Remember when all the decorating TV shows were about fast overnight projects using a super-cheap budget? It seemed like the designers would pull rabbit after rabbit out of the design hat, and a room or an entire home would be transformed, all seemingly over a single intense weekend, and for under $1,500.
Did you ever think that was honestly realistic? Neither did HGTV, the bulls-eye to the makeover show format.
Design is growing up, consumers are more sophisticated, and HGTV is reflecting this more realistic perspective by including features of real-world designers showcasing their talents.
Harmony Weihs, owner of interior design firm Design Harmony in Kirkland, was recently a finalist in the 2015 HGTV “Fresh Faces of Design” contest, which culminated last fall. Her design entry featured a renovated kitchen project that she and her team were invited to submit. One of 11 national finalists, she has nimbly taken her background in apparel design, and applied many of these same principles to her interior design work. While she didn’t win the grand prize, she considers the entire experience an unexpected win, starting from when HGTV reached out to her and invited the submittal, to being featured on their national platform as a preferred designer.
We asked Weihs for her top design tips:
1.) It must be functional.
“First and foremost, it has to work or it’s not going to make it in the project,” says Weihs. “There can be 10 different ways a design can be executed, but functionality can make or break the project. We want to make sure the design is executed to the level of quality that we desire.”
2.) Mix and match items.
“Bring in a touch of the unexpected. It is so much more interesting if things work together, but don’t necessarily match. It has to be interesting and relatable.”
3.) Pick one or two stars for the space.
“Not everything in the space has to have something going on. Have one or two interesting visual design elements, and everything else should fall to the background. This allows for a more timeless result.”
4.) Choose items to splurge on, and to save on.
“This might mean something different to everybody. What is important to you? My job is then to come up with a really cool design execution, integrating the value pieces, like using the inexpensive field tile with a spendy accent piece.”
5.) Sleep on it.
There are always tough design and budget choices to make in any project. Sometimes you are faced with spending more on that special item than expected. She suggests you sleep on it and review it with a clear mind the next day. If you are still really excited about the design, go for it. “You won’t regret splurging,” says Weihs. “That time you don’t take the leap is always the one that you always will regret.”
Trends. She prefers timeless design.
“Wallpaper. It has had a bad stigma, but I try to explain that you can only do so much with sheetrock and paint,” says Weihs. “Wallpaper adds sheen, contrast, graphic elements, and can even add subtle texture.”