Valarie Zeh, owner of Cloth+Label, and Valarie Britz Interior Design, both on St. Simons Island, knows that interior design is not all about the glitz and glamour of lush living rooms, posh parlors and decadent dining spaces. Sometimes, families need a little help getting a handle on their everyday “stuff.”
One might not immediately think of calling an interior designer to get help tackling the family sports equipment, groceries and laundry supplies, but designers don’t only gild the lily. A professionally designed space can help elevate the ordinary and mundane, and even make doing chores a bit more pleasant.
Homeowners, when looking for design ideas for utilitarian spaces such as mud rooms, pantries and laundry rooms, are seeking functional spaces to hide all their clutter and organize their everyday lifestyles, according to Zeh.
“I love organization, (and) the ability to organize a client’s life while creating a beautiful, yet functional, space,” she said.
Zeh said when designin a project, she always begins with a color palette and then layers in the texture. First, however, she listens to her clients.
“It begins with a list of the client’s needs and wants for the area,” she said. “Then, I make sure all of these items are incorporated and are visually pleasing. Finally, the unexpected elements are selected to make each client’s space unique, and reflect their own personality.”
Zeh said prior to meeting with a client, the client should make a checklist of how the space will be used, items that will need to be stored and inspirational images.
Sometimes, the addition of a utilitarian space is an afterthought – people convert spaces to serve a more needed purpose, for example, turning a playroom off the kitchen into the aforementioned laundry room, pantry or mudroom. It can be a challenge to make a new room feel as if it’s always been there.
“It’s important to be consistent with the existing home and/or spaces,” Zeh said. “Sometimes, the easiest way to ensure this happens is using the existing color palette and/or finishes, trim, or lack of trim, details and doors.
Getting form to meet function is the goal.
“Function comes first,” said Zeh. “Then, it is important to double-check and make sure everything is accessible and usable for everyday purposes.”