SO, WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT INTERIOR DESIGNERS

 

This article will be in the next edition of Design | Build on the Kitsap Peninsula

Written by

Diana Kingsley ASID. IIDA. NCIDQ. NKBA. And a Ph.D.in Business Marketing

 

When I graduated with an MA in Interior Design way back in 1985, there were not many interior design colleges offering the degree. There was no HGTV, no cooking channels, no cell phones, no GPS and believe it or not, no internet.  Students did not learn CADD or SketchUp and had to do everything with hand drawing.    Renderings would take hours, and only a few people across the country mastered the techniques.  People had no idea what a professional interior designer actually did unless they worked in a commercial firm.

 

Back in those dark ages, there were more “decorologists” than interior designers and it was just becoming a professional career.  Then and often now  I think today people think you just have to have a knack for it.  They don’t get that it takes years of training in space planning, lighting, structural design, history of art & furniture & architecture, textiles and you actually have to pass a two-day test to be called a professional.  But what does that all matter if you just watch HGTV and can see how to do it all.

 

Have you ever seen behind the scenes at Property Brothers or Flip or Flop or even Fixer Upper?  There are thirty or more people all working at the same time on a project. They have sources and they have money.  They have a whole crew that gets the job done.  In the real world, most people do not have a clue where to find the crews or all the cool stuff they incorporate into their designs.

 

Just take a sledgehammer and knock a wall down.  I will never forget a good friend of mine and a career attorney buying a small beach cottage and wanting to open up the space just started taking out walls.  She just kept taking out walls, not understanding structure till with one wall out too many, her roof began collapsing right in the middle of the house.  Luckily, she was able to get something to support it and no was injured, but it was pretty messy.

 

Earlier in the day, when I was about to write this article, I was copying some architectural drawings from a house where I am redoing a kitchen, bath and entry. The woman helping me at copy place asked if I was an architect and I said, no I am an interior designer.  Her comment back to me is one I have heard many times in my life: “I never got a degree in design but am pretty good at it.”

 

In many ways because of all the HGTV television shows people are starting to understand what designers do versus what decorators do. They are starting to understand that you have to have both sides of your brain working to be a successful interior designer. You need to be able to form an artistic vision and possess the math and construction skills to make it happen.

 

In teaching college-level interior design for eight years, I can honestly tell you that not everyone that signs up for college-level design classes has the “knack”.  Even as a learned skill there are students that are excellent; there are students that good and there are students that could not make it. Not everyone thinks they will be the next HGTV host makes it. Another part of interior design is the psychology involved working with couples that do not always agree. In hiring a designer people are starting to understand that mediation of partners makes it easier to get the job done.

 

One of the other things I laughed about when teaching were your contacts.  In the “good old” days, your Rolodex was your best friend, and I would call it in class your million-dollar wheel. You had all the good contacts and sources and knew who to call to get something done. Now it is who you have on your smartphone, but the list is still there, and the average homeowner does not have this list. They are starting to realize a good interior designer will have this list to get the job properly done. Professionals have great connections.

 

One of the questions I keep hoping homeowners will ask is about the education of the person they are about to hire. At the Art Institute, you could get a three-year bachelor’s degree, a two-year associate degree or a one-year certification.  There are a few schools that offer master’s degrees, but not many and very few where you can earn a Ph.D.

 

Keeping to a budget is another thing people are starting to grasp about interior designers. They work to keep you on budget. When the first woman interior designers designed, it was for the elite and money was no object. Now designers are taught that the budget is almost as important as the design.  You can design the most beautiful room in the world, but if it is two or three times what the client wants to spend then you do not have a workable design.

 

More people are starting to appreciate that a smart designer will not go over budget, but save you money when they can, and most importantly they will save you time.  I don’t know about you, but I really get tired of constantly searching Online for what I need.  Designers used to take their clients to one of the major design centers to make selections and in most cases, the client was totally overwhelmed.  Even though Online there is a lot to see, you can see it one-by-one.

