July 26, 2011

Tamara Magel's New York City Design Shop is One to Watch

A few weeks ago I was invited on a tour of Tamara Magel's home design shop in New York City's Soho area and couldn't have been more thrilled. She's so fun and down to earth and we had a lovely time chatting about so many things, including how to find your calling in life, her design philosophy and even summer decorating (she's a fan of simple furniture coupled with rugs and pillows in bold colors).

Tamara started her career in finance, but always had a passion for interior design, which she says was fueled by the many antique shopping trips she took with her mother as a child. She worked as an interior designer for 10 years and finally opened her shop in January. Tamara draws inspiration from the many colors and patterns that defined the 60s and has a special affinity for fabrics hailing from Morocco and India, which are my personal favorites as well.

Her shop contains the perfect mix of European and modern home accessories and furniture, and she's slated to release a line of textiles in the fall. If you're ever in the area, I highly suggest you pay a visit. You won't be disappointed.

July 22, 2011

Eye Candy from Paris

Earlier this week, I traveled to Paris for the second time and stumbled upon the cutest cafe, where I had everything from beignets to pizza. Words can't express how delicious the food was there, and the decor made it that much more of a treat. Here are a few pics I snapped:  

July 8, 2011

What I Learned from My First Decorating Client Meeting

I landed my very first decorating client a few weeks ago. Of course, I couldn't have been happier to hear the news, but at the same time, I was somewhat (OK more than somewhat) nervous because this is all new territory for me. It made me think of a few pointers, which may be helpful for some of you in the same position:

1. Be prepared. Before meeting with your client, try reading up on his or her background to get a sense of their personality and lifestyle. You should've already spoken about the project at hand before meeting face to face, so take some time to think about different decorating themes the person may like and even some of the sources you may use for shopping. It's always a good idea to brainstorm beforehand to maintain your creativity level.

2. Professionalism goes a long way. The hardest part was scoring the meeting, but the work doesn't stop there. You need to deliver. By deliver I mean being punctual (so very important), well dressed and showing up to your appointment with a ton of ideas for possible design schemes that may work for the client. You also need to be able to clearly convey your overall approach to decorating, which you should've even already discussed prior to this meeting. It's the reason why you were hired in the first place.

3. Ask all the right questions. This is the time to find out absolutely everything you need to know about this person's lifestyle: what they like and don't like about their current set-up, the kind of pets they have, how they use the space on a daily basis, a description of their decorating style, the budget you'll be working with, etc.

4. Listen, listen, listen. It's crucial to listen closely while your client is explaining their needs. The worst thing would be to misinterpret what was said, so to help avoid any mistakes, consider taking notes during the conversation as a backup.

5. Set clear expectations. Be clear on everything from money matters to the decorating schedule. The key is keeping the line of communication wide open so that all involved aren't faced with any big surprises during the decorating process that could prevent it from running smoothly.

Photo: The Glamourai