I am truly excited to get this interview up this month on Interior Designer and Photographer, Gaile Guevara. She's obviously very talented and I absolutely admire her style and her work.
How did you get into what you are doing now?: As a kid I was inspired by my father and his love of using only the best graphic art tools. I was spoiled with using Pantone felt pens on quality vellum while my kindergarten classmates played with Crayola on craft paper. My artistic side was influenced by my father who was a graphic designer and technical drawing specialist for Albertan Oil companies, developing machinery in the tradition of manual drafting before computer software. My father is an inspiration for his attention to details. My education roots stem from a fine arts background in drawing and painting then discovering interior design as a passion during my first year in design school at Kwantlen. During my school years in the interior design program, I worked as a summer student, soon after graduation worked full time to a senior position within a development firm. After 3 years I partnered up with another amazing talent and began working freelance on a variety of private homes, development companies and now specializing in residential design.
A recent new passion was discovered when I met my partner and learned about photography. I started with taking photographs of my girlfriends from weddings, baby bumps, birthday parties to now a love for capturing the moments that add so much value to my interior design work. In collaboration with local creative talent, we are in the development of a new project that will provide photo gallery solutions whether it be custom photo shoots, framing, wallpaper or fabric. I am honoured to work with my clients in helping them transform their ordinary dwellings into the homes that reflect their personal love for living. The story is just beginning.
Tell us one thing most people assume about what you do for a living that is complete false: I think interior designers are often confused with decorators. There are a lot of talented stylists and decorators that I admire as well individuals who have a craft of seeing things with a careful eye. Interior Designers require a variety of hats within their field which is often overlooked when it comes to the responsibilities taken on. There is a lot of work that goes into creating, planning and executing a project while balancing project details which rely on the execution of a variety of trades and outside consultants.
Mostly, I think time is misunderstood on how to design well and the value associated with the amount of work required to execute these details. Like anything, you get what you pay for. Working with a good professional in any case is an investment in quality, time and return value. I try with every project to support our local suppliers, craftsman, creatives and artisans by helping introduce my clients what it means to invest in design that is responsible and can help create community. It's not easy, as we all have budgets, but the key is to find a balance with only having what you love in your home and all that is close to you. Expensive also doesn't mean high value.
I am working on the a better description of what I do as it has evolved to more then just interiors - It's about idea building and creative collaboration on a variety of projects which has enabled me to be able to live a creative life .
Describe your industry. What are some of the challenges and rewards?: Style is a skill and you have to live and breath it and there are many layers to the profession of an interior designer. While shopping is a small part of what I do, it isn't necessarily as glamorous as it sounds. Finding the perfect product for the right price and level of quality is a balancing act. I'm learning with each day on how important it is for me to be more responsible with all my choices including all selections that need to meet a budget. Its unfortunate that North America is slow at understanding just how much we have become a consumer driven society and with that there are lots of cheap options out there for home decor. I prefer to encourage clients to only purchase what they love and to wait for right product to last forever. Investing in quality is always a fine balance with one's priorities. Function versus aesthetics can be very challenging. I really believe there is good design at all levels, it's just taking the time to find something that lasts.
There are growing pains with building a business and in those lessons we learn about the team we work well with. I have been very fortunate to have worked with a number of creative talents who have inspired me as well become great friends. Now developing product lines and project systems to share with other freelance designers, I hope to help our freelance design community work together to improve our industry.
Sharing resources has always been an important key for me to working with other team members, before blogging and the internet, it was a challenging task to be up to date and it becomes costly with all the magazine subscriptions and book purchases. Now that we have the internet, it has opened up so many doors to a variety of architects, designers, suppliers and clients. Creating dialogue and community is an amazing reward of connecting through this powerful network. A perfect example is the lovely reward of having someone as talented as Sunny Shum, finding me, reaching out and asking me for an interview.
What is your favourite decor trend and what is your least favourite?: BUY WHAT YOU LOVE. I don't necessarily believe in a design trend rather I look for unique materials and options that are specific to a client. When I see interiors all looking the same, that is when I try my hardest to find solutions that are different. The bones of an interior have to have an overall palette that is natural, timeless and purist at heart. Decor is like the shoes and jewelry we wear so, I try to help keep it as functional as I can while also accenting what reflects a client's favourite colour and personality. Tokens of travel, special moments captured in photographs, collections that are meaningful - I love opportunities to learn where things come from and to educate on the story behind what you are looking at. When you can add story telling to what you have in your home, you gain so much more by sharing it with those you love.
LEAST LIKE - I hate seeing people choosing art to match their colour scheme or choosing things that don't have any real meaning. Everything that layers a space, I really do believe you have to love every detail. I'm not one for too many busy things ... and slowly am opening up to colour.
Looking ahead for FW 2011 name some key trends in decor: We see fashion brands more and more in collaboration with big name designers making fashion more affordable. Home Decor usually follows fashion however with the growing awareness of the environmental impact of our decision making, I'm hoping to see more interior design products that are innovative with local and natural materials. Craft & quality are becoming so much more important than just looks.
What was your last read?: My backed up inbox of emails from my design blog that I am trying to tackle each day ... but when I can sneak in some reading - I'm a lover of online blogs like http://minimalissimo.com/ or http://momolivingonline.com/blog/ or curated inspiration like http://designspiration.net/
What is your most precious item? The people I love in my life who always inspire me: my partner + my dog Teds + family and close friends.
I love so many things in our home and my most favourite are: Our daff felt accessories and true grace home scents from a favourite local shop Provide to our most comfortable modular seating custom made by local talent Ravi Design, the softest cotton Wings & Horn throw from Homewerx, our most comfy all white frame and leather luxy italy - nulite armchair available at Spencer Interiors and our all white step ladder available through Vancouver Special.
What get's you up in the morning? I wake up to the best partner in life and my dog Teddy always is eager for his morning walk. Although I always seem to lose my pillow in the night, there is nothing like waking up to the 2 things that always bring a smile to my face. And for the OCD side of me, fresh clean sheets, sunshine and looking into a neat and tidy home with everything in its place.
This year, I am excited to develop a variety of collaborative creative projects with some of my favourite local talents... lots of planning and putting programs into action makes for an exciting morning each day.
Thanks for your time Gaile!
With Love, Sunny