 

Building codes and aging in place have become more prevalent in the marketplace and most clients need assistance with that.  They don’t want to put their home on the market and find out at that time that a lot of illegal construction took place. If they want to stay in their home as long as possible, designing it to make it easier to live in as we age is essential.

 

The NCIDQ is the National Council for Interior Design Qualification and to be a part of it the designer must pass a two-day test. So not only have they studied and earned a degree they are now recognized as a highly qualified interior designer, competent to meet industry standards not only for aesthetics but for public health, safety, and welfare. To date, more than 30,000 people around the world have earned the certification. This organization has been around since 1972.  Ask your designer if she or he has passed.

 

Knowledge is power; so, as people know more about what it takes to become a professional designer they will trust the industry more.

SO, WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT INTERIOR DESIGNERS

Why You Might Want to Work With an Interior Design Pro

11 ways a pro can help you get the most joy from your remodel while minimizing headaches along the way

This a wonderful and easy to read article from Houzz on why you would want to hire our team:

 

When people consider hiring an interior design professional for the first time, they often don’t know what to expect. Television can make it seem as though designers are magicians. This can create the illusion that designing, purchasing for and executing a vision can happen in a day; that concepts cost next to nothing to achieve; or that these professionals do nothing but shop, cause drama and have the time of their lives spending clients’ money. That’s good entertainment, but it’s not reality.

In the established design industry, the career is serious business. It takes years to master the art of interior design. It is complex, calculated and practical. A design professional is often part creator, part project manager and sometimes even part therapist, helping homeowners to determine their dream design and bring it to life while helping them to breathe through the complexities from start to finish. Design professionals have learned over the years to wear many hats to benefit their clients.

Here are some of the top reasons for entrusting your project, whether it’s big or small, to a design professional.

Why You Might Want to Work With an Interior Design Pro

Look What is Under the Stairs

Love these ten clever under-stair design solutions.  It does not have to be a waste of space or a closet.

10 Smart and Surprising Under-Stair Design Solutions
A sloped ceiling, low-head height, and limited access to sunlight might mean some design restrictions, but that doesn’t mean that the area under a staircase is doomed to be a completely unusable space in your home.

In most multi-level residences, the space under stairs can create some unusual, awkwardly shaped spaces that can be difficult to program. Between its low-head height, sloped ceiling, and small square footage, it can be difficult to make this space useful Fortunately, several designers have come up with creative solutions to render this difficult spot under staircases as viable square footage in even the smallest of homes, where every inch counts. Take a look at some of the ways homeowners, architects, and interior designers have approached this challenging area of the home and turned it into a place of beauty and even respite.

1) A Child’s Bright Workspace

10 Smart and Surprising Under-Stair Design Solutions - Photo 1 of 10 - In this home by O’Neill Rose Architects in Queens, New York, three generations of a family were living in a single house, including a young girl. To provide a space for her to complete her schoolwork, the architects designed this bright, energetic desk area under the stairs, but managed to make the space feel like anything but an afterthought.This space was designed for a younger student under the stairs and managed to make space feel like anything but an afterthought.

2) A Hidden Bar Cart on Wheels

10 Smart and Surprising Under-Stair Design Solutions - Photo 2 of 10 - A mobile bar cart with room for kitchen storage is not the most traditional under-stair solution, but it's proven to be critical in the design of this kitchen and living space in Seattle by designer David Sarti. Its plywood construction, black knobs, and bright red casters mean that this design is meant to be noticed rather than be ignored.

A mobile bar cart with room for kitchen storage is not the most traditional under-stair solution, but it’s proven to be critical in the design of this kitchen and living space. Its plywood construction, black knobs, and bright red casters mean that this design is meant to be noticed rather than be ignored.

