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Understanding the Interior Design Process: An Interview with Joan Duncan of Creatrix LLC

By Joan Duncan

Tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

I began my own interior design business, Creatrix, 25 years ago shortly after graduating from Rhode Island School of Design. I operate from a very strong sense of design and seeing the project as a whole instead of the sum of its parts. For my clients, I provide anything from new home design to elements such as additions, kitchen renovation, lighting design, furniture design, window coverings, color choices -- the list continues.

What's one of the most important things you do when you first meet with a homeowner about a new interior design project?

The most important first step is to listen. I enjoy asking questions to help illuminate our steps. I agree with Frank Lloyd Wright's statement: "There should be as many types of homes as there are types of people, for it is individuality of the occupants that should give character and color to a building."

What are the range of options for clients who want to work with an interior designer?

Clients may work with me in a number of ways. For example a one or two hour consult for a smaller budget to the homeowner(s) looking for a whole house renovation. I present design options they might have been unaware of, which opens up a world of possibilities not necessarily expensive.

How does working with an interior designer help homeowners with access to the resources they need?

Although home decorations can be changed, the process of having a room or home designed takes a lot of work and resources. I see myself as my clients' advocate, as well as a facilitator of their dreams. After more than a decade of working in Northern New Mexico, I have trusted resources such as artisans, tradesmen (and tradeswomen!) and manufacturers available to my clients. I have done the vetting so they don't have to learn the hard way how to complete a successful project.

How do you help people balance what they want their home to look like with their budget?

Part of the joy of our almost limitless array of options in design is culling a few choices that resonate with my clients. For example, when I am helping revitalize a living room, I provide three price level selections for say a chair - one from a wholesale vendor, another from an online source a third from a consignment shop. This helps people prioritize the amount they want to spend while bringing their aesthetic vision into focus.

What do interior designers do to make sure their clients are happy with the end result?

I strive to create a supportive environment within each client relationship where decisions are made with plenty of time and information. I also document every decision made during the project and encourage the client to do the same. That way both parties know exactly what to expect during each phase of the project. I also say "call me for any reason" because communication is the key to any successful project.

What's the best way for people to contact you and your company?

I can be reached on the web directly at joan@acreatrix.com. My landline # is 575.751.3030 and cell is 575.770.4252.

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