Dear Fellow Decorating Divas,
Did you enjoy rearranging the furniture in your bedroom or even your parents’ living room when you were a child? Like so many other design professionals, I did.
But design school did not offer the practical approach to redecorating I was interested in pursuing, and there were no courses or design firms where I could learn anything other than sales/commission-oriented (high-priced) interior design. I was forced to follow the only available path: I became a conventional interior designer after graduation. I also become dissatisfied with the whole concept.
So I decided to follow my heart and create a business model that would help people transform their homes quickly by using what they already owned; without selling them a lot of stuff they neither wanted nor needed; a new method that was service-based, value-oriented, fast, easy and attainable. An approach that would be accessible to all the people who needed help but who had never before thought they could afford to hire a professional designer.
I worked in houses and apartments rearranging some in a few of hours, to make them prettier and more comfortable; giving every client a design plan whether their rooms were rearranged or not. Home after home, I kept refining my system and it worked! The clients were happy and excited and so was I. Without my realizing it, this alternative system was creating a new niche in interior design.
And, shortly after founding Use What You Have Interiors in 1981, two major newspapers ran stories about the business and I started receiving calls from people all over the U.S. – mostly women – who loved interior decorating and wanted to learn my system and open their own home-based one-day redecorating firms.
After a while I felt confident I had something of real value to offer decorator trainees so they would be able to benefit from all I’d learned (both from design school and from the new system). The trainees would avoid making the same mistakes I’d made and they would save a lot of time and money. Plus, the Use What You Have system would show them how to work in any style and with any budget, no matter what their clients wanted or needed.
Flash forward and today there are people all across North America, Australia, Europe, South America, Scandinavia and Asia who have completed Use What You Have’s Decorator Training and Certification Program and have second careers as Certified Interior Redecorators (even a priest who trained to help people in his parish spruce up their homes!). Many experienced designers have also trained, in order to add redesign to their existing practices.
So, if you rearranged furniture as a kid and still have the passion and talent for decorating – and have been limited to helping friends and family – perhaps it’s time for you to start making a living as a Certified Interior Redecorator, too. Trust me: it’s even better than rearranging your own living room.