Interior designers who are part architect, part multi-tasker, part shrink
Commercial interior design is one of the many business sectors that has benefited greatly from Austin’s high-octane economic spurt. Creating just the right ambiance for employees and clients requires far more out-of-the-box creativity than was adequate in times past.
Today’s commercial interior designer needs a broad range of skills in the tool box — a deep understanding of employee motivation, sales psychology, space planning, color theory, materials expertise, as well as time and people management moxie. They also need a cool-handed manner when all hell breaks lose — which it will, when, for example, the client doesn’t like a color of paint that was already approved, construction is delayed, or a new executive team takes over — with completely different tastes and objectives. Indeed, the successful and gifted interior designer balances creative, often emotional, urges with project management finesse. We’ve asked some of Austin’s best just how they do it. Here are their answers:
JILL CARRELL, SIXTHRIVER ARCHITECTS
How did you know you wanted a career in interior design? My father is a homebuilder in Austin and I grew up surrounded by design and weekends of touring my dad’s homes. It’s always been a part of me and I have always loved the process of construction to the final product.
What’s the biggest misconception about interior design? So many clients in the past have commented on how much fun my job is designing. There is so much more involved in being a successful designer than being creative.
What’s your favorite aspect of the business? I love the design industry and the people. I love the feeling of finishing a successful project and the excitement of starting a new one.
Your least favorite aspect? I was looking for fast-paced projects with deadlines and I have truly discovered this. Be careful what you wish for.
What’s your unique skill set? I have met so many talented designers, but those that communicate and collaborate well with the team rise above the others.
Do you have a distinctive creative process? Each project type has a different approach. A lot of my projects are not in Austin, which requires travelling to the market. This is where it begins. Design is a lot of research and discovery and evolving this to create a unique design.
What are your proven reservoirs of inspiration? Travel, history and fashion.
What’s your best advice for an aspiring designer? Work for an interior design firm while in college. This is your best way to know what direction you want your career to go and is also great for networking.
Your best advice for a company that has never hired a designer before?Make sure they have experience with the project type and have completed it successfully before.
If you could change one thing about the interior design business, what would it be? I’d like more legislation that supports licensed interior designers.
Jan Buchholz covers commercial and residential real estate, construction and architecture and retail and restaurants for the Austin Business Journal. Read more at http://bit.ly/2bP9yKo