Interior Design: Myth vs Reality


Please join us in welcoming Laura Phillips to OnlineRI, here’s more about Laura.

Laura Phillips has been working in the visual world for the last 20 years.  Raised in the fine arts auction business and educated in the theatre she comes at her projects with an eclectic and creative perspective.  Starting out as a retail visual merchandiser, she has grown her knowledge and vision through investigating the many venues Design has to offer.  Her past experiences include window design (Go Rhoda!), color consultation, print styling, event décor, antiques sales and marketing, retail purchasing, and making “stuff” – all culminating in working with clients to realize their Design Dreams. Laura is currently working as the in-house designer for The Art of the Kitchen on the East Side in Providence as well as maintaining the family legacy at CRN Auctions.  In addition, she works with a select roster of fantastic clients.

I always get a kick out of people’s reaction when I tell them the nature of my business.  As soon as the words “Interior Designer” hit their ears you can almost see the shift in focus as images of cappuccino fueled shopping sprees in luxe locales dance across their eyes. I am here to tell you that, for the majority of us, this could not be farther from the truth.

Blame it on the media.  Historically film and television has dramatized the role of Designers as finely coiffed Ladies who jet about pointing at chintz draperies and requesting more pouf. Perhaps this version does exist, just not in the context of the working designers you will come across in pursuit of a valuable service.

The truth of the matter is, the Designer of today is a versatile and hardworking resource.  Where the comedy of the stereotype has great entertainment value, the impact of having a designer associated with your project can be invaluable. The unfortunate consequence of the media skew, however, is oftentimes people dismiss the opportunity to contract a professional because they believe it is a luxury reserved for fancy folks.

Important to keep in mind is that the spectrum of jobs a designer works on is so broad that there are really no limitations when considering bringing someone in.  I might work for a day’s consultation to generate ideas and strategies to uplift an existing space and the next day break ground on an addition or kitchen remodel that will take months - and then there’s everything in between.

The best way I can describe a modern designer is as a problem solver.  Given the framework of your needs, we can take your ideas and translate them into a viable, working plan, manage both your expectations and your workforce, keep an eye on budget and timelines, source materials and furnishings, reconnect your sump pump during the monsoon and make sure the cat doesn’t get out…and, of course, pouf the drapes.

Although there is not one among us that will turn down a delicious latte, it is usually one we relish while drawing out your dream kitchen, “discussing” expectations and concerns with the contractor, meeting the building inspector or dashing off to grab that last bag of grout.  The list goes on and on.   So, when tackling your next home project, don’t be so quick to dismiss calling in some help... even if your private jet is in the shop.