office and officially ‘classically modern’ or in other words ‘2015 with a touch of Great Gatsby’!
Where do you get inspiration from?
Chelsea Harbour Design Centre is always a great source of ideas, with many of the design houses having their showrooms there. With regards to designers I love Taylor Howe’s style and aspire to have a client base like hers.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I love meeting new people, everyone is different and therefore every project is different, which makes designing an exciting challenge. Creating the designs is something I often get lost in and will order a large array of samples and take my time looking at various options before selecting the best combination.
Then finally it is seeing it completed and the image you had in your head having become a reality, and of course having clients that are delighted with what you have done for them. A glowing testimonial beats everything.
What is most challenging about interior design?
The main challenges come when a client gives you very little direction on the sort of style they would like and their budget. Often we need to encourage them to be a little proactive before we can really put together a stunning design for them that they can afford. Most people under estimate how much things cost!
What advice do you have for other designers?
Plan. Most people skip this stage as they are eager to start shopping, but if you don’t plan that is when you can make expensive mistakes.
What is your favourite project that you’ve worked on so far?
Probably my favourite project so far has been the barn conversion, which we won an award for. It was the largest project we had carried out at that point, it was a complete house.