Today, we kick-off our new „Job Report“ series, where we introduce real life girls with interesting jobs, their education and their daily job descriptions. First up is one inspiring lady that we really admire: Lisa made the move from Austria to Australia to work as an interior designer, not before traveling the world one day at a time. Read about her life in Sydney, do’s and dont’s in interior styling and see photos of her cute apartment in the interview below. If you want to see more from Lisa, just follow her on Instagram – her gallery is beyond perfect! And, if you want to be the next candidate for our “Job Report” and feel like you have an inspiring story to tell, just send us an email to email@example.com!
– Lisa, please tell us a little bit about you and what made you move from Austria to Australia?
Love! I met my husband, who is Australian, 8 years ago traveling in Central America. We first lived in London together, then decided to move to Abu Dhabi and stayed there for 3 years. We have now been in Sydney for about 18 months and are loving it! It is such a beautiful city, a great place to live, but unfortunately so far away from my family in my hometown of Salzburg. But I do try to go home about every 6 months.
– Which jobs did you do before and how did you become interested in interior design?
I worked in hospitality for 5 years, first in a beautiful hotel in London then as a Cabin Crew for Etihad Airlines. I have always loved working with people and it was a great experience flying all around the world seeing lots of beautiful places. I was also fortunate enough to be part of a team that represented the company on events all over the world which was an experience by itself. As much as I enjoyed it I was missing being able to express my creative side. I have always loved photography, art, drawing and the beautiful things in life, which are all part of Interior Design. It is such a versatile profession, for me now less a job but a real passion I truly enjoy pursuing.
– How did you land your current job and what experience/education is needed to work as an interior designer?
I went to Sydney Design School and within one year completed a diploma in Interior Design & Decoration. One of my teachers’ company was growing very successfully and she offered me a part time position while I completed my studies. I was so lucky to be given this opportunity and now work full time for ‘Decus’, a boutique design company in Sydney offering high end residential Interior Design. (ww.decus.com.au)
While it was definitely important to getting taught essential programs like AutoCAD and Indesign prior to starting work, I am learning everything else on the job now, especially how to always come up with new creative concepts and how to best communicate your ideas to the client and others. I am constantly researching, not only at work but everywhere. It becomes a habit to look at things and imagine how and where they could work in an interior.
– What do you love most about your job?
The process of designing, being able to work with lots of creative people in an exiting, cosmopolitan city like Sydney, always looking at and being surrounded by things that make life and living more beautiful. Also the excitement when you discover a piece in the most unusual place, that is just what you where looking for. It is so interesting to see how people live, what they surround themselves with, like taste in fashion it is a way to express yourself, but in a more honest and practical way.
– How do you decide on which decoration you choose for your clients?
Before starting a new project we try to really get to know our clients and find out what they like, how they live and how they will use the space we are about to design for. Some people have a very clear idea about what they want, others are much more open to suggestions we have. Quite often we suggest that our clients collect images of interiors they like, but narrow it down to 2 or 3 and tell us exactly what it is they love about them, so we can get an idea of the direction we should go in. We look at the existing environment, surroundings and pieces they already own and what we think would beautifully compliment them. A lot of our clients have large art collections, which is always a great starting point to find interesting color schemes and inspiration. Depending on the scope of the project we then start sourcing everything from floorboards to fabrics, paint colors, tiles and of course pieces of furniture, light fittings etc. and put together a presentation of usually 3-4 different schemes. Quite often we change the layout of rooms by knocking down walls to get the layout that works the best. We also design a lot of custom pieces like kitchens, wardrobes and daybeds that then get built by our joiner or cabinet maker. Its a great feeling to see something finished that you designed and drew from scratch, it is definitely one of my favorite parts of the job.
– Describe a typical day at work!
Our day usually starts with a little meeting to discuss what we have on our schedule for the day. Some days I spent in our studio drawing floor plans on the computer, doing schedules and answering emails from clients and suppliers in between. On other days I am out all day sourcing, visiting fabric and furniture showrooms and suppliers looking for beautiful pieces for our clients. We also need to coordinate deliveries and oversee any work that gets done at our projects to make sure its all the way we want it to be. We have lots of meetings with clients, sometimes at our studio and other days at their houses or at a construction site. No day is the same and it definitely doesn’t get boring. On of the most rewarding parts of our job is ‘installation day’, when we put everything we designed on paper together in a space, it is always such a great feeling to see your ideas come to life. We quite often then do a professional photo shoot, including all the styling, which is always great fun.
– What style do you personally prefer for your own space – how do you decorate at home?
My husband and I life in an beautiful art deco apartment. The location is great, only a couple of blocks away from the harbour and only a 20 minute walk down to Bondi Beach. Our apartment has lots of natural light which is so important and that was also one of the many reasons why I fell in love with it the moment I saw it. Australians love to spend as much time as possible outside but I just love relaxing at home, reading a book whenever I get the time. And if I am lucky cockatoos or little parrots will sit in the tree in front of our living room window.
I would describe my own style as very eclectic, a lot of different styles mixed in one. My apartment is very white like a blank canvas, with lots of splashes of colour and full of little bits and pieces I have collected on my travels all around the world. I constantly restyle and redecorate it in different color schemes, depending on the season and what colours I am loving at that time. I love to mix old furniture I find in antique shops and at markets with more modern pieces. We are constantly changing our apartment to make the most of each space. It is definitely a work in progress, but we love it.
– Do you have any tips for girls that want to pursue a career in interior design?
If you have attention for detail and a passion for architecture, interior design, enjoy decorating, drawing and sketching and enjoy being around creative people, you will love it. It is quite a competitive business though and we often work long hours to make a deadline. But it’s always worth it if you have a beautiful outcome and happy client.
1. EDIT AND DE-CLUTTER. “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” William Morris
2. INSPIRATION EVERYWHERE. I find my inspiration everywhere, in art, fashion, nature. But with so many choices it’s often confusing to find a direction in which to go. Narrow it down to the ones you really love, creating a storyboard for each room. Only my favorite images and items go on my real and virtual pinboard. (http://pinterest.com/lizali/boards/)
3. MAKE IT PERSONAL. Living so far away from home I have a lot of items in my apartment that remind me of my family, framed photographs, photo books from travels as a family and inherited pieces from my mum that I treasure. Its so important to make a space not only comfortable but personal and unique. I believe people feel more at home surrounded by things that have a meaning or history and don’t “just” look pretty.
4. LIGHT AND DARK. Balance between light and dark items in a room. My living room is mostly white, but a dark timber bookshelf and side table create the necessary contrast to make the room work.
5. MIX AND MATCH. I believe the most interesting rooms are the ones where you manage to find the perfect mix between a vintage piece and a modern classic. We recently combined a Japanese Wedding Chest from the 18th Century with a modern italian sofa, vintage persian rug and a classic mid-century floor lamp all in an art-deco living room. It all worked beautifully together.
Don’t live with things you don’t love. Never fully furnish an apartment all at the same time, in the same style. You will get tired of it eventually. Interior Design is a process and taste does change over time. We work with our clients over several months or sometimes even years to finish a house. And most of all enjoy the process, I like to think of it as a never ending treasure hunt for beautiful things.