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How long have you been doing interior design, and how did you get to be eco-friendly?

My background is biology, I was trained as a biologist, (genetics and physiology of microorganisms) and worked in a lab as a researcher, where I was working on detection tests (even had an international patent at the time!). As I always wanted to make a difference and help people I went to work for a charity as the program manager in order to improve the laboratory standards (Pharmacist without border).
From there, I went to work for other charities in other countries (Kosovo, Serbia) as the head of mission. It was in Belgrade that I met my partner who happens to be British, and this is why I am now based in London, UK. After having children, I decided it was time to settle down and work around the children. I am creative, down to earth, organized, and love interiors, so it made sense for me to go back to school and get my Diploma in interior Design (2009, Hons) and Decoration at the renowned school of Design, KLC based in Chelsea harbour.

I then worked for an established interior designer in north London, and decided to set up my own company. I loved the idea of improving people’s life by creating an interior that would match their needs, life style and tastes, but it was not enough. So I decided to let the biology express itself and added the Healthy and eco-friendly part to my business. I do believe that if we all do our “little bits”, we can have a big impact on the health of the planet as well as on our own health by being selective in what we bring in our houses.

 And this is how I not only transform your house into your dream home, but I also add as many green credentials as possible in every of my projects. I also love working with commercial projects who want to bring their personality through design while including many green credentials into their interiors.
  
Who are you clients exactly?

My private clients are busy professional with no time to transform their house and are happy to have somebody helping them with creating a design scheme that is uniquely made for them, and who will be fully supervising the implementation of the work until completion. They have good tastes and want their interiors to reflect their personality, and be functional. My commercial clients are boutique hotels, private clubs, restaurants or cafés, and whose managers are busy dealing with the business’ affairs. They want their business to look smart with a distinctive style. I also have for client people who want to sell their houses quickly and well, and ask me to help them stage their home, so they appeal to potential buyers more.

What is your favourite contract, residential or commercial?

I equally love working with individuals and contracts as long as I am asked to create something reflecting the personality of the client.

Do you do kitchens and bathroom as well?

Yes, I work with every room, including kitchens and bathrooms, which are both great fun to transform into something special for the inhabitants of the house.

Do you advise on curtains and soft furnishing?

Yes, curtains have a determinant role in the final atmosphere of the room, and it is important to select the right sort of curtain, or to create an original framing for a window with an un-usual shape.

Can you create a lighting plan?

As for me lighting is extremely important as it makes or breaks a scheme. As I often say a wonderful scheme will appear average under a bad lighting, whereas an average scheme will appear stunning with the right lighting. I love creating original lighting scheme to suit a specific room, and scheme.

Do you supervise the project?

I have two sorts of service; the first one is advice only, in which case I create a design according to a specific brief. After the design analysis I prepare the furniture layout and propose a design, presented on a sample board. I often add a computerised rendering, which helps to see how the space is going to be used. Along with the sample board, I prepare a shopping list with all the necessary details to implement the scheme. Prices of the different items are also registered, so the budget is kept in mind when proposing a design scheme.. With this the client can implement the scheme on their own if they want. The second service includes the creation of the scheme plus the supervision of its implementation. This means that I also order the different items in the name of the client, have them all delivered on time, ask for quotes to reliable and trustworthy trade people that I know, prepare the budget, and supervise the implementation and the trade involved in the project.

Can you offer online services as well?

If a client is located far away, I create a design scheme using the client’s measurements and plan to scale. In this case, when a client wants a particular service, including a healthy and/or eco-friendly scheme, I can research what is available for them to implement on their own. This service allows you to have an overall plan, which includes the scheme, its budget and all you need to implement it to your own pace. I also can make some research for people in order to make sure that what they have chosen is healthy or eco-friendly, and so they can bring the item safely into their homes.

Are you qualified to do this job?

I was trained as a biologist and after I decided to change career, I went back to school and got a diploma with honours at the renowned KLC school of design in Chelsea Harbour. I then got experience working with well-established interior designers. I also am an associate of the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) which is the professional body for interior designers in the UK.

Do you help to restyle a room?

