We’re lucky to have some professionals around the Front Door, and our main man to go to when needing advice is Furniture Row Residential Interior Designer Greg Utsinger. We put together a short questionnaire that Greg was kind enough to answer in colorful ways. Greg, meet the Front Door readers. Readers, meet Greg.
WHAT DOES YOUR INTERIOR DESIGNER POSITION ENTAIL?
As a Regional Visual Merchandise Manager for Furniture Row, most of my responsibilities involve ensuring that the Visual Sets and Standards set forth from the Design Department are implemented in our stores. There is also a lot of “creating on the fly,” as each store has its own unique challenges. From time to time I get the opportunity to work on photo shoots and other projects.
WHAT’S THE BEST PART OF YOUR JOB?
Anytime I’m creating or inspiring people to create.
WHAT GOT YOU INTO INTERIOR DESIGN?
I’ve always had an interest in furniture and design. When I was a kid, I would rearranged my room all the time. I remember in the fall, raking leaves into lines to create the “floor plan” of a house, and every time there was a refrigerator box to be found, I was cutting out windows and drawing curtains with a magic marker. When I went to college to study Graphic Design, I took a few interior design classes and quickly changed my course.
WHAT SKILLS DO YOU NEED TO DO YOUR JOB?
I think anyone can be taught how to set up a display, but it takes a natural eye to look at something and see what it needs, or to see the overall picture before it actually exists. As a designer, obviously you need an eye for color, the ability to combine colors, textures, and styles, as well as a sense of scale and proportion. I think the ability to look at things from an artistic standpoint is important too. When working with a client, the ability to create something that is a reflection of that person or family is vitally important, after all, they are the ones who will be living in it.
WHAT’S A TYPICAL DAY LIKE?
Because I travel a lot, no two days are ever really the same. I spend some time assessing what’s done and what needs to be done; based on that, I make a plan for the day. There are weeks when you get to be a part of great projects, like the St. Jude Dream Home or Ronald McDonald House, and then the opposite end of the spectrum when you’re in a warehouse somewhere unpacking accessories. I enjoy when I’m in a store and get an opportunity to help out the sales staff to help put a room together for a customer who might be having trouble seeing the whole picture.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PRODUCT THAT YOU’VE CHOSEN FOR A PHOTO SHOOT?
For most of the photo shoots I’ve worked on the product is chosen for me, but I love to work with dining rooms, probably because I love to cook and entertain so much. I love the Madagascar Dining Table from Oak Express, both the square and the rectangle versions. I think it’s the straight lines of it with the chunky legs; it’s the kind of table you could put a million different chairs with and make a huge statement.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE IN RELATION TO FURNITURE ROW’S?
My personal style definitely bends more to the contemporary side, but I have an appreciation for traditional, classic things. I love to incorporate unexpected pieces into a room and blend old, new, classic, modern, etc. I think Furniture Row has a great offering that allows customers the same kind of options. Something like the new Central Park Sofa from Sofa Mart with its straight lines and metropolitan feel, mixed in a room with an ornate console table, antique piece, or one of Furniture Row’s one of a kind Zafar Chests – the kinds of things that give a room character, that make them feel more personal and unique.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE SPACE IN YOUR OWN HOME?
I love the kitchen, because it’s another place filled with the opportunity to be creative as well as the place I spend the most time in. I like the simplicity and quietness of my bedroom, but from a designer’s perspective the most unique is my powder room. It was an opportunity to go a little “over the top.” Just like how I always love to throw an unpredictable element into every room, this powder room is the “unexpected” room in the house.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR PEOPLE NEW TO INTERIOR DECORATING?
Most people don’t know where to start – my advice is, start somewhere. Pick something that you love; a paint color, a pillow, a rug, etc., and work from that. A new color on the walls is one of the quickest, easiest ways to change the entire look and feel of a space. If you can’t decide what color to paint, a great place to start is your closet. Your wardrobe can be very telling of what colors you love. The other piece of advice is to take your time when finishing the room to let the finishing touches, like accessories and artwork, evolve. It helps keep the room personal and eliminates that staged, model home look.