Wednesday, November 17, 2010

We-Design-Day: Design 101 – A Guide to Interior Design

In conjunction with the changes I’m working on trying to make to my blog, I’ve been working on a couple of serial articles to share. One of which is a regular, weekly feature on interior design. My hope is to provide anyone with an interest a kind of “insider’s look” at small scale design and renovation projects. I’d like to share my knowledge and experience and make it a true ‘how to’ so I can help demystify an interesting and very popular vocation.

My intent is to share some of the history and principals of interior design and work through the process of a project from beginning to end. Having worked in the field for many years, I can provide insight on the construction process, how to hire a designer and general contractor, what to do when things go wrong and how to make changes on the ‘fly’.

So over the coming weeks, my company, Blue Door Interiors, will be sponsoring the “We-Design-Day ” articles and I’ll take you through the entire process of a (small) renovation project from conception to completion. Along the way, I’ll provide some Design 101 education, answer any questions you have, provide free tips and ideas and I’m planning a give-a-way or two as well!

Without further adieu, let’s get We-Design-Day underway!

When I decided to quit my ‘day job’ and return to school, I was 26 years old. I’d spent my late teens and early 20’s in the retail and middle management jobs and I knew that wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life! I had the good fortune of being able to examine what I wanted to be when I “grew up” – I’d worked in a few different fields, had experience in what I liked (and didn’t like) and got to pick my profession. Most people don’t get that luxury so I am very thankful that my delinquent youth proved to be useful for something!

During my education and work experience, I’ve learned a lot about myself, my tastes, and my design style. I don’t follow fashion and I’m not a follower of trends. I firmly believe that the most appropriate solution for the problems I’ve faced in my career are generally the ones best suited to those who seek them.

And by that I mean it is certainly possible to design for today and accessorize with the latest trends and colours and I certainly can make your home look like the page of a magazine. But coupled with my love for interior design is a love for the environment and blending sustainable design with interior design for me go hand in hand – my first school project taught me that (I specified a compostable toilet, much to the horror of my professor)! I’m about function and form and reusing, reducing and even recycling when designing. We all want our homes to be a reflection of us and the way we live – good design can be attained by combining a good understanding of how a space functions and how the people who use the space live.

I’m about real design for real people.

This week, I’d like to share a few staple pieces of interior design information regarding the history, evolution and some definitions. My first year of design was tough. I’ve never memorized so many things in my life! Included in that memorization was the ‘definition’ of what Interior Design is… It only has changed a little bit from what I memorized and I see I’ve been ahead of my time as they now mention “sustainable design” in the definition.

Interior design is a multi-facet profession in which creative and technical solutions are applied within a structure to achieve a built interior environment. These solutions are functional, enhance the quality of life and culture of the occupants and are aesthetically attractive. Designs are created in response to and coordinated with the building shell and acknowledge the physical location and social context of the project. Designs must adhere to code and regulatory requirements and encourage the principles of environmental sustainability. The interior design process follows a systematic and coordinated methodology, including research, analysis and integration of knowledge into the creative process, whereby the needs and the resources of the client are satisfied to produce and interior space the fulfills the project cools. Interior design includes a scope of services performed by a professional design practitioner, qualified by means of education, experience and examination, to protect and enhance the health, life safety and welfare of the public. Definition provided by the NCIDQ (National Council for Interior Design Qualification) NCIDQ

To find where “interior design” and “interior decoration” started, one must look a long way back in time… One could say it even started when the first people furnished their caves with pelts and painted the walls, although pelts were functional and the paintings area theorized to be everything from trance drawings by Shaman to methods of communication, it still improved the interior living spaces. When the first peoples started building shelter for themselves, it all began to take form. At that time, however, the exterior and the interior were thought of in unison and as “one” space. As we (man) evolved from grass huts, the building envelope (the exterior of the buildings) strongly influenced the interior shape and function of an area.

The common use of the term “Interior Design” was not accepted into popular use until after the Second World War. Prior to the Second World War, and only really dating back to the late 1800’s, the design of an interior was often encapsulated within the architecture of the building as a whole. Any application to interiors was commonly referred to as interior decoration and specifically regarded only the application of surface ornamentation, colour, furnishings and accessories.

After WWII, a divide began to take place between the ornamentation of a space and how the space worked. This split is where the shape of Interior Design truly began to emerge as a valid and respected part of the built environment (and more than just throw pillows and wall paper).

But today, throw pillows and wall paper are all still a part of it! But I think that’s enough information for one week… Come back for the next We-design-day next week when we start down the process of designing your own environment!

I'd like to give a special "shout" to Clever by Design for helping me so many years ago with my logo and company image! I'm so excited to finally be at a point in my life where I can again fly the banner of the Blue Door Interior name!

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