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Helping the Tech Savvy to be Interior Design Savvy

Sue Subbotin Riviello is a Parson’s School of Design educated Interior Designer in the San Francisco Bay Area, and a serial entrepreneur wanna-be. Techies are her favorite clients!

Is your iPhone glued to your palm? Do you live in the Mission and hop on a luxury wifi enabled bus to the valley? Have you posted a selfie on Instagram in the last 20 minutes? If you answered yes to any of these questions then I can safely assume that you are a tech savvy start up whiz kid, and without a doubt you need my services. Now I am sure you are wondering what exactly it is that I can provide your smart Stanford degree holding (or drop out) self. You heard it here first, you need an interior designer.

You may not believe this but the tech savvy and design savvy go hand in hand like google and UTube. We work from the same platform. We visualize, create, and implement.

Techies need Interior Designers. I am in no way “picking- on” these technical experts, I am just stating a fact. Interior designers absolutely need Techies, so it is a two-way street. The SF Design Center is surrounded by Zynga and numerous start-ups. Techies and Interior Designers eat lunch at Caffe Pazzo side-by-side, but the Techies do not appear curious as to what is inside these showrooms nearby. The reasons techies need interior designers are as follows:

-Techies are intelligent individuals, making decent money. They don’t want their personal spaces to look like their mom’s house, and often they don’t care what their home looks like as they are happy with a beanbag and laptop (apologies for the stereotype). I am here to say “STOP THIS NONSENSE, and let’s move forward in a logical, environmentally conscious, authentic way with the help of a designer . Let us create a habitat for you.

-An interior designer creates a plan, offers choices, and knows quality. The choices are often timeless, as good design stands the test of time. A designer may nudge a techie to purchase a Herman Miller Eames Lounge Chair, which was designed in 1956 as a luxury item inspired by the English Club Chair. The Eameses constantly made use of new materials, and their chair is as popular today as it was almost 60 years ago. Great design lasts through time, and it is worth purchasing some items of this caliber that will travel with you as you move to different homes. Great design gets knocked-off and becomes more affordable, but the originals maintain their value - hence become a very good investment like a piece of art. If furniture is being discarded every few years, it is not only environmentally damaging and wasteful, it is not money well spent.

-Techies are knowledgeable and enthusiastic about high-technology. Interior designers respect high-technology, but are in no way on top of that game. Designers are creative with good visualization skills. They are trained in scale and spatial relationships. The two career paths are not mutually exclusive, and there is respect for each expertise. Critical thinking is a common thread in both fields. Interior designers are invited into your home and workplace, the comfort zone, to help create an environment. This initiates a vulnerability and requires trust.

-An interior designer is a confidant and consultant. Lifelong partnerships often evolve. There has always been a mystery about how Interior designer’s charge their clients. With the transparency of “to the trade only” prices, generally designers are charging by the hour, or have a set fee per project. Before the job begins, the client can give the designer a set- budget, or the designer can work out a proposed budget. There should be no surprises.

-Accredited Interior Designers are professionally educated and trained - which gives them value. The schooling is much like that of an architect, but the concentration is on the interior space. A designer finds the client’s personal taste and style. Designers discern what is appealing and meaningful to each individual client - and create a custom fit design. Designers have the resources, much as a clothing store can figure out which designer has the best fit for your body and your activities. Interior Designers are experts in their field, and have access to numerous “to the trade only” manufacturers so they are able to create spaces that aren’t generic or cookie-cutter.

Wouldn’t it be nice to walk into your custom habitat, that reveals your personality, rather than the same Room & Board living room that all your co-workers have? (Room & Board is a great option, if mixed with other personal home furnishings).

-With the correct direction and curation - techies can help support the artist culture, a breed that is passionate about their artistic abilities, but often does not make the money that Techies do. A designer is a choreographer of talent, introducing new talent to clients. It is a win-win scenario of pay-it-forward. Techies don’t have the best reputation of being philanthropic, so this can be counted as a philanthropic movement for the arts.

-Collaborations amongst the technology, fashion, and design worlds is common place. We are all on the same team. Recently, at Milan’s annual International Furniture Show, the collaborations were visible. One example is a new kind of charging station for phones and other wireless devices that is being incorporated into counter surfaces. The energy transfer is through magnetic induction, not electrical connection. A perfect example of how the home furnishing market is adapting, with technology and design. We need to support one another.

-Designers are able to wear many hats to get a job done. I’ve been known to be a cirque-de-soleil understudy, while literally hanging over the side of a staircase bannister trying to reach the chandelier to put a sleeve over the chain. Interior designers will go to extremes to complete your job, whereas you might purchase the basics, but never complete the job of accessorizing and hanging the photos.

-Decorating is intensely personal. Whatever your style, an interior designer will make sure it tells your story. Interior designers are therapists, decision-makers, and quarterbacks- that lead clients in a direction towards a goal. Their value becomes clear when the paint-store offers 150 shades of white to chose from.

I love technology, but like design itself, it should be a tool to engage with the world more fully.

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