why i became an interior designer

I get asked this question all the time! And seriously, I’ve never have a good answer because I’ve never actually thought about. It felt as though it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Until I went back and searched my life history and experiences did I understand the real reason why I became an interior designer.

My childhood homes were always neat and tidy, practical and functional. Perhaps the product of my parents having 9 children demanded that order take precidence over everything else. I remember thinking though it all works really well but why can’t it look good as well? OMG, the audicity! But, I have to say, even though that thought was naieve and didn’t take anything else into consideration, it never left me. I’ve always been drawn to beautiful things, whether it be nature, arts and crafts, cooking, or the home, I always want it to be both functional and practical as well as beautiful.

When I was in my mid twenties, I moved to a farm on the Mid North Coast. I loved the lifestyle but I hated that home. I knew it was a space that I didn’t want to be in. That house never felt like a home. I never felt comfortable in it. I didn’t really have any interest in spending a lot of time in it. Like a lot of rural properties, there were bad additions that didn’t make sense. The layout was terrible making the flow of the home so terrible that it just did my head in. That experience of living with that for some long is when I probably first started to take an interest in how design could impact the feeling that you have in a space. Because I was personally experiencing how bad design affects a person!

If I’m perfectly honest though, being able to articulate that now with the benefit of hindsight, with the benefit of training, with the benefit of working as an interior design professional, I now understand what I was struggling with when I lived in that home. And I was in that home for a good 8 or 9 years. Then I moved to a new place and this was a doozy! It was an empty shell with a concrete floor and roof and a besser block structure. You see, it was the ground floor of what was to be a two-story house. It was on a floodplain so there were reasons why the structure was the way it was. Renovating that shell was the beginning of my journey to becoming an interior designer. It was one of the most invigorating and exhilarating experiences I’d ever had. That feeling of being on a building site, that feeling of managing a project and bringing everything together was just unbelievable. After that, I went on to renovate another couple of houses and fell even more in love with the entire process. 

At the beginning I would buy every single magazine I could get my hands on and obsessively study every single image. I wanted to understand what made a space look that good. I wanted to know where they’d gotten that sofa, or tap, or tile or light fitting. I had so much tenacity and I would research for hours on end to find that perfect item I’d been looking for. I wouldn’t give up until I’d found it, and I’m still like that today!

It was the aesthetic, the furniture, the colours, the way you could create interest through your material selections, playing on scale, solving problems, understanding what makes a good layout. In the beginning it was all about the aesthetic, but the more I did, the more it became about how the space made you feel. This was what I’d been looking for and I’d finally found it!

Although I knew that I wanted to study and become a professional interior designer, I had no idea when that would happen for me or how I was going to make that happen. There were so many barriers in front of me, that I couldn’t really even see a future where I was working as an interior designer. All I could do was take one step at a time and know that eventually I would make it. If you want to read more about my journey to becoming an interior designer read here.

During those first few projects, I was working mainly from intuition. I wasn’t aware how I was building in functionality, how I was accommodating clearances, how I was designing the space and arranging the furniture to create good traffic flow. It just seemed to make sense and I went with it. I think my experiences of living in a home that was so poorly designed impacted me more than I understood. The way I was designing, I understand now, was placing emphasis on the functionality of the space whilst layering the aesthetic. Again, intuition was leading me here. I just knew I didn’t want these homes to end up like that crappy one I lived in for all of those years!   

When I knew that I wanted to share my passion with other homeowners is when I knew I’d have to train. And that was a scary idea! I hadn’t studied in over 10 years, I had to relocate to study and I had no idea if I actually had what it would take to be an interior designer. I wanted to be able to back up my intuition with a solid grounding and foundation to know that what I was creating for someone else would work. After all, I didn’t have the benefit of living with my creation to understand what mistakes I’d made. That intuition and tenacity I used when I was renovating my own home never left me and they’ve just strengthened over the years. My love for the unusual, the quirky, and above all the functional beauty that I can instill into a home has strengthened and become a key focus when I’m working with clients today. That initial excitement I felt when working on a building site all those years ago has never left me. I am still the weird one who thinks a building site is just the bees knees!

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