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Starting Fresh


A little help goes a long ways

Hiring an Interior Designer: An Interview with a client by Krissy Millner, Terra Firma Home.

Putting a new home together can be a daunting task! Many of my clients are people who have moved to the area from another home and have chosen to retire in Southern Oregon. And here is how it usually goes: Couple moves to Ashland, scaling down from a home of 20 plus years, or, building their forever home to enjoy with friends and family for the rest of their lives….they are ready to streamline, modernize, feel a little more hip, but how to do it?

And so begins my interview with Mary Silva of Ashland, newly arrived within the last year!

K: Hi Mary! Tell me what brought you to Ashland…

M: Retirement was our main reason. We had traveled to Ashland throughout the seasons and loved it every time. My husband is a fly fisherman and we love the arts, the people and the beauty of the land. There was a magical feel to this place.

K: After you purchased your home, what made you decide to look into working with an interior designer?

M: Well, quite a story! Our home in Ohio sold in 2 days and we really had not expected things to move so quickly. My husband flew out to Ashland in search of a home as I was still working, so he began sending me pictures of homes and settled upon this one. It is smaller and a very different style and scale from our previous home, so I began purging and cleaning out almost everything from our home in Ohio. I only brought favorite family pieces with me. Then as I settled in, I looked around at our needs and realized I needed help! That’s where finding Terra Firma Home online came in. I looked at the website and really connected with the aesthetic so I called for an appointment.

K: How was the process? Many people feel hiring a designer will cost more or that they will lose their own vision in the process. What were your feelings on that?

M: Well, budget was of course a concern, but I realized by inquiring I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. You were very respectful of my budget, and although you guided me to some items that were more expensive, I realize now those are my favorite things and they really make our home beautiful. I love the chandelier and would never have chosen it! Also, you asked so many questions about our personal lifestyle that I never felt lost in the process. Another great suggestion was re-framing some of our art. It really updated our collection and pulled everything together. Again, I wouldn’t have known how to go about that, and it made such a difference.

K: How do you feel when you walk in your home?

M: Well, we never wanted to feel like we were creating our parent’s home, something old-fashioned, we wanted it to feel fresh and warm and much more current. When we came home to see the finished piece, it was lovely. It felt like home.

K: Bravo!

So in conclusion, just as you would hire an accountant or financial advisor to help you make the best decisions for your retirement, hiring an interior designer can truly save money in the long run. A designer has firsthand knowledge and experience with space planning, color, trends, function, and creating a visual story. We have lost count of how many clients ordered things on-line, only to realize the piece didn’t fit, or the quality wasn’t up to par. A designer will save you from that madness, and work with you to create a wow factor, and, a visual story of your life. I think here in Southern Oregon, we all love a good story,

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