Recently, I was a part of a panel of Interior Designers answering questions and sharing insight with some students at Heritage School of Interior Design. Having the opportunity to get in touch with designers of all levels was such a great way to learn and share the things I have learned with my experience in the industry so far. So much inspiration stems from talking about your passion with people who share that passion with you! We all have so much to learn from each other!
I thought this was a great chance to write out some of my answers to the questions I was asked during the panel, and some questions I get asked frequently from people who are interested in the field of interior design.
With that being said I will jump right in! If you have any more questions or want to chat with me about design, feel free to reach out via instagram or email!
My name is Cierra Warness, and I go by Cece. I am both an Interior Designer and the Display Artist for Urban Outfitters. I am the creator/ designer behind Design by Cece. I have a passion for art, design, color and travel.
My motto for 2020 has been,
“What if I create beauty everywhere I go?”
This has pushed me to create beauty, art and designs in anyway and any place I can. I am on a continuous path of learning, growing and building my artistic tool belt.
Tell us a little about your background. When did you know you wanted to be an Interior Designer? Did you attend school for design or for something else?
After High School, I went to Western Washington University and earned my Bachelors degree in studio art and art history, focusing on installation art and ceramic sculpture. After I graduated university, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I spent some time in Europe reflecting on my inspirations, which expanded my perspective of the arts and design. This led me to an epiphany that I wanted to use my skills an artist to create something that people experience everyday.
I found Heritage School of Interior Design and loved everything they stood for and taught . I fell in love with interior design, and the way you could influence a feeling and experience with art and design. I earned my Masters certificate in Interior Design in Spring of 2020. Since then, I have been continuing to learn, take every opportunity that comes my way, and figure out what being an interior designer/ artist looks like for me. This includes working on both residential and commercial interior design projects, creating the displays for Urban Outfitters, and creating my own art in a variety of mediums.
Tell us about your first client. How has your business/ career evolved since then?
I took my first client while I was still in school at Heritage. I had only been going to interior design school for about 3 months before I took a project on. I am someone who really believes taking every opportunity and learning as you go. This first project was a living room and dining room remodel. I honestly was more excited then nervous. Even though I didn't know everything about interior design, I felt like it was opportunity to share all of my knowledge from my education and experiences I had gained in the past few years. I learned SO much from working on this project. The key for me always, and especially then, is just being humble and being ok not knowing everything. If my client asks me something that I don't know, it is perfectly ok to admit that I don't know the answer right away. I tell them that I will do some research and get back to them with the answer as soon as I can. With every project I learn so much from my clients.
Since this first project, I have done multiple residential projects, kitchen remodels and commercial projects. I've also had the opportunity to do some set design for photoshoots and freelance artwork. Every project is so exciting and such an adventure. I go into every project with more knowledge and experience than the last, and continue to grow as a designer each step of the way!
What is your design process on an average project?
- First, a phone call with client finding out the basic parameters of their project and setting up a consultation.
- Then a consultation, either an in - person walk through of the space, or over zoom. The consultation includes talking with my client, figuring out their wants and needs, walking through the space and talking about these things as we go, taking lots of photos, measurements and notes.
- Next I get to work. I start by organizing my thoughts, ideas, and making a plan. I then make floor plans, mood board and concept ideas. I make sure to save furniture I find as I am creating my concepts, so I can come back to them later.
- I talk over my concept with my client, and take all of their feedback. I then edit and adjust my design based on my clients feedback.
- Then comes finalizing my design. This includes shopping, creating a product specification list with links, sizing and pricing.
- I finish my designs by styling the space and taking high quality photos.
- The design process varies with each client, but always follows these basic steps!
What technology do you use in your business/ career?
I use AutoCad and SketchUp for larger projects or projects that require very detailed measurements. For other designs, I usually do not need to use these programs. I will hand draw floor plans or create them in photoshop. I use Photoshop a lot for mood boards and sketching on top of images to get a clearer idea of my vision and share my concepts with my client. I recently got an iPad and the program Procreate. This is an amazing program for sketching, creating concepts, mood boards and floor plans. I am just learning this program, but I think it will become an integral part of my process.
What are some words of wisdom for new designers?
Take every opportunity you can!!!!
This has been my motto since the beginning. I try to say yes to almost any opportunity that comes my way. Even if it doesn’t seem ideal at the beginning, taking opportunities always leads to making connections, getting more jobs, learning new things and creating more beauty in the world! Taking opportunities and putting myself out there has proven to always be beneficial and lead me to new places.
Also, realize everyone is figuring it out as they go, so don't be hard on yourself. The best you can do is continue to learn, grow and constantly create!