3) A Wood-Clad Office Nook

10 Smart and Surprising Under-Stair Design Solutions - Photo 3 of 10 - In this home in Austin, Texas, architect Kevin Alter of Alterstudio renovated a 1920s bungalow to include a rustic but modern office nook under the new stairs leading to a second floor. By outfitting the walls of the office in knotty pine, the space contrasts with the surrounding white walls and becomes a design feature rather than a forgotten space. 
Here is a rustic but modern office nook under the new stairs leading to a second floor. By outfitting the walls of the office in knotty pine, space contrasts with the surrounding white walls and becomes a design feature rather than a forgotten space.

4) Elegantly Detailed Custom Cabinets
10 Smart and Surprising Under-Stair Design Solutions - Photo 4 of 10 - In a Brooklyn home renovated by Office of Architecture, subtle details on bright white cabinets keep this space under the stairs from feeling anything but dark and dreary, despite the dark wood treads and risers and black iron handrail. Thoughtful details, like simple, geometric hardware and hidden hinges, keep this often-awkward space useful and appealing.
 Subtle details on bright white cabinets keep this space under the stairs from feeling anything but dark and dreary, despite the dark wood treads and risers and black iron handrail. Thoughtful details, like simple, geometric hardware and hidden hinges, keep this often-awkward space useful and appealing.

5) Living Room Overflow Space

10 Smart and Surprising Under-Stair Design Solutions - Photo 5 of 10 - In this home by architect Charlie Lazor in Minneapolis, the space under this open-riser metal stair has been allocated as overflow storage and seating for the living room. Although it may initially seem like an unusable area, the height of the stair means that the space is in fact usable by someone seated or reaching for items in the storage cabinet along the back wall. By carefully placing the chairs, the space appears useful but not cluttered.
The space under this open-riser metal stair has been allocated as overflow storage and seating for the living room. Although it may initially seem like an unusable area, the height of the stair means that space is, in fact, usable by someone seated or reaching for items in the storage cabinet along the back wall. By carefully placing the chairs, the space appears useful but not cluttered.

6) Space-Saving Kitchen Storage

10 Smart and Surprising Under-Stair Design Solutions - Photo 6 of 10 - In this 240-square-foot apartment in New York City with a sleeping loft over the kitchen, architect Tim Seggerman didn't waste a single inch by locating kitchen cabinets and open shelving on the underside of the staircase that leads up to the lofted bed. The angle of the steps was incorporated into the shelves, which accommodates items like a single paper towel roll or small mugs under the lower steps, then graduating to larger sliding cabinets under the higher steps. 
In this 240-square-foot apartment with a sleeping loft over the kitchen, the architect didn’t waste a single inch by locating kitchen cabinets and open shelving on the underside of the staircase that leads up to the lofted bed. The angle of the steps was incorporated into the shelves, which accommodates items like a single paper towel roll or small mugs under the lower steps, then graduating to larger sliding cabinets under the higher steps.

7) Statement Storage and Office Space

10 Smart and Surprising Under-Stair Design Solutions - Photo 7 of 10 - In the family room of this former industrial loft in Brooklyn that was renovated by SABO project, a new staircase leads to a mezzanine level. The alternating tread steps double as cabinets that are free of knobs and visible hardware, creating a graphic statement piece in the room. The cabinets give way to a workspace that's complete with open and closed shelving so that the space can remain uncluttered.
In the family room of this former industrial loft, a new staircase leads to a mezzanine level. The alternating tread steps double as cabinets that are free of knobs and visible hardware, creating a graphic statement piece in the room. The cabinets give way to a workspace that’s complete with open and closed shelving so that the space can remain uncluttered.

8) A Space For an Elegant Vignette

10 Smart and Surprising Under-Stair Design Solutions - Photo 8 of 10 - In homes that aren't short on square footage, the space under a staircase can be the perfect spot to create a beautiful ensemble of items like a grouping of your favorite vases or a special piece of furniture. In this home near Bristol, England, that was designed by Paul Archer, the space under a stairway was made visually, if not programmatically, useful by locating a glass table and vase with simple lines to create a subtle, minimalist vignette.
In homes that aren’t short on square footage, the space under a staircase can be the perfect spot to create a beautiful ensemble of items like a grouping of your favorite vases or a special piece of furniture. The space under a stairway was made visually, if not programmatically, useful by locating a glass table and vase with simple lines to create a subtle, minimalist vignette

.

