My job as a designer is changing constantly, no day is the same, and each project has its own challenges. Whether residential, commercial, or even somewhere in between what matters most to me is that the client is heard & gets a product they are happy with. I don’t design with a specific aesthetic or style, I love to jump into my clients shoes and understand their needs in a functional way prior to understanding the look & feel of a space. It’s more important that a space actually works than it is for it’s looks, right?
Designers often joke that we are many of our clients therapists, and it comes out of truth! In many ways we are. It’s actually one of my favorite aspects of the job & why I became an interior designer! Early on in my education I was interested in behavioral sciences & psychology, but my passion for art just wasn’t met. So what did I do, blended them in a magical way. Meet: Interior design. Interior design is the blend of people’s emotions, wellbeing, and the impact they have from a space based on their surroundings; they coincide. It’s not one or the either, but a culmination of both ideas working together.
To understand someone, we have to know them on a personal level. I often put myself in my clients shoes. To increase or decrease a specific behavior, habit, function, or even mood – I develop space around their needs! The space then influences the user, or users in a specific way. Hopefully positive in this manner, but done wrong – it can definitely lead to a negative impact.
Now, let’s combine this philosophy of psychology & design with our environmental impact! That’s really where I get to shine! It’s my job to educate and proactively make decisions that benefit our planet & my clients needs together. This not only has a positive impact on our wellbeing inside a space, but also – on the outside of it!
I love a great challenge, and the biggest challenge is sustainability & lowering our impact on the environment. The built environment alone contributes to 23% of air pollution, 50% of the climatic change, 40% of drinking water pollution, and 50% of landfill wastes. That’s something we can’t shy away from and turn a blind eye to. This is a result of over consumption! As an industry we cannot continue this way. It’s my job, my passion, my absolute joy to change this, and I do believe we will. The most important thing to remember is that we need to start NOW. Our action takes place, now. Building buildings sustainably and meeting regulations is critical, but it also matters how we live our lives and go about being in these spaces!
Design is more than being someone’s therapist, I’m a guide to knowledge and incorporating sustainable aspects to all parts of our lives. Incorporating small ideas & approaches can have a big impact on an individual and global scale. So how do we do that, and how do we start? The answer isn’t actually that simple, it’s not one thing that can push us over the edge, but the culmination of all these things working together that will help us get there! Living sustainably & incorporating that into our work life balance is critical. So, we need to start NOW! Here’s a few ideas to get you started!
- Thrift & re-use furniture if & when you can! I love facebook marketplace, second hand goods mean less production of new furniture & lower our carbon footprint. It’s really easy to upcycle and change a used item into something new! Reduce, reuse, & recycle!
- Use energy smart appliances. I bet you didn’t know, but using a dishwasher is MORE sustainable than hand washing, you use less water & recycle it further. Buy appliances (refrigerators, ranges, and microwaves) that require less power and are made of recycled materials! Even apple is working towards net zero by 2030!
- Shop Smart – bring reusable bags, buy energy star products, buy less & buy recycled/reused items as a rule of thumb.
- Buy local – purchase more products & food from local places near you, not only are you supporting small businesses, but you are practicing environmental justice by doing so! Smaller businesses have smaller carbon footprints, and put out less emissions! Support the economy & the environment at once!
- Read, read, & read more – Understand and support the companies that are environmentally responsible for their products & actions. Method is a great example of this! Method is a cradle to cradle product, meaning it replicates nature’s process. They can be recycled, returned to earth, or reused to make more of their product. Look out for companies like this & buy more from them!
- Turn those lights off & unplug! I don’t just mean relax, I really mean unplugging electronics can not only save you on electricity cost, but it can also reduce your footprint!
- Low Flow Water – This used to mean bad water pressure, but now this really means, less water – more pressure, it’s much better to lower our water consumption! We’re running out faster than you think.
- Create a kitchen that encourages Vegan / Vegetarian cooking! Meat produces methane gas, accounting for 49% of emissions. Veggies don’t do that!
- Reduce Plastic Consumption by buying food & products in bulk or that don’t come in plastic! Try alternative boxed water & stop buying one time use plastic water bottles. Bring reusable silverware to lunch, and opt in for compostable alternative products when available!
- Transportation and location have a huge impact on the environment, choosing to live in places with more eco-friendly public transportation with less cars on the roads, and better walking scores will really help lower our impact!
- Consider investing in carbon offsets! If you have a high carbon footprint, you can pay into projects that reduce greenhouse gases in other places to offset your impact. It’s not the best solution, but it is a great way to get started!
- Last one, VOTE! Make sure that you hold your local government accountable for sustainable action & get like minded representatives elected. Understand that policies set in place are created by the government and it’s our job to get these policies written & in place!