Yes, sometimes a room doesn’t need a full refurbishment to look better, in this case I also advise on how to make a better use of what is in the room. A coat of paint and repositioning of the furniture, maybe new curtains can make a big difference and may well be all that is necessary.

Do you home stage as well for a better sale?

When you sell your house, to present it well is extremely important and will impact the time the house will stay on the market as well as the price reached at the end. I come to your house and make a survey of what it needed to show the full potential of your house to potential buyers. After my visit I write a report and advise on what needs to be done, and you can also choose to have me coming back in order to help you to present the house in the best way possible, once the maintenance work has been done.

How do you work?

I follow the 7 steps of my “Elegant and healthy room system” TM The first and very important stage is for me to understand my client. I need to know how they live, what their tastes are, their lifestyle, what they like and don’t like, and what they want to achieve in their house. From there, I carry the design analysis which is going to allow me to propose a furniture layout. The next stage is crucial in term of what will be allowed in the house or not. If you want to understand more about this, register to my next webinar about “How to make an elegant interior healthy and eco-friendly”, it is full of information, and after attending this webinar, you won’t source items for your house the same way. After having done all this I can propose a design scheme and improve it if necessary after a client meeting. When the scheme is approved, I write a detailed budget with a time frame for the implementation. I supervise the work to be done until full completion, and everything is checked before we can say the work is finished. I work either around the client still living in their house or I can provide a turnkey service, which means that you give me the keys of the house and the next time you go back there, it is all done for you.  

How much is it going to cost? 

There is a first meeting where both the client and I assess if we are suited to work together. The second meeting is chargeable, and refunded upon commission, and involves the brief and measured survey.

I only know what to charge when I know exactly the scope of the work, so after I have taken the brief.

Do you work according to budget?

Yes, I always respect the budget given by my client, which will dictate where I will source the items from. I am happy to work with small or larger budget as long as the budget is realistic.  

How do you charge?

It depends on the service. For advice only and for home staging it is a flat fee agreed after the brief. When I need to supervise the work from start to finish it is a percentage of the global amount spent. I also benefit from trade discounts that I pass to my clients, and I only retain managing fees from this discount. This can provide huge savings to my clients. The billing happens in two or four stages according the size of the project. 

Stage 1, 30%: Starting of the project 
Stage 2, 30%: Design analysis, proposition of the scheme 
Stage 3, 30%: Beginning of the work by the trade 
Stage4, 10%: After snagging  


Do you have a contract?

Yes, I have a small contract for small projects including advice only and home staging, and I follow the BIID concise agreement for interior design service CID12 for bigger contracts.

Are you fully insured?

Yes, I have a professional insurance P110Q604131 and a public and products liability PC/38216policy. This is required to be a BIID member.

Can you find the trade people to do the work?

Yes, I am used to work with a team of reliable builders, decorators, electricians, plumber etc. I also am flexible and can work with a team of your choice as long as they provide work of quality.

Can I implement the design scheme myself?

Yes, you can when you take the service with advice only. You receive the whole design and the necessary information you need to do the work to your pace. What happens if I don’t like the proposed scheme? I always propose a first draft to my client so they can tell me what they like and what they don’t like about it. This first meeting allow me to narrow the possibilities for a suitable scheme, and a further design is proposed. In most cases, these two propositions are sufficient. Would another proposition be needed, I am happy to provide it. If the client is not able to make a decision, providing more schemes will incur further billing.

How are you different from other interior designers?

Not only I create a design scheme specifically made for my client’s needs, something absolutely unique that suits his/her life style and taste, but on the top of this I take my client’s health seriously and only specify items that are healthy and environmentally responsible.

If you propose an eco-friendly responsible solution, is it going to be more expensive? Will it look OK?

Proposing a scheme that respects your health and the planet doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be more expensive. It means that the souring stage may take longer, so I can check everything, and select only the suitable items. Adding green credentials to a scheme doesn’t alter the end result, which is going to be at least as stylish as a normal scheme, plus it will include the satisfaction of having created a healthy environment which doesn’t participate to the bankruptcy of the planet.

What is next now?

The first step to work together is to book a first meeting where we can see if we are meant to work together.

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