Perhaps the only thing potentially more challenging than decorating your new home or redecorating your existing home is the selection of an 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. Sandy went on to say that a great interior designer is also a great facilitator. “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, 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 completed design should be a reflection of who you are, and not your designer.”
Sandy, an award-winning and professionally trained designer, and her multi-talented design group have been featured on HGTV as a Pro Network Designer, Best of Houzz three years in a row for customer service, and Dream Room Winner. Well known and respected throughout the Greater Knoxville area for her creative planning and design of both residential and commercial spaces, Sandy’s designs are featured in the popular “The Kitchen Bible” book by Barbara Ballinger, “Love Your Home,” a newly published book by Carol Donayre-Bugg, and is a frequent contributor to “Everything Knoxville” and “East Tennessee’s Mountain Views.” Readers may also be familiar with Sandy’s work from her multiple Knoxville Parade of Homes entries and local designer Home & Garden tours. Sandy and her team have won multiple awards for their designs in an International Dream Zoom competition.
In this month’s issue of East Tennessee’s Mountain Views, we are excited to share with you, our recent interview with Sandy.
ETMV: Sandy, what would you say sets you and your design team apart from your peers?
Sandy: As degreed professional designers, our team possesses both the education and experience required to design beautiful and functional spaces for our clients. We typically do not sell design hours, focusing instead on the quality of the products and services each client desires in order to provide them with the greatest impact for their individual budget. This unique approach allows us to spend the time necessary to design a complete and beautiful design for our clients and not be focused on the clock. We can offer our clients a curated collection of tried and true manufactured case goods, 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 classics alongside all of the latest trends for today’s lifestyles. Clients also appreciate that we offer a complimentary consultation to all potential new clients, including virtual consultations, which are a great opportunity to discover a little bit more about how we work. Our website has tons of information including photos of our work and how we work.
ETMV: What is included in your complimentary consultation?
Sandy: We tour the home with the homeowners and conduct a detailed question and answer period in order to understand what the client is looking for and considerations to include in the recommended design of their home. We like to know their personality, their needs, their likes, and dislikes so we can custom create their design to be one-of-a-kind and unique for them. We also help establish the homeowner’s budget to determine the project’s scope, after which we schedule the design appointment and start making the magic happen for the client.
ETMV: 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 the initial consultation, it takes five to ten business days to create a design to present to the homeowners. Our comprehensive design plans include three-dimensional space plans, renderings, and elevations, as well as finish and fabric samples, customized for each project. Once the client makes a decision, we then order the selections, tracking all orders, updating the client on the status of their order, inspecting all as it arrives, scheduling our installer, mover and us to be there on every installation. Once everything is received, it is usually installed all in one go, just like you see on HGTV. We find that revealing the transformation this way really makes a statement.
ETMV: Share with our readers what you enjoy most about interior design.
Sandy: We truly enjoy the opportunity to exercise our creative skills, but our real passion is to involve our clients in this creative and transformative process. It’s difficult to describe how this energizes us. The opportunity to create something tangible from our clients’ dreams, wishes, personal tastes, preferences, and lifestyles is more rewarding than you can imagine. Even more rewarding are the personal friendships that have resulted from our close working relationships with our clients. We have truly been blessed with all of our new friends.
ETMV: Sandy, how do your virtual consultations work?
Sandy: Recently, we have seen a growing reliance on technology in the workplace. It has been shown to make more productive use of our clients’ time and provides healthy safeguards as well. Everyone has a computer, so by using existing online apps, we can conduct a virtual consultation in much the same way as we would conduct an in-person consultation. And if you’re new to this type of technology, we are available to coach you and answer any question you might have. It’s easier than you might have imagined. Most of our clients have found working virtually both educational as well as exciting.
ETMV: I was going to ask you to describe a typical client experience, but what if we share with our readers a recent interview we conducted with one of your clients? Sandy: In fact, that would be great. Eric and Melissa are a wonderful couple that we had the privilege of working with recently.
ETMV: Melissa, what inspired you and Eric to retire to East Tennessee in 2019 after operating a small business after 40 years? Melissa: After visiting this area, we fell in love with the mountains, the lakes, the way of life and the people! We feel very blessed to live in this special place.
ETMV: How did you learn about Decorating Den Interiors?
Melissa: After buying our home, we decided to update the kitchen. Our kitchen designer told us about Sandy Kozar and Rachael Sheridan and recommended them highly. We decided to use Sandy because she was highly recommended and after meeting her and Rachael and checking out their prior projects, we felt very comfortable with them and knew that they would do a great job. Another consideration was that they brought everything to us and made the entire process easy.”
ETMV: Describe the process.
Melissa: They measured the rooms we wanted to furnish which included the foyer, the dining room, the open main living/kitchen/dining area, and the guest bedroom. They designed different furniture layouts to choose from (with a computer layout of the room). For the main open living area, they brought pictures of furniture to choose from, fabric samples, and area rug choices. They also helped us with window coverings, draperies and custom bedding for the master bedroom and guest bedroom. And they also incorporated the artwork and things that we wanted to keep in the final design. When the furniture came in, they provided movers to not only move the new furniture in, but to move the old furniture to different rooms downstairs. They handled everything down to inserting light bulbs in the lamps. In the end, it was our vision because they listened to what we wanted and presented choices that we made. It was a positive experience from start to finish. We are happy with every single purchase and the overall look is exactly what we wanted.
ETMV: And would you recommend Decorating Den Interiors to others?
Melissa: We highly recommend Sandy and Rachael from Decorating Den Interiors! Sandy: Eric and Melissa were absolutely wonderful. Their experience is typical of the experiences of all of our clients, and soon to be friends, whether you’re decorating a single room or your entire home.
ETMV: Sandy, what is the best way for a respective client to reach out to you?
Sandy: I suggest they first visit our website to view our portfolio and read “How We Work.” From there give us a call and we will discuss your project and schedule you complimentary consultation.
ETMV: Sandy, thank you for this opportunity to help our readers discover the Decorating Den Interiors – Kozar Design Team Difference.
Sandy: Thank you.
Article Originally Published in the January 2021 Issue of East TN Mountain Views by Tom Irmen – http://www.etmv.com/