Thursday January 24, 2019 By: Alexandra Kinias
“Home is where the heart is.” — Elvis Presley
Our homes are our sanctuaries, comfort zones and feeling of belonging. At home, we relax, play, entertain and witness the birth of our intimate memories. When we build our dream homes, we also want to create friendly inviting places, and fill them with love and warmth. We customize them to reflect our taste and style. But with all the details, choices and decisions we have to make, the decorating process gets overwhelming.
Seeking advice from interior designers help us bring balance and elegance to our space. They combine style, comfort and function; blend colors, elements, materials and textures; add charming details; choose a color to spice up the space, and find that unique piece that connects the whole design. They translate our styles into spaces that rejoice our living.
Celebrating 20 years in the business, interior designer, Tassilia Joundi, has carved her name in her field. With the help of her team at her design firm, Tassi Interiors, she continues to work with her clients to create inspiring and innovative designs that meet their tastes and styles. In this interview, we discuss her inspiration, job challenges, favorite projects, tips for young designers …. and more.
WOE: What determined your passion for design? Tell us about the moment when you decided this is the way to go.
TJ: At the beginning, I thought it was an interesting field, which made me choose it as a career.
Through the years of its study, I figured “this is my passion, this is what I’m meant for.” Extreme joy and excitement were found in colors, fabrics, handling spaces and merging all forms of Arts.
WOE: How do you describe your style?Do you have any kind of “signatures” that may help to identify your projects?
TJ: My style is varied. Every project uniquely identifies itself as each space has its own identity and feel. Thus, is as well “My Signature”.
WOE: What are the challenges of your job?
TJ: Sometimes the designed pieces chosen for projects are not found in retail, so we tend to customize the desired items. Very widely parallel tastes are also a challenge to combine in one home. And being an interior designer doesn’t stop at design and decoration, it’s a multi-task interrelated job of a psychologist, economist, artist, management and so forth.
WOE: What influences your designs?
TJ: Endless factors are incorporated! Almost every bit of surrounding and what lies deep in the senses act as stimuli. Could be a piece of music, a painting, objects, nature, culture, and last but not least, people and their stories.
WOE: What should someone starting a design career know? Any tips and advice for young designers?
TJ: As mentioned above, it’s a multi-task job where you need to be as aware as possible to the many aspects that you’ll be faced within the process.
My tips and advice for young designers would be to immerse themselves in the execution of the project alongside with their study in order to know how things reach their final state. A course of psychology in my opinion is a necessity to be able to deal with the diverse characters they’ll encounter. And finally, to mature and nourish the identity of their work, constant learning and broadening the brain’s knowledge give more depth to the creation.
WOE: What inspires you?
TJ: Space and people act as the first spark of my inspiration to design a different interior each time. Global trends in fashion, architecture and arts have their impact as well.
WOE: How and in what ways do you keep current with new trends?
TJ: Mainly nowadays, we have the internet, yet galleries and showrooms have their special flair as well. Traveling around is an excellent source as well.
WOE: What have been some of your favorite projects?
TJ: All projects involving newlyweds are always a very pleasurable journey for both of us.
WOE: What is your favorite book/magazine on design?
TJ: Book: “Alberto Pinto’s Design Books”, “Ralph Lauren’s Book of Style”.
Also, the Blogs of Interior Designers from around the world.
WOE: The market is so competitive. What makes you stand out among other designers?
TJ: I answer this from my client’s feedback as it’s my compass to give the most prop service.
A competitive advantage of mine, my clients say; lie in designing a home that’s uniquely theirs, combining style, comfort, function and yet still within their means and budget. Besides my full understanding of their needs, saving time and making the whole process enjoyable and very smooth.
WOE: If you had no limits (money, resources), what would you create? Your dream job.
TJ: It would definitely be designing and building beautiful homes for the underprivileged. I’ve always respected and admired” Ikea” as a brand, for the stylish, smart and yet affordable furniture they make. I wish we could do something similar in interior design and not to limit it to certain criteria of well off personas. Everyone deserves living in a beautiful space.
WOE: What is your favorite room of the house to design and why?
TJ: Open space living rooms are surely my favorite! Where they combine all the family’s activities, from a T.V area, to casual dining, open kitchen, and cozy a comfortable place for working and reading where all family members could be together at the same time, enjoying whatever they’re doing.
WOE: How has the economy affected your work?
TJ: The economy has made interior design unaffordable to a large segment of the market.
WOE: How do you handle difficult clients?
TJ: By being professionally nice, but firm. Setting boundaries is key.
WOE: Do you have favorite colors and fabrics you like to work most with?
TJ: Monochromatic and calm colors set the perfect canvas for my work. Authentic, original, and natural materials are always a top choice.
WOE: What is your advice/tips to young couples for designing their future homes?
TJ: Planning ahead and taking simple fundamentals into consideration as their impact is complex. Smart budgeting without cutting necessary costs is essential, as it’s not wise to underpay in certain criteria as foundations of electricity and plumbing, flooring, doors and windows, electrical equipments and appliances.
Hiring a qualified interior designer saves you from these pit-holes and eliminates the hassle of future mistakes, saves time and money. Not to mention, reaching a beautiful and desired outcome.
WOE: Has your interior design style changed over the years? If yes, how?
TJ: Definitely, as designers, we evolve with every project as it’s an endless ongoing learning process. Our styles are frequently influenced by the fast-growing globalization.
WOE: You mentioned you worked with Ethan Allen – Egypt? How long did you work with them? What were your responsibilities? What did you learn from this job?
TJ: Ahh, this place was like a second home! It was a pleasurable privilege to have worked with them for 5 years, as I was responsible for the showroom’s visual merchandise, and clientele’s design consultancy.
This job has given me a wide experience in many aspects of both the business and in life itself, as it has also exposed me to the international scene of high-end furniture making, finely adding to my taste. Through these 5 years, I can say I have established a concrete background of dealing with clients, stores, suppliers, hand-crafters and labor men.
WOE: Finally, what are the services your Design Firm offers?
TJ: I have a set of 3 packages of service. The first is the full design service. It includes a design service from scratch till the project’s end, where the concept is thoroughly discussed and implemented with drawings, mood-boards and supervision for site visits and shopping.
The second service we offer is to design a room. It includes renovating one room, which is suitable for those who want to gradually renovate their house over a prolonged period of time. It includes: sketches, a mood-board, two site visits with minimal shopping.
The third is design consultancy. This service is per hour and is very suitable for those who need a designer’s guide in a specific critical area of design, where efficient solutions and choices are offered. It can include a sketch, advice, shopping and site visits as it is all by the hour.
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