Article Originally Published in the January 2022 Issue of East TN Mountain Views
It’s hard to believe the New Year has already come and gone, and 2022 is here. The Christmas decorations are put away, and our homes have returned to their pre-holiday look. With the weather still rainy and dreary, and the temperatures ranging from nippy to downright chilly, we now survey the spaces we frequent the most and realize, with dissatisfaction – we need a change! It can be as simple as adding a new rug to the living room or placing a centerpiece on the dining room table, or it can mean the entire redesign of a room or even a whole house. Either way, whether small or far-reaching, these changes are key to bringing you closer to enjoying the ideal home of your dreams.
If you thought you knew your home backwards and forwards before, odds are you’ve come to know it even better post the pandemic lockdowns. Perhaps, like many others, you’ve been working virtually from home since early 2020. Before you knew it, jury-rigged office setups that were supposed to be temporary have become permanent. Maybe the blurring of boundaries between home and office life has prevented you from getting the decompression and relaxation you need when off the clock. It’s often difficult and frustrating to channel creativity and productivity if your surroundings seem to constantly stunt both. On the flip side, it is so rewarding to truly make a room or space beautiful. A place that allows you to thrive, rather than just survive, that boosts your mood and provides both style and comfort all in one package. One way or another, your home is an expression of yourself and your current wellbeing. You share it with your family and friends, experiencing both the highs and lows of life within its walls, and spending so much extra time inside can highlight the interiors that don’t yet live up to your personal vision of comfort and beauty.
But how to go about getting the most from your home, making it an accurate representation of your unique tastes and preference? As with most other ventures worth taking, it starts with choosing the right guide.
Whether you are redecorating your existing home or a new one, the greatest challenge starts with choosing the right interior designer. “A great interior designer possesses extraordinary listening skills,” replied Sandy Kozar, owner of Decorating Den Interiors, when asked what she felt was the single most important characteristic of a successful interior designer. Beyond listening skills, a professional interior designer is also a capable facilitator and communicator. “Your designer will ask a multitude of questions about you, your family and lifestyle, how you envision your home being used now and in the future, and about your personal preferences and individual tastes. And you should always be made to feel that you are a welcomed and integral part of the design team. Your complete design should be a reflection of who you are.”
Sandy is an award-winning and professionally trained designer, and her talented design team has been featured on HGTV as a Pro Network Designer, Best of Houzz three years in a row for customer service, and Expertise.com Winner three years in a row. Featured in “The Kitchen Bible” book by Barbara Ballinger, and “Love Your Home,” by Carol Donayre-Bugg, and an article in Elle Décor, Sandy’s creative planning and design of residential spaces is well-known and respected through the Knoxville area, and she remains a frequent contributor to Everything Knoxville Magazine and East Tennessee’s Mountain Views.
To kick off this year, we are excited to share our detailed interview with Sandy.
MV: Sandy; what would you say sets you and your design team apart from your peers?
Sandy: As degreed professional designers, our team possesses the education and experience required to design beautiful and functional spaces for our clients. Wetypically do not sell design hours, focusing instead on the quality of the products and services each client desires to realize the greatest impact for their budget. This unique approach allows us to spend the time necessary to design complete and beautiful living spaces and not be focused on the clock. We can offer our clients a curated collection of fine furnishings, upholstery, custom window treatments, accessories, art, and more, with access nationally and internationally. We provide good, better, best, and even luxury lines for our clients with classic styling, alongside the latest trends for today’s lifestyles. Clients also appreciate that we offer a complimentary consultation, including virtual consultations.
MV: What is included in your complimentary consultations?
Sandy: We know every project presents its own unique set of circumstances. We will take the time necessary to help establish the scope of your project and the style you desire. Don’t worry about the time; our initial design consultation is always complimentary. Our first appointment will typically last about an hour. We ask to start with a 15–20-minute house tour; this allows us to see your style (or discuss a change in style), colors and discuss function of the room(s). We will also talk about any projects you may want to begin immediately, or in the future. Then we will spend a few minutes “getting to know you” asking specific questions and taking measurements to help with the design process. We do not get into deep design work or show product at this appointment, but we are information gathering for our next appointment. The more information we have, the more we can help you. Next, we will review how we work with you, all within your lifestyle, budget, and timing. We will work with you to determine a budget that accomplishes your overall project goals whether it is one room at a time or the entire home. Our extensive variety of products means we can satisfy almost any budget with good, better, best, and luxury line of all products. If you are purchasing product, we do not charge for our design time during the project. Before we leave your home, we will also schedule your design appointment to keep your project moving efficiently. We can then make the “magic” happen.
MV: How long does it take for the “magic” as you have described it, to happen?
Sandy: If you truly want a beautiful room, it takes time, but it’s always worth the wait! After your initial consultation, we create a comprehensive design to include three-dimensional space plans, renderings, and elevations, as well as finish and fabric samples, fully customized for each project within two weeks. Once the design is finalized, we place and track all orders, updating our client on the status, inspecting as it arrives, then scheduling our team to be on-site to bring everything together in one visit, just like you see on HGTV. We find that revealing the transformation this way really makes a statement!
MV: You mentioned earlier how important good listening skills are for a designer. Can you elaborate?
Sandy: Good listening skills are crucial to working with clients. Many people just can’t articulate exactly what they want; they just know what they DON’T want. It’s up to us to not only listen to what the client is saying, but also guide them through the millions of design options to discover their own unique style. It’s like a treasure hunt!
MV: Share with our readers what you enjoy most about interior design.
Sandy: We genuinely enjoy the opportunity to exercise our creative skills, but our real passion is to involve our clients in this collaborative and transformative process. It’s difficult to describe just how much this energizes us. The experience of creating something tangible from our clients’ wishes, personal tastes, preferences, and lifestyles is more rewarding than you can imagine. But even more rewarding are the personal friendships that have resulted from our close working relationships with our clients. We have been exceptionally blessed with so many new friends.
MV: Sandy, what is the best way for a prospective client to reach out to you?
Sandy: I suggest they first visit our website to view our portfolio and read “How We Work” at www.SandyKozar.DecoratingDen.com. Fill out our “contact us” form or give us a call. We always respond within one business day. Whether you just moved in or have lived in your home for years, we are happy to help you turn your design dreams into a reality. Then we schedule your first appointment. Either we call you, or you call us. We will talk together for about 15-20 minutes to learn more about you, your project, and the ideas you have for your home. Then, we will schedule your complimentary in-home or virtual consultation.
Excited yet? Call the Kozar Design Team today at 865.392.6222 to take the first step in making your home the beautiful reflection of you and your family that it’s meant to be – and thrive!