Tastemaker: Turning a house into a home
A conversation with interior designer Sharon Carroll by Jane Bollinger
Sharon Carroll is an interior designer.
She helps create personal living spaces that reflect the kinds of lives her clients want to enjoy in their homes. The job involves more than constructing functional spaces that meet the homeowners’ needs; Carroll also wants her clients fulfill their personal desires for finding fun activities and pleasurable pastimes to enjoy in their homes. Fun, enjoyment and pleasure are important words in Carroll’s working vocabulary.
In the life of any homeowner, a construction or remodeling project, or a makeover (whether large or small), is a big decision, and throughout the process, Carroll not only is the project planner and coordinator, the one who oversees a team of subcontractors, she’s also a listener and a hand-holder to her clients.
An interior designer is not the same as an interior decorator, who helps find and choose furniture and window treatments, make decisions about fabrics, colors and accessories. As Carroll explains the difference, “Designing is a systematic approach to a creative process. The end result interprets the occupants’ taste in an attractive, functional space.”
Many of Carroll’s clients are what we locals call “second homers,” but much of the advice she has to offer and the philosophy she advocates also offer a good foundation for “first homers,” who are taking on similar projects.
Recently we asked Carroll to share some of her philosophy about designing a living space.
Q: What do you see as the goal when you take on a project for a client?
A: Obviously the primary goal is to get the project done right, and as close to on-time and on-budget as possible. But besides that, each person has a time of the year, or a season, or a couple of weeks or weekends when they can get away, when their work life or personal life is slower, less hectic. Quite often it ends up that part of my job is assisting that person to make plans for how to have fun, unwind, kick back and enjoy their personal time more fully in their home. Especially while the process is going on, I want them to let me worry about moving their project forward.