Look What is Under the Stairs

Back to the Studio

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 3.12.42 PM

It was a summer that I did not venture into my art studio, and yesterday I realized painting is what makes my heart sing.  That and some great Rhythm and Blues music in the background make for a wonderful day.

Two days ago I picked up a piece from a wonderful Interior Design Studio in Edmonds that sells quite a bit of my work.  The owner took me to house she is redoing and asked if I could do something for the living room to put above the fireplace. The colors were rich grays, taupes, bronze and a little bit of yellow green.  This piece is 30″ x 60″ and painted over a previous piece I had done a long time ago. Purple Abstract 30x48

It was done in a time when everything I did had some purple in it.  In the last couple of years I have finally grown tired of purple. I find painting over a previously painted abstract gives depth and life to a new painting.

In this case, since it was already framed, I just used green guerrilla painters tape to cover the frame, so did not have to remove it and could get right to painting.

Whenever I do a bigger piece, I make it so you can hang it vertically or horizontally. It is one thing I do to make it easier to use in what ever environment you hang the art.  In my own home, I may hang it one way for a while, then change 90 degrees in another place.  That way I don’t grow tired of the piece as quickly.

At the end of the day yesterday I felt this piece was complete and had a great start on a second piece.  I plan to spend a lot more time in my studio in the days to come.  It makes me happy!

Back to the Studio

West Sound Home & Garden Magazine

Home on Cover

Normally I post about food or art, but today I am sharing an article about my own home featured in a local magazine.  I bought the land about thirteen years ago and designed and built a home for me to live in as a single woman, as all my children had gotten on with their lives.  I was not sure at the time, if I wanted to live here or move back to California, where I am a sixth generation family member.  I moved there for a year, but could not get close to the beach, hated the traffic, realized most of my past friends had moved on and totally hated living in a townhouse, with a gate and for the most part not so friendly neighbors.  The problem started, when I trusted a builder to follow my construction plans, and he did not.  He cheated out on absolutely everything, changed my floor plan without my permission and totally changed the feel of the house.  When I moved back to Washington, I lost money on my townhouse in Carlsbad and did not have a job.  I did not have a job for over a year, so making changes was not in the budget.

When I married about six years ago, after being single for over twenty years, it was an adjustment using a home designed for one person for the two people now living in it.  After about five years, we decided to make the changes you see featured in this article. This is the second home I’ve had featured in a magazine.  My 1998 home on Wing Point, Bainbridge Island was featured as home of the year in Seattle Home & Lifestyle Magazine.  They are very different homes, as that was designed for myself and my three teenage sons.

https://wshg.net

Art in Residence

In the hands of Mike and Diana Kingsley, home is a canvas.

Art in ResidenceWhen it comes to interior design, Diana Bennett Wirtz Kingsley wrote the book. Really. An artist and holder of a master’s degree in interior design, Kingsley authored “Hand Drafting for Interior Design” during her years of teaching at the Art Institute of Seattle. The book is a popular text in a hundred colleges across the country and abroad.

When not authoring textbooks, she is a whirlwind of creative energy. The artist-author fills her semi-retirement with painting, sewing, cooking and photography, as well as her beautifully visual cooking and commentary blog.

Art in Residence - Diana and Mike Kingsley
Diana and Mike Kingsley

Considering this surplus of interests, Kingsley was just the woman for job when the time came to plan a new residence. As the last of her three sons graduated from Bainbridge High School, the designer started the search for a home site on the Kitsap Peninsula. In 2005, she found just what she was looking for in Kingston.

Art in Residence“I had no idea where I wanted to live until I saw this property,” she says. “There was the beach and this fabulous view. I just wanted to walk on the sand.”

