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March 28, 2021

Carla Brenan on using a professional interior designer

Carla Brenan on using a professional interior designer

Carla Brenan is an interior designer with Carla Brenan Design in Winnipeg. In this episode we talk about the benefits of hiring a professional vs doing it yourself, cost considerations and common misconceptions. Carla also shares some easy and affordable...


Carla Brenan is an interior designer with Carla Brenan Design in Winnipeg. In this episode we talk about the benefits of hiring a professional vs doing it yourself, cost considerations and common misconceptions. Carla also shares some easy and affordable tips that can immediately improve your home. 

Transcript

Adrian:

I'm joined today by Carla Brenan on the I Love Winnipeg Real Estate podcast. Hi, Carla.

Carla:

Hi, Adrian. How are you?

Adrian:

I'm great. So, let's start at the beginning. Tell me a little bit about yourself and your business.

Carla:

Okay. So yeah, residential interior designer, is my business. I've been doing it for about 15 years, experienced in all sort of aspects of interior design, including kitchens. I do some staging, space planning, floor plans, paint color, materials selections for both interior and exterior homes. So, I do all-encompassing interior design.

Adrian:

And I can vouch for you. I've personally done business with you, both for show home staging and for business office design assistance. So, I think we have done some business together over the last five or six years, and I've always been extremely satisfied with your talent and your skills and abilities. So, thanks for being on the show today. Tell me what are the benefits of using an interior designer versus doing it yourself?

Carla:

Oh, that's actually really a great question. I get this all the time. Most of the clients I do see, a lot of them are do-it-yourselfer, a lot of them are having a contractor come in and do the work for them, but they sometimes don't know where to start and they get flustered and they just are at a standstill with what they should be doing in their homes. And the benefit of me coming in and helping them is that I can hone in on what they want and make their home exactly how they want it by using my skill and my expertise. A lot of people just don't know where to start and I bring that to the table for them.

Adrian:

And do people regularly come to you with some of their own ideas and then you're able to fine-tune, adjust those ideas to make it into a whole proper look for lack of a better word.

Carla:

Yeah, sometimes a lot of people really know what they want. They've seen it either on a TV show, or in a magazine, or on online, and they want to have that in their home and they just don't know how to sometimes pull it together, which is interesting. When I come in and I see that they do have great taste, and a lot of times they just want a second opinion or I get a lot of clients too, who have nowhere to start. They have zero taste, they have zero ability to pull a space together, but they want it to look really nice. So, I get both types of clients in my business.

Adrian:

Does using an interior designer always increase the project cost.

Carla:

Well, initially it will because you are hiring me to do your interior design work for you. But in the long run, you actually probably will save yourself money, because when you don't know what you're doing, you can really mess up and it can come out really, really looking not the way you envisioned it. And when you have an interior designer on board, they can really make the end product look the way you're wanting it to look.

Adrian:

Do you have access to service providers and suppliers that may actually help someone save money in the long run?

Carla:

Yes, we can do both ways. Sometimes I work just by a project cost where I charge the clients just for an overall project, like a flat fee, or we can work it where some of my suppliers give me a discount and I can pass that discount onto my clients as well, depending on what they're doing, but for sure, yes, I do have access to suppliers.

Adrian:

Now, what are some of the common misconceptions about interior design, or using a professional?

Carla:

Oh, the biggest one I always get is that people think that we're going to be too much. We're going to cost a lot of money. I guess it depends on the project. But I think that if you invest in an interior designer in the beginning of your project, you end up with what you want at the end. A lot of people have always said too the interior designers intimidate them and they come into a space and want to change everything. And it's not to what they like. But my motto in my business is, I'm trying to make your home more for you, it's not about me. So that's the end goal, to make it comfortable for the client.

Adrian:

At what stages in life might someone hire an interior designer?

Carla:

Oh, every stage. I get lots of young couples starting a new build in the city where they just need someone to pull a material selection together. I have lots of retired couples who, now their mortgage is paid off and their house is a little dated and they've decided that they want to do an overhaul. So, I think all stages, people can use an interior designer.

Adrian:

And I'm sure there's plenty of tips out there, but based on your experience, what is one of the easiest ways to freshen up your home and potentially increase your home's value?

Carla:

Oh, paint. You wouldn't believe the amount of change that you can just do by painting a room, different color, freshening it up. Just yeah, it's an amazing tool. Just doing paint. Now, if you really want to increase the value of your home a lot, then I would say, spend your money and your bulk of your money in kitchens and bathrooms. That's the first two things that if you're reselling, or you want to invest, that would be it.

Adrian:

If you have a home that you're looking to sell, do you think it's wise to consider giving it a full paint job and potentially upgrading cosmetically the kitchen and, or bathrooms before selling, before listing?

Carla:

I think it would depend on the house. A lot of kitchens can just be updated by just changing the countertop and putting a fresh coat of paint on your walls, changing the handles on the cabinet doors. But I do think if you've been in a home a really long time and the paint is tired, I would definitely paint the entire inside of your house a fresh coat for potential buyers. They're going to come in and look at it, and it'll be fresh and you will invest a little bit of money upfront, but I think you'll get it all paid off when you sell for sure.

Adrian:

Surely you've seen a lot of homes in Winnipeg. What do you love about Winnipeg real estate?

Carla:

Oh, Winnipeg real estate is amazing. We have all types of homes in the city. We have the old houses on Wellington Crescent and River Heights. We have mid-century modern homes throughout the city and we have lots of new builds going on in lots of new communities that gives an opportunity for putting your stamp on a fresh new home. I think the city has varied architecture and it's cool. People need to look around and do a little drive around the city and we have some really cool architecture in the city. So, I think it's a great city for real estate, architecture, design, and everything.

Adrian:

Carla, how can people reach you?

Carla:

I have my website which is, carlabrenandesign.com and all my info is there, my phone number. Also, I have Instagram, which is carlabrenandesign on Instagram. And my email address is carla@carlabrenandesign.com.

Adrian:

Thank you, Carla, for joining me on this episode of, I Love Winnipeg Real Estate.

Carla:

Thanks for having me, Adrian. It was a pleasure.

Carla Brenan

Interior Designer