Breaking news and resources from across the industry.


Transform your space for the most dazzle—and the fewest dollars.


Rainier Custom Homes Interviews Interior Designers

Posted on Mar 23, 2017 in:
  • Remodel
  • Homeowners

By Megan Pardi, Rainier Custom Homes

Q: When it comes to the interior design of your home, where do you begin your planning?

A: Can you envision what could be, like a transparent overlay set upon the picture of your current spaces? Don't feel bad if your visionary skills are stunted; most people have a hard time imagining how the transformation of a room layout can improve traffic flow and functionality, let alone learning how the use of color, pattern, texture, lighting, and furniture can better define and even anchor interior spaces for better living. Perhaps some element of your home is simply non-functional or outdated, to the point that you must make improvements.

Seeking out designer expertise and guidance can help you achieve a brilliant outcome with your home remodel! When your next custom project looms on the horizon, think through and consider the following counsel from three of Rainier Custom Homes' most active interior design partners:

Beverly Bradshaw
Interior Designer
Beverly Bradshaw Interiors
Beverly's Houzz profile

Gail Monica Dent
Interior Designer
Provanti Designs
Gail's Houzz profile

Gwen Dumont
Interior Designer
ID by Gwen
Gwen's Houzz profile

Build an Idea Collage Board and Ask Why

Gwen: "During the initial meeting, I always ask my clients to do some homework by creating and sharing with me an idea book on Houzz or a board on Pinterest where they gather photos of style, color palettes, textures, feeling, etc.—what they like and do not like. I do prefer Houzz since it is easier to add comments."

Gail: "I always ask clients why they want to remodel. It is so easy to assume the reason, so it is most enlightening when you hear their actual response. Their answer gives me the initial basis upon which to proceed. I love it when clients pull together idea books in Houzz or create a Pinterest board and, of course, there are always the time-honored pages torn from a magazine. At the first meeting, we always build a list of the goals and objectives to guide us through the design process; it helps to keep from getting lost amongst all the selections and decisions."

A Great Designer Will Listen to and Show You

An affinity and fit between homeowner and project team is the biggest boon of any project! Yes, great design and project success is achieved with detailed planning, documentation, and execution. How much happier is the outcome when you resonate and connect with your design-build team and experience a trusting relationship?

Gwen: "I am very visual and a good listener. Once clients share with me their idea collage boards and I thoroughly review them, I have a perfect understanding of what they want."

Gail: "Technology now provides the ability to create 3D images that are pretty realistic. Renderings are invaluable in representing all the key aspects of good design while addressing the client's goals and objectives, space planning, focal points, colors, styling, perspectives, relationships, coordination, and creativity. A rendering is a fabulous tool to help validate whether that sparkly Art Deco chandelier you love in the catalog is appropriate for your space (or not).

Will an existing element continue to be a feature in your new design?

Is there a key feature, like a view window, fireplace, an important piece of furniture or artwork that you plan to maintain for the project?

Beverly: "I start with an area rug or the larger pieces if I'm doing furniture. If it is a remodel or new construction I start with the pieces such as flooring, cabinets, and countertops first and build from there based on the client's likes."

Gail: "Usually with a remodel project, the client wants a clean sweep—all new. If the home has a view, that drives many of the decisions for the room as the view becomes the main attraction. I always ask—what item(s) are you most interested in becoming the focal point—granite, cabinets, fixtures, art? Interestingly enough, many have not thought about this and we spend time chatting about ways to create focal points. Having too many focal points is a common mistake; people are drawn to what they like in each individual selection, but may not think about how all the selections look and interact together. We start by establishing a primary design element to ground the project and work from there to creatively support it."

This, That, or the Other: the Beauty of Threes

Designer consensus is that you should expect that interior designers will typically bring you two to three selections to determine your final options during the planning phase of your project. This rule of threes can help keep clients from being overwhelmed amidst countless choices.

Beverly: "I like to have everything selected and ready to order before project construction begins. This helps ensure that all material lead times are included within the project schedule and helps to minimize change orders during construction, which helps to keep the project within budget, too."

Project Endurance

Best advice for clients during the project?

Beverly: "Anticipate a lot of visitors to the project. Patience is the key along with trust that your project team is working to complete the job to your satisfaction."

Gwen: "Stay focused and continue to collaborate with the team. I always tell my clients that there is no ONE design solution to create a beautiful space. However, the solutions are more limited when it comes to creating a space that will answer their personal needs. Once we agree on one design, I like clients to stay focused on the design and stop looking for other things they may also like. I would also encourage them to speak out (earlier the better) if they have some doubts about certain aspects of the project. I like things to be spoken out among the team."

Best Outcomes

What makes a designer happy when a project ends?

Beverly: "Working with a great contractor, producing an amazing custom build or remodel, and working with the nicest clients with great taste is the perfect project!"

Beverly's portfolio

Gail: "A smooth, successful project is dependent upon the team the client has hired and the tools the team engages. The best outcomes are reached by finding the best team, which is the first and most important step. Expertise and project management capabilities in planning, services, organization, problem solving, and communication from start to finish are key!"

Gail's portfolio

Gwen: "Design-wise, the ideal outcome with a great project occurs when form follows function! I get great satisfaction when clients come to me several weeks or months later and say that their new spaces are beautiful and a perfect match to their lifestyle. And if during the conversations there is no "but" or "what if" it means that the all team did great!"

Gwen's portfolio

Homeowners Blog Categories

Browse our expert-driven guides and resources.