Set on the shore of Apple Tree Cove, the lot looks across broad tide flats to the Kingston Cove Marina and the comings and goings of the Kingston-Edmonds ferry. Flocks of sea birds ride the waves and ospreys float in the sky. Changing weather alternately mists distant docks and glints sunbeams off passing boats. Kingsley was enchanted. She knew she’d found the one.

Kingsley also knew who would design her home. She would. First of all, the house would take advantage of the view over two stories. Deep porches on both levels would be roomy enough for dining and reclining. Finally, the master suite would occupy the entire upper floor.

Art in ResidenceFor Kingsley, the design was the easy part. The tough part was acting as her own contractor. The foundation was barely dry before she made a temporary move to California. By the time she returned for a visit, the work was nearly wrapped up. Except some of it wasn’t per agreement, including the kitchen appliances.

Disappointed but undeterred, Kingsley moved in and moved on with life. The next few years brought good things, chief among them her future husband, Mike. As the newlyweds settled into the Kingston house, Diana and Mike Kingsley found creative compatibility.

Art in Residence“I design things and my husband makes them happen,” she says. “He’s very handy.”

“So far I have a 2-to-1 ratio of projects desired to projects completed,” Mike Kingsley replies, smiling at his indefatigable wife.

Considering the couple’s combined talents, what happened next was inevitable. They gutted the house and began a complete remodel.

“We ripped everything out and loaded it in dumpsters,” Diana Kingsley recalls.

Art in ResidenceAfter 12 years in residence, she knew what she wanted to rise from the metaphoric ashes of the original house. She wanted a look that was beachy, low-key and comfortable. Kingsley wanted muted colors to reflect what the eye sees outside Puget Sound windows for more than 300 cloudy days a year. She wanted an understated carbon-gray exterior with orange accents. Mostly, she wanted people to stay out of her kitchen.

Kingsley makes no apologies for being the queen of her kitchen. She loves to cook. She also loves to entertain. An invitation to dinner with the Kingsleys is a recipe for a most appetizing evening. Kingsley needed a kitchen worthy of her talents.

Art in ResidenceThen the designer had an inspiration. What if her real-life project became a lesson for her students at the art institute? Kingsley invited 30 students to her home to plan 30 individual redesigns. One of the plans was an eye-opener.

“A student suggested getting rid of the kitchen island and making the kitchen u-shaped,” she says.

Kingsley realized this new configuration was just what she wanted. It would keep guests from wandering underfoot while she cooked but allow them to keep her company on stools on the far side of the counter.

Art in ResidenceWith this as the basis of her new kitchen, Kingsley added view windows and new cabinets, upgraded the appliances and chose new flooring. Her husband saw to it that her dream pot rack became reality. A new color scheme paired soft-gray walls with crisp-white cabinetry. Granite installed by Grandy Marble and Tile of Kingston added visual movement to the otherwise peaceful presentation. The result is a casually elegant cooking center that reads like a sigh of relief at the end of a hectic day.

Art in ResidenceJust off the kitchen, the couple added two small rooms tucked behind roller-mounted barn doors: the bead-boarded utility room and a pantry. The red-and-white pantry highlights Kingsley’s evolved sense of order with rows of spices and teas neatly labeled with her husband’s label maker, a device that she adores.

Art in ResidenceOf course, for a designer, the furnishings are as important as the layout. Kingsley loves the clean, classic lines of the 1970s. Examples of these in the Kingsleys’ home are the retro upholstered metal stools that Mike Kingsley had cut down to fit the kitchen counter. The home also boasts a Platner table and see-through Lucite “ghost” chairs. In contrast to these streamlined pieces is Mike’s handsome, 1907 Estey grand piano that holds sway in the living room with the good-natured solidity of Winston Churchill at an artist’s colony.

Finding the perfect wall art was no problem for Kingsley, a skilled artist whose paintings and drawings are shown and sold at Interiors of Edmonds. Whatever the theme or size needed for her own rooms, she retired to her backyard studio and created it herself. Recently, her works lean toward big, bold abstracts.

