8 January 2018

When I first started designing, my ultimate goal was to break down the barriers between client and designer. Interior design had a stuffy, unapproachable stigma to it, which intimidated so many people…myself included! Why were we being so precious about something so fun and enjoyable? I always make an effort to be sure my clients are comfortable and are given full transparency to the process of beautiful design.

Part of that is being a bit of an open book and answering the many questions that come my way all the time. So, I thought for our first real deep dive over here on The Remix, I’d answer some of the questions I get, as a designer, on a very regular basis. Read below and if you’ve got more questions of your own, fire away!

(photo via Katie Jameson)

Where did the name BANDD DESIGN come from?

When I set out to create a name for my company, I knew I didn’t want to have a design studio with my name on it. You weren’t going to find me naming it Sara Barney Interiors because I never felt like the design was about me. It was about my clients and the work itself. So with that in mind, I knew I wanted to pay tribute to my young daughters, Blake and Decker, in some way. The first name I scribbled down was B and D Design. I hated the name. I thought it sounded boring but for grins, I checked on the domain’s availability. As I typed in the web address (bandddesign.com), I realized it looked like Band Design. I liked it. Thought it was fun, fresh, catchy and still played in to my sweet kiddos. Thus, BANDD DESIGN was born and my social media handles (@jointhebandd), easily followed thereafter.

Where do you love to shop for your own home?

Oh gosh! Any and everywhere. I am a Gemini thru and thru so I can never commit to one place. I look for inspiration and things that I love everywhere, whether I am thrifting, shopping high end or making a mad dash through Target. That said, because I am a recluse on most days, I basically give all my money to Amazon.

Which home decor trend are you LOVING right now?

I love the look of matte black plumbing fixtures and hardware. I think it looks so chic and interesting without being too bold or over-the-top. I am also getting excited that color is becoming ok again. Everything was soooo 50 shades of gray for so long.

Which home decor trend are you wishing would go away?

Haha, see above about all of the gray! But really I love the clean lines of Scandinavian design, but I am over the bare, cold feeling of it…especially here in Austin, where it’s usually over 80 degrees!

What does your day-to-day routine look like?

I’m not being cute when I say every day really is very different, but most people seem to think I spend my whole day furniture shopping. In reality, I spend a lot of time in my office, answering emails, sourcing items, sorting through samples and in my car, driving to appointments, showrooms, etc. I try to save my out-of-office commitments to a few days a week when I can so that I can be hyper-focused when I am at my desk.

Which designer/home expert do you admire/look up to the most?

There are just so many that it is hard to pick just one. I am absolutely in awe of Jeff Lewis. Not only his design work, but his sharp business sense and keen work ethic are exactly something I strive to emulate…without the OCD, if possible. I am also blown away by the work for Mary McDonald, Jeffrey Alan Marks, and Amber Lewis. Amber Lewis is just the biggest badass on the block.

What is one tip you would give someone who is struggling with designing their space?

Design is such a subjective thing, so there is no real right answer here, but the thing I always tell clients about design is that there are no rules. You can make yourself crazy reading a tutorial or trying to copy someone’s gallery wall or making sure everything matches when you just need to listen to your gut and go with what feels right. You’ll be much happier when it’s all said in done if you do.

Do you just love your job? Is it so fun and easy?

Yes! And no! Yes I do love my job and I am absolutely wild about it. There is so much about it that is fun and enjoyable, but on the flipside, there is so much that just plain sucks, or is annoying or I hate doing. Being a designer is about 90% business and 10% design. You have to also enjoy all the comes with running a business otherwise, you’ll need to outsource a lot! Ha! Luckily, my 15 years of business experience have helped me TREMENDOUSLY and I am a bit of a business nerd when it comes to running things behind the curtain over here.

What is the most challenging part about being an interior designer?

It’s not all paint samples and pretty tile. There are hard days. There are times (a lot of them) where the item arrives damaged. Or the contractor messes up. Or the client changes their mind. It’s all part of the territory. And that’s ok. But the hardest part, since I am a bit of a Type A, is being nimble and rolling with the punches.

How do you achieve work/life balance?

Oh lordy, this question. Well, I have become very good at compartmentalizing. If I am working, I am solely focused on working. If I am with my kids, I am solely focused on being present with my kids. I don’t kid myself that I can do everything because I used to try and I was miserable. I make a conscious effort to say something like, “Ok. I am going to work from 9-2, then again from 5-10. The rest will be for family time.” I also have learned the importance of outsourcing. I don’t know how to lay tile, so of course, I will hire a tile installer for a client’s project rather than try to figure it out. Why wouldn’t I do the same for myself? If there is something that I can have someone on my team do, or if someone else can do it better or faster, why not pay them to do it so that I can focus on the part where I excel? Work/life balance is a constant (active) chase for me.




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