Get to Know Your Designer: Part 1

Hi there, it has been awhile since I last posted here on the blog. Christmas came and went, and then I had several jobs going at once so the past few months have been a little crazy.

I decided to devote some time to writing because I want to share more about myself, my design philosophies, and my specialties. I realize choosing a designer can be scary and intimidating. The best way to mitigate that fear is to get to know your potential designer ahead of time.

So here is what I want you to know about me in Part 1:

I could bore you with all of the details of my career, (I've had many different jobs in the Interior Design Field over the years) my degree, (BS Interior Design from Indiana University of Pennsylvania), or my childhood (I grew up in a really small town and I loved rearranging my Bedroom when I was a kid). However what matters most to a potential client is how the past several years of my life have influenced my design philosophies, style, and strengths as a designer.

After my first child was born in 2008 I decided to quit my job (at a flooring store) and stay home to be a mom. From 2008 until 2017 I dabbled in design. I wrote a blog about children's room design, I did projects on the side for family and friends, and I DIY'd the crap out of our own homes. Many women feel nervous about being out of the work force for so long. The question always is "will I be able to get a job when I'm ready after staying home for so long?" or "How will I fill in this gap on my resume?" I never felt this pressure. I felt like being a stay-at-home mom was my biggest teacher, my biggest gift. It helped me learn about myself in a way that I never would've had I been working all of those years. I got to explore my passions and what truly made me happy not to mention being home with my precious little ones. My husband and I were fortunate enough to survive on one income so I knew I didn't want to go back to work just to collect a paycheck. I had to be doing something I loved and something that was meaningful to me where I was using my gifts and talents to help people.

From 2006 to 2016 we lived in a small three bedroom townhouse. This house was perfect for my husband and I but by 2012 we had two children and things quickly started to feel cramped. We knew we wanted to move to a single family home but being on one income it took us longer than expected to make it happen. Living in this small townhouse was a blessing for several reasons. It really made me have to think outside of the box for design solutions to combat our small space and lack of storage. It also got me in the habit of constantly getting rid of things we no longer needed, and I was more thoughtful about the things we did buy. I definitely adopted a "less is more" mentality. Of course when you have two small children there is always a ton of stuff, toys, and gadgets that quickly pile up but I was able to come up with a system where everything had a place. Our new home is twice the size of our townhouse so once we moved I tried to be mindful of the "stuff" that made its way in. When you have more room it is easier to accumulate more but what I've learned over the past year or so is that excessive stuff can really stress you out. Especially now that both of my children are in school the amount of papers and things that come home is crazy. I've learned through trial and error how to combat the excessive stuff that was making our home a constant mess. It isn't always perfect as our home is a work in progress but I've learned that the less clutter you have in a home the more peaceful and calm you feel. You just have less to do and less to deal with!

In the process of clearing out my own home and decorating it I realized that so many other people, especially families with children have to be feeling the same way I was feeling. Overwhelmed with the clutter and stressed about the excessive stuff. Combine that with a space that isn't well designed and that is a recipe for design disaster! That sounds a little dramatic but seriously it can cause major frustration on a regular basis. Our homes are meant to be a space to relax, recharge, have fun, and make memories. When they aren't functioning properly it can affect our happiness level big time.

Your home doesn't have to be a source of frustration and in fact should be a source of inspiration. I believe there is potential in every space. You can make the best of what you have and sometimes small changes can make a big impact.

One of my biggest strengths as a designer is in figuring out what the best floor plan and furniture plan is for a room or a whole home. I am able to address challenging areas with solutions that are practical and functional as well as beautiful. My experience being a mom and designing my own homes with children in mind has given me a good insight on what families need. I am able to come up with aesthetically pleasing solutions using practical and durable materials that stand up to dirty hands and crumbs.

I love using my experience to guide my clients through a remodel or home project. This is often an overwhelming process for most people. I like that I can take that nervousness away and help people relax through the process knowing their needs are being taken care of.

If you are looking to do a home project but are feeling overwhelmed please contact me. I would love to talk with you about it and see how my services can help make the process easy.

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for Part 2!

-Bernadette :)

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