As an interior designer, Kristina Phillips has learned the ins and outs of making a space both beautiful and functional. In this interview, she discusses her design process, what inspires her, and how she ensures that each project meets the needs of her clients. She also offers advice for those who are considering hiring an interior designer. If you’re curious to know more about interior design, then this is the post for you!
Hi Kristina, thank you for accepting our interview invitation. How did you start working in the industry? Who is your biggest inspiration?
I started my career in the Interior Design industry officially in 2017 after finishing the New York School of Interior Design program, but have forever been dabbling with helping friends with their design needs as well as completely renovating my own home. I felt like I needed the formal education under my belt to truly embark on a design career – it gave me the confidence to start charging my worth. As for inspiration – it is not really a ‘who’, but more a ‘what’.
Growing up internationally gave me exposure to so many different types of homes, styles, and designs – from my grandmother’s house in northern Sweden, filled with antiques and embroidered linens, to our condo in the Bahamas, with white tile, white paint, white everything! Our house in the south of France was Mediterranean through and through – from the terracotta flooring to the provincial fabrics and stucco walls. Regardless of place, every home told our story, while still being true to the area’s vernacular.
We’re interested in learning more about what you do. How would you describe your work?
I would describe my work as layered, customized, and vibrant, but most of all interesting. My goal in every project is to pull the story out of the client.
Where do they like to go? What brings them joy? Sometimes it’s as simple as incorporating a game table in their family room – or having a painting commissioned from where they honeymooned – there is no “one formula fits all” in my approach.
What has been the most rewarding part of working in the interior design industry?
There is no better feeling than finishing a few rooms or an entire home and having your client absolutely fall in love with the spaces. It gives me so much joy to tap into how my client wants to feel in their home – and deliver that message successfully.
Have you ever had to work with someone who was really difficult to please when it came to interior design?
I have learned that everyone has a different approach to working with designers, and it takes some clients time to let go a bit and trust my vision. I am patient, and am focused on finding a solution to whatever the issue is. I have been lucky, as most of my clients and I have gelled from the get go – something I don’t take for granted.
When it comes to interior design, do you prefer to take risks or play it safe? Do you think there’s a standard for what constitutes good interior design?
Taking risks all depends on my client. I do like to add some unexpected elements to a space – like installing handcrafted ceramic butterflies above a fireplace, or a bold wallpaper in a powder room. Paint is an easy way to bring in some drama without too much risk. The only rule I like to follow is that of managing scale. Nothing says poor design like furniture that is too big (or small) and patterns that compete, not compliment.
What are some of the biggest mistakes people make when redesigning their homes?
Measure your space! Draw your room on graph paper and place in the furniture to scale before you buy – and make sure it can fit inside doors! Also, test your paint color with a few coats on all 4 walls – it always dries much darker than the first coat.
You have a lot of experience under your belt. Do you have any advice for someone who is just starting out in the home improvement industry?
Learn as much as you can about a few things at first, and ask a million questions. There are so many steps in each process, that it really pays to slow down and triple check every detail. Also, get a good bookkeeper because so much time is spent dealing with finances that it pays to have someone else handle that side of the business.
Can you share your top design tip to our readers?
Paint the crown molding the same color as the walls, but in a different finish, like semi-gloss. It not only makes your ceiling appear higher, but takes away that visual band around the room for a more modern feel.
The interview with Kristina Phillips should be a helpful resource for those who are considering hiring an interior designer. It offers a glimpse into what it’s like to work as one, the design process they employ, and their creative inspirations.