Designer Lighting is Key with Tara Richardson Design

All about designer lighting!

What was your path to becoming a designer?

I’ve been into interior design since my early teens.  I spent hours decorating and redecorating my room until I got the vibe I wanted. When I purchased my first house, it was a challenge trying to afford what I thought I wanted.  As a result, I started going to thrift shops and found some amazingly affordable designer lighting ideas.  Over the years, I had curated some really interesting pieces and I had created a home that was better than running out and buying an entire living room set somewhere that I couldn’t afford. My passion is creating spaces that people love to live in. With encouragement from neighbors and friends alike, I decided to use my eye for the unique, using my attention to detail and my abnormally active imagination to start Guest House Interiors.  

Tell us about your work.

My work has a lot to do with guiding people. It has a lot to do with helping them articulate what is important to them about feeling comfortable and putting that into functional practice. Through this initial process, we can establish the vibe.  From there, we determine what is currently working and what is not.  We also touch on what pieces (if any) need to stay and what sentimental or personal items the client may have that they would like to see integrated into the design. It involves enormous amounts of active listening and the patience to build trust with your client. What I love most is being able to create spaces for people that they couldn’t have imagined.  It is an awesome feeling to see  that clients are shocked that this is their living space and are excited to see that the space embodies who they are.

What is your favorite part of your day?

The mornings.  I get up really early and take about an hour or so just for myself.  I sit outside and enjoy the morning, watch the nature waking up around me and catch up on my reading.

Where and when are you most inspired?

Everywhere.  There’s no one place or time that inspires me most.  I try to be present in every moment whether I’m outside enjoying nature or in a waiting room somewhere.  I’m always thinking of how to make a rather uninviting place better no matter where I am.

How has your design philosophy changed since you began your practice?

My philosophy hasn’t changed much. However, I’ve noticed that more present and open minded I remain, the more inspiration I am able to receive.  I have always had a no-rules approach to design.  It’s about what works.

What has been your most challenging or creatively rewarding project to date? Why?

Probably a master bathroom.  Taking your average suburban master bathroom and making it a truly one of a kind bathroom is challenging.  Looking past what was there and envisioning what you wanted there can be tricky.  Again, starting the design process with the kind of vibe you want and defining what that means helps the space dictate what it needs to accomplish that feeling. We went from a very homogenized bathroom to one that truly feels like a room.  By incorporating vintage elements, architectural doors, and everyday furnishings rather than your average bathroom vanities, I was able to create a bathroom that provided all the basics in a very unconventional way.  The furniture makes it feel like a room.  The vintage tub and layered lighting invite relaxation and the doors provide natural lighting without sacrificing privacy.  A few windows were added to balance the natural light and the vintage table has a new life as a sink base with ample storage underneath. See project link here.

What is the most common design problem you encounter? Is there a simple fix you can suggest for this problem?

The most common problem I see is the wrong scale of furniture.  The fix is to measure your space and create a layout with your measurements first to make sure everything will fit in your space and still give you room to breathe and walk.

How would you describe your style? How does it translate to your work?

I don’t have a description for my personal style because it’s fluid.  If you asked someone that knows me , they would say bohemian for sure. It’s really about how I want to feel today and how I want to translate that.  I wear a lot of vintage and thrift store finds mixed in with some 70’s inspired pants and fringed kimonos. I love vintage turquoise jewelry and and wear a lot of it daily. I dress for the mood I am in each day.  I don’t overthink it.  It’s the same with my work.  I don’t overthink things. I focus on the function of the space, the vibe my client wants and infuse who they are in their space. I take a curated approach to accessorizing. I remind my clients that this is a process and to select things that speak to them.  Most of the time you don’t find that all at the same place or time. Being patient and loving the journey is very rewarding for those that embrace it.

What has your experience been with decorating your own space? How is decorating for yourself different from decorating for other people?

My home is my lab.  It changes frequently and I love to change the accessories out with the seasons. Sometimes, I get an urge to paint something a different color and I do it.  Decorating for me is expressing who I am.  Decorating for other people is helping them express who they are.

What, in your opinion, makes a space feel homey?

Comfortable furniture and good designer lighting to start.  Many people see designer lighting as just a necessity and miss the importance of what the right light can do.  Everything I do with lighting is on a dimmer.  It’s amazing how the proper designer lighting can make a room.  From there, you can literally create a mood by adjusting the brightness, instantly taking a room from being sterile to cozy. I also incorporate layering different light sources (overhead, floor lamps, table lamps etc.) in all of my projects.

What is one element that can draw a room together when it feels like nothing goes?

A large and awesome rug.

To learn more about the best lighting for your home, check out our lighting interview with MAS Interior Deign. 

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