I had the privilege today of spending a day at the award winning and fabulous John Croft Design office. Man, it was so good! Firstly I'd like to say what a lovely bunch of people that work in this office, but more than that some really skilled and talented interior designers. Everyone was so accommodating and helpful and forthcoming with sharing experiences and wisdom about the industry. The newest person there I think started 5 years ago, which is a testament to the type of workplace it is. I was really impressed. After hearing John speak at TAFE college, I was so keen to learn more about how things work at his business. I have great respect for someone who can run a successful business for so long, and he was very humble and honest about his experiences and love for creating beautiful homes for people to be happy in. So, I wanted to let him know all that, and today I helped out on a few bits and pieces which gave me a practical opportunity seeing the day to day of the design industry. Here are some of my insights.
I gleaned great knowledge in the process of a job, by helping out with putting together final specification documents. This part is SO important. If you can't correctly draft your drawings, and give the accurate information about what finish is going where, there is a high chance your design will not come out the way you are seeing it in your head. The specification documents are like the manual. You've got to write a good manual so that your creation comes to life.
It was so great to get out into an apartment one of the designers is working on. Midway through cabinetry construction, finishes and tiling, I got to see how things are coming together and the tradies in action. I think it's so important to have that relationship with the tradespeople you are using. On this job there was a minor issue with the installation of the toilet cistern, and this could easily be worked through because the relationship was good. I think you've really just got to know your stuff when it comes to construction and installation. This will come with time, but in every experience there is always lots to learn, so being open and able to compromise with your builder is going to get you far.
Fabrics and stains
I had the pleasure of meeting a fabric rep too. She was fabulous. She knows the designers and what their work is like, so can bring products to suit, and introduced new ones. She has spent many years in the industry, and anecdotal conversations led to me having new knowledge about some fabrics. For example, did you know that viscose is actually made from wood pulp? And its not a good idea to scotch guard it, because it will show up with lines and drip marks.
Also, be aware of things like light fittings being rested on carpet. One of the designers had a nightmare issue, where the electrician had left a light fitting on the carpet while he did some work, and it made a stain. Then trying to clean the stain made worse stains, and by the time they got it cleaned, the other carpet was more downtrodden than the newly cleaned carpet and the whole lot had to all be done fresh. People pay good money to have their interiors well designed and immaculately presented, so it's got to be just right!
John Croft's signature is accessorising. I helped out putting together some flower arrangements for a big job they have to finish next week. The accessories are offered as part of the interior design service, some people take it up, some don't, but what fun it is looking around in the office at all the amazing objects! Lamps and vases, flowers and busts, fabrics and tiles, there is endless creativity in the dressing of a space and the designers at John Croft Design do it so well. Plenty of colour, pattern and bold choices!
There are so many things that cannot be learnt from the classroom. I love being in a busy and active office, hearing stories and experiences about the types of things that happen in the real interior design world. From the frustrations of not being able to find the right tile to match existing ones, to the pleasure and satisfaction of handing over the keys once a job is complete. I am itching to do more, learn more and start creating amazing spaces too.