Art in ResidenceAs handy with a sewing machine as a paintbrush, Diana changed out all of the living room fabrics. In the bedrooms, Mike cut the wooden headboard forms and she upholstered them in heavy silk tapestry and made pillows to match.

Both of the Kingsleys are happy in their home at the beach. He enjoys the short walk to the Kingston ferry. She is learning to live retired by the shore of what she describes as a 12-hour-a-day waterfront, meaning there’s always something to see, from raccoons and herons to paddle-boarders and that kid who had to leave his boots behind in the calf-deep mud of the tide flat.

As Mike Kingsley points out, their home is a work in progress. Yet, in the hands of a woman who admits she’s “too hyper to be a good retiree,” there’s no doubt it will all come together.

“People ask me, ‘How do you get it all done?’” Diana Kingsley says with a shrug. “How do I not?”

To read Diana Bennett Wirtz Kingsley’s cooking and commentary blog, go to www.kingstoncovestudio.wordpress.com.

There are still a few more things we hope to add to the home.  Last week we finished a deck by the beach and are awaiting Orange Polywood Adirondack chairs to complete the look.  We will be adding privacy panels on one end of the deck and an outdoor fireplace on the other.
Next summer we plan to just enjoy it all!
West Sound Home & Garden Magazine

Home of my Interior Design Client

Van Buskirk

Over the course of about two years, we totally redesigned my friend’s house.  She loves it and is the best client.  Our last task was to select colors for the exterior and for her door.  Benjamin Moore HC 45 for the exterior and bright aqua for the front door.  The house looks great.  It is so heart-warming when things come together and everyone is happy.

Home of my Interior Design Client

Hats off to a New Beginning

Turd

Sometimes we just have to start over.  When going back into real estate a few months ago, I joined a “team” where I thought I would comfortable.  I thought I would be just selling homes and strictly working with buyers. I love all of it, but working with people is the best part of real estate.  You get to meet people from all walks of life.

I am a happy, but calm person and loud explanations just don’t resonate well with me.  I discovered that discussions in this manner no longer worked in my life, so I have taken off the hat of a team, pictured above and moved on to do my own thing in my own happy and calm manner.

Diana Goddess update

The umbrella is gone and I am going to have a great time “out in the rain” growing my real estate and interior design business.  Hopefully people will understand and appreciate the benefits that come from working with not only an experienced real estate broker with high ethical standards, but with a professionally experienced interior designer.

Having designed and built four homes for myself and as spec homes, I understand the process of building and construction.  Having designed those homes from the ground up I know what it takes to make a space work. Teaching for eight years at The Art Institute of Seattle helped me learn how to share knowledge with other people.  Publishing a book taught me organizational skills beyond the norm.  (Please check out “Drafting for Interior Design” at Amazon and many other sources.)  Working with clients the first thing I always remember is listen to what they want, not what I want.

Not only as an interior designer, but as an artist the proper use of color fascinates me and would love to help my clients work beyond the colors you see in so many homes to one that sings to them.

So here I go and here is the first post card I will be sending out to anyone and everyone I can think of.  Please send your address to me at kingstoncove.studio@gmail.com if you would like to be on my mailing list.

Postcard Front OnePostcard one back

Cheers to new beginnings!

And by the way every client buying or selling a property with me will receive a original hand drawn for you from your favorite angle of your new or old home so you have it for loving memories.  Here is one I recently sent to Australia.

Hungerland finished

Hats off to a New Beginning

Art Show at ChocMo in Poulsbo

IMG_6337 IMG_6338 IMG_6339 IMG_6340 IMG_6341 IMG_6342 IMG_6344Art Show at ChocMo in Poulsbo

Along with opening my first ever Vintage Renew booth at Red Plantation in Poulsbo, I hung a rather large Art Show at ChocMo in Poulsbo the next morning.

Please stop by for coffee, lunch or dinner and of course Chocolate and enjoy the show. I have were abstracts and some older Impressionistic work with a few pencil drawings there. It made me think I need to get back to my easel.

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