Friday, January 27, 2012

Designer Profiles: Veronica Lawrence

When did you become interested in interior design?
I've always been interested in interior design and having my home function well. I love color and fabrics and enjoy putting together color palettes that offer self expression. I graduated with an associates degree in interior design early 2007 from IDI in Newport Beach. While at college I worked for Ethan Allen as a designer, completing 100s of projects for clients, many of these clients are still with me today.

What would you say is your design style? Your niche?
I really don't believe in "niche" deisgning but I can say that I don't relate to very formal traditional styles - why would you want to live in an environment that belongs in past centurys? Today's scheduled and busy lifestyles look to interior design to provide well functioning and livable spaces that can adapt to the growing or aging family . Rooms that are more comfortable and show some personality with texture and color. Some traditional furnishing could work in such an environment and give a depth and dimention to the room.

What is your style mantra?
The complete room, a room that makes you smile as you enter, you'll love being there.

What inspired you to be a part of the ASID Dream Home?
I responded to the call for designers by going to the first meeting. I felt it was a wonderful opportunity to design a room with my own concept and ideas. Usually when working with a client I will discover what they want in a design and create the concept around their design asthetic.

How are you incorporating universal design into your room?
I'm very much in favor of universal design as it's clear that clients plan to live in their homes for many years - boomers don't want to give up their independance and move to communities for the aged. They are more inclined to adapt their home through re-model to accommodate their needs as they age. The master bedroom has a good flow and function, it's a retreat for the couple. I've incorporated comfort and ease of use - the window shades and lighting are remote controlled, with a push of a button, the shades open or close and the light fixtures can be turned off/on/dimmed. The floors are level and firm to allow for easy walking/wheelchair/non slip. Chairs and sofa are custom made for easy rise to accommodate someone with limited strength.

Where do you look for inspiration, whether it be design or style?
For me, inspiration can come from many things. The color palette was a given for this project but in a broad sense. I searched first for fabrics to design the custom bedding, it's like a color and texture puzzle (designing bedding) and this gave me inspiration. The grays and greens of the palette started to come together - silver emerged as a strong accent for the room. I woke up one night thinking of a wall covering for the bed wall, that morning I was so excited to go searching for the pattern I wanted, I found it! I want the room to be calm and scerene but also I brought in accents of fuschia to lift the colors.

What is your best design tip?
For clients wanting to redesign their home, work on one room and complete the room before moving to the next space. Many time people thing a new sofa and chairs will change the room but these pieces are the foundation of the design. The secret is in the accents and investing in the complete room design.

We all run into problems doing design work. Can you tell me about a headache you had and how you resolved it?
Recently a worked with a client on the re-model of his kitchen. Things were going smoothly, all the contractors were on board and I wanted to put together a timeline for installations. I soon discovered the cabinetry vendor stalling on their given timeline. My general contractor hired/recommended the cabinetry vendor and he also began to avoid my calls. I visited the cabinet vendor without an appointment to discover the problem - they had too much work to meet their deadline. We came to a compromize to help out the client for the short term by building a temporary sink in his unfinished kitchen. I stayed on top of the situation and communicated effectively with the client. Once back on track, all installations were done smoothly and the client gave me a bonus 50% additionl fee for handling the problems in a professional way.

What is your proudest moment to date?
My proudest moment in design happens when the design I've visualized and created comes together and is complete... and looks great! It's very fulfilling and the client is so happy. I worked with a client a couple of years ago to remodel his business office space, he was both inspired and inspiring to work with and gave me freedom to explore, the result is so great that I visit from time to time, just to get another look. Oh how I love that office!
Any advice to aspiring designers?ny advice to aspiring designers?
Listen to your clients, ask questions to discover what they really want. Most times they don't know so you must ask good questions of both husband and wife - they never think alike! Design for the client not yourself.

Anything else you'd like to add?
Never leave a client unhappy, resolve all issues that come up during the project as quickly and professionally as possible. If you intend managing your own business, be sure to understand the business side of Interior Design - making a profit is important to growing your business. Create a business plan as a living working document, it's the "road map" for growing your business.

You can find and contact Veronica here: