Monday, October 24, 2016

Job-Shadowing an Interior Designer

 I spent most of one day this week job-shadowing my friend Sherri Cassara on one of her interior design projects. I have often seen homes she has done when finished but never during the stages of development. We drove down Pacific Coast highway at 7:30 in the morning

to reach the job site, a beautiful property located a couple of blocks from the beach on the Balboa Peninsula.  The two story house a complete remodel should be ready for furnishings in late November.  That’s hard for me to imagine.  

 I   enter to a houseful of workers scurrying around placing dry wall and mixing plaster amidst so much hammering and carrying things to and fro,  upstairs and down it feels rather like a mad three ring circus.

 Incredulously a worker walking on stilt-like extensions  walks up the stairs and works on a ceiling.  A busy and fascinating scene. 

Workers outside too and in every bathroom each doing what needed to be done. 

Meanwhile the architect and general contractor are meeting with Sherri while they face-time the client who lives in Wyoming. I can’t even imagine this long distance planning but knowing Sherri I realize there is tremendous trust between the two women. Choices are being made on paint colors for exterior and interior walls, doors , colors to paint the garden gate to match exterior tiles, the sheen of the paint for the cabinetry and whether to have a rough or smooth texture on treatment for the wooden floors. etc.  There has been a constant dialog from the beginning, an understanding of what look, feel the client wants. My head is spinning with all the decisions that need to be made and the work Sherri has done to provide the choices of each to her client. We go upstairs where boxes upon boxes need to be inventoried. 

I help Sherri in the most limited of ways. She generously deems me her “assistant” for the day. I watch as she opens box after box of things she has ordered: lighting fixtures for the entry, sconces for the walls, door knobs, shelving, every single object that fills a home down to drain covers. She then marks where this object needs to be places so that the contractor can do his installation. 

We go outside to match paint samples. The owner would like the exterior painted white but she favors the white like the house three doors down so I hold up paint samples in the sunlight. My goodness I never knew there were so many shades of white! This home is located on a lovely Rose bush lined bath with charming two story homes on either side. 

The home now is bare bones to me. I cannot envision except for the “mood boards” that Sherri makes up to help her client see. Simultaneously as the interior of the house walls are being torn down and rebuilt the interior designer also is working with the client on furnishings. After several hours on site we then go to an interior furnishings store the client has visited. She has seen two chairs she likes for her mostly black and white kitchen. Sherri then incorporates these two chairs onto the “mood” board with the other items to be placed in the kitchen to better help the client see how the chairs work.

 A second board with two velvet purple chairs they are considering is also sent. 

This is how decisions are made much of the time for  a client that lives far away. Anyway a fascinating day and a real eye-opener for me.  I now have a better idea of what an interior designer’s job is like. Well maybe one aspect. Thanks Sherri! What a great learning experience. You are amazing! 

 Relaxing after a busy morning. A mini break for this busy, creative woman.

I was so happy to be Sherri's "assistant" for the day.

 Lunch break at "The Counter" in Newport Beach

Home via Pacific Coast Highway.

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