This Interiors Expert Reveals How She Brings a Client's Vision to Life

Nicole Singh

Considering a career change as an interior decorator or designer? One of the trickiest parts of the job is managing client expectations and dissecting a creative brief. 

As you can imagine it's very personal work, as the client will be the one living and interacting in the spaces you design for them so they have to love the end result, but ultimately, you are the expert. Your role in the early stages of the creative brief is to educate, inform and guide to ensure the best outcome for both the client and your own portfolio. 

To explain further, we called on Sonia Audoly. An interiors expert who has worked on the glossy pages of Elle Décor and Vogue, Audoly now teaches budding creatives at Sydney's International School of Colour and Design (ISCD).

Enrollments are now open for the school's Styling 101 short courses, held in both Sydney and Melbourne on March 3. These one-day workshops cover styling essentials like creating moodboards, planning and placing furniture, and will give you a real taste of the interior designer life. 

ISCD is offering MyDomaine Australia readers a 30% discount. Just enter the code Kickstart2018 on check-out.

Register and then keep reading for Audoly's advice on how to dissect a client's brief and turn it into a lived-in masterpiece. 

PHOTO:

Anthropologie Autumn 2016 catalogue, via ISCD Graduate Stacey Wilson's mood board

USE AS MANY SOURCES OF INSPIRATION AS POSSIBLE 

"I'm an old-fashioned person, so I will always look at magazines, and understand what is the look and feel of the place in which the client would like to live. Today Pinterest is an amazing resource. I have to say that Pinterest is incredible. You can Google it, and it's easy to create your style and boards from it.

I also recommend looking at blogs and keeping an eye on what's happening abroad, what are the styles around France? What are the styles around Italy? or even other less-common countries to source inspiration from, because it will bring a cultural depth to your work." 

MAKE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND THE CLIENT'S NEEDS

"Firstly, you always have to understand your client. So, of course, you have your style, of course you have things you like—like other interior designers and brands you love—but you have to understand your client, because you have to understand who they are, what they like, what type of dreams they have for the space. So, asking what [are] the colours, and smell, the feel they want, and not just the style, [is] also important.

And then try to ask them to show you images of what they like because often, they say they would like a space that is beachy, but your interpretation of what that means is different for everybody. So I ask the client to put together images, and then I create a journey of where I can take them. I aim to create a place where they can feel involved and feel their personality coming out in the space."

PHOTO:

Mood board by ISCD Graduate Stacey Wilson

A MOOD BOARD IS CRUCIAL FOR PLANNING
 

"A mood board is very useful, because it is important to have visuals. So the mood board can be a physical mood board that I compose for the client, or, a Pinterest mood board. I really believe that a mood board is a momento for the designer and the client. For the designer, it will help as a starting point of where to develop the project and everything will naturally flow from there. And for the client, then they know exactly what they're going to feel when they go in their space."

ALWAYS CONSIDER THE LIGHTING AS PART OF YOUR DECISION
 

"I always say to the students I teach that I believe that light is one of the dimensions of the space and I think it's really important to understand how you want the place to feel through light. Then all the elements come together too, like the texture and the colours and the finer details."

PHOTO:

Amanda Barnes Interiors, via ISCD Graduate Stacey Wilson's mood board

DON’T BE AFRAID TO ADD YOUR SIGNATURE IN THE SPACE

"Sometimes spaces can miss the soul and character it needs. I think the signature style of a space is to really try and put together elements that are from the store, but then to understand and recreate something that is more alive and has something of your soul. So, if your clients do have pieces that come from their family or their travels, incorporate them everywhere. Or, if they don't, then look for places where you can find pieces that, despite them not being part of your client history, you can include them. So they then have something that is unique, from you to them." 

Enrollments are now open for ISCD's Styling 101 short courses, held in both Sydney and Melbourne on March 3. MyDomaine Australia readers receive a 30% discount. Just enter the code Kickstart2018 on check-out.

For more inspiration, read Elements of Style by Erin T. Gates ($32)

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