Susan Van Meter
Why I am an Interior Designer...
When I was a child, I used to spend Saturday afternoons with my grandparents watching old Hollywood movies from the '30s and '40s. I was mesmerized by the fashion and glamorous interiors.
This definitely planted the seed for my love of Art Deco and glamour.
I come from a hardworking family and one that loved their food and dining out. So eating at lovely restaurants was part of growing up in restaurants with nice interiors, well, nice for the '60 and '70s! All of these experiences build and form you as an adult - some good and some not-so-good!
I was super close to my grandmother; we would sit and paint together and visit antique shops; she spoilt me terribly, but also influenced me by nurturing my creative side. She suggested I paint pottery on porcelain as a career when I grew up - bless her.
So I end up at art college, where I was juggling a part-time modeling career and studying for my design degree (God, I disliked modeling all that prodding and preening)
My move toward interiors was a natural progression after I landed my first job at Liberty of London, in the Modern Furniture and Interiors department. It is a beautiful historic building, but also a leader in modern design classics. I was inspired by the creativeness, glamour, and gorgeousness of it all!
I guess I was starstruck because of the old movies, the fashion, the interiors, the elegance of it all. Being surrounded by beautiful things was very much part of what I create.
At the total opposite end of the spectrum, as well as creating beautiful interiors, I enjoy working on building sites, getting stuck into the detail, and problem-solving that comes with putting an interior together. I always tell people that are interested in a career in interior design to work on a building site first that way you'll get to understand the basic terms and have some sort of construction knowledge. (* I secretly enjoy tool shops too, maybe it's the order and repetitiveness of seeing the tools lined up - love it!)
I also like to organize, create and deliver. I like to solve problems, and I like to help people.
Deep down, helping people is what it's all about for me.
I'm pretty sure this is because my family was in a service industry themselves; you observe and pick up certain characteristics when you are a child.
Did you know, humans spend as much as 90% of their day in a man-made built environment, around 50% in our homes. Therefore an interior designer's job is super important. Designing a space that is safe, healthy, and meets all of our needs is crucial to our wellbeing - it's not just about filling it with stuff that looks nice.
I am proud to help others by creating beautifully healthy homes for both residential and commercial property owners.
I have been very lucky and privileged to work on some exciting interiors around the world, that includes the Ambassadorial residence in Rome, hotels in Japan, spas, corporate offices, golf clubhouses, and even designed a Theme Park! I am truly grateful for those opportunities.
See the image of a Private Health Club in Kensington I interior designed and managed many years ago - I loved this project. 💚
My advice to an aspiring interior designer is the following:
✴︎ Get an education within interior design of some kind, although there are many interior designers that have none and have learned through mistakes and experience.
✴︎ Do an apprenticeship on a building site for a short while.
✴︎ Surround yourself with good tradespeople, you can't be an expert about everything.
✴︎ Don't be afraid to ask if you don't know.
✴︎ Work towards a niche within interior design where you will be viewed as The specialist in that particular field.
✴︎ Understand the basics of running a business especially if you plan to run your own company.
✴︎ Take your job seriously, it shouldn't be a hobby, become a member of an accredited organization, such as SBID or BIID.
✴︎ Keep your eyes and ears open and learn, learn, learn.
The qualities one needs to have to be a good designer is in another article I have written which you can read here.
👉If you would like more tips, hop over to my private Facebook group Green & Glam
You can always contact me using this link if you would like more information on the products or principles mentioned in this article.
We are always looking out for companies manufacturing sustainable products to add to our preferred supplier list. If you would like to be considered, please contact me here.