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Get Help Decorating Your Home: An Interview with Birgit Anich of Birgit Anich Staging & Interiors

By Birgit Anich

Tell us a little bit about your experience, company history and the services you offer.

Growing up in Europe I have always been attracted to interior design. In my late teenage years I have been designing half of my parents house with the help of an architect and I custom designed my first custom piece of furniture. While I was not able to pursue this love for interior design any further until much later in my life, I never gave up on this dream. A few years after moving to the US I finally went to school for interior design. A few years later I learned about staging houses for sale on HGTV and thought this would be a great combination of my work experience in the market research industry and my passion for design. I opened the doors of my business in 2009 - the worst time to start a business in, as we were in the middle of the recession. As part of my staging certifications I felt honored that I had the opportunity to be trained by HGTV's stager celebrity Matthew Finlason on the most advanced staging techniques.

Our work has been recognized locally through the Award for Best Interior Design awarded by the Home Builders Association of Connecticut in 2012 and nationally twice by winning the Awards for Stager of the Year in North America in 2013 and Rookie Stager of the Year in 2011, both awarded by the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA).

While we started out as a staging company we have a huge demand also for interior decorating services. Nowadays we offer property styling services for vacant or occupied properties that are for sale, model home designs, new construction staging, interior styling services for enjoyment while living in the house, color consultations, move-in consultations, etc.

What is a common misperception that people have about interior design?

I think one of the misperceptions about interior design is that interior design is easy and that just putting some pieces of furniture together will give a fabulous look, just like in a magazine. Most people don't realize how much work, knowledge and experience goes into a well-designed room to get that magazine look. An experienced decorator or designer can help clients to identify their needs and likes and then come up with a design that fits their lifestyle, helping them avoid costly mistakes.

How should someone who wants professional help decorating their house start the process?

To find an interior decorator ask if any of your friends have used one and if they would recommend that designer. Or you can start your search online and look for interior decorators in your area. Check out their website and most importantly go into their portfolio section of the website to make sure that you like the general aesthetic of the designer. Every decorator has their fingerprint on their design. Give them a call and have some screening questions ready that you would like to ask. Keep in mind that as much as you are trying to see if this designer would be a good fit for you, the decorator is doing the same to see if you are the right client for them. Make sure that you don't just like the designer's aesthetic, but also are getting along on a personality level. Price should not be your only decision factor.

What is the most common room that people in the Connecticut area want to redecorate/redesign?

Kitchen and bathrooms are very desirable rooms as they are adding actual value to the house. Other rooms are the living room and formal dining room as these are the rooms that are the ones being presented to guests.

What are the basic elements of a complete room design?

First and foremost, the design of a room has to be functional for the client's lifestyle. Further, every room needs to have a focal point. This can be an architectural focal point such as a fireplace or a lighting fixture, a piece of artwork, or even an interesting piece of furniture. It can though also be a lighting fixture, a piece of artwork, an interesting piece of furniture. Rooms should feel balanced and have at least a splash of color. I think a good design incorporates different elements and forms, mixed finishes, color and textures to create interest and depth in the room and keep the eye traveling through the room. I love incorporating at least one unexpected element into a room to keep the interest level high.

How are the interior design fee and budget typically set?

Different decorators and designers use different pricing structures. Many use hourly rates, which makes it very difficult for clients to gauge what the entire project will cost them and how to budget for it. Therefore, we develop a fixed fee design concept pricing fee for projects with a clear scope of work.

What is one of the most common regrets homeowners have when it comes to interior design choices?

The Internet has given consumers the ability to easily shop for furnishings by browsing on their iPad while sitting in front of the TV. When they see for example a coffee table they like, they purchase it easily. The item arrives and then often the disappointment sets in because it is not the quality that they thought it would be, it is too large, it is too small, the color is not the same as it showed online, and it actually does not go well together with already existing furniture. So what to do now? Return shipping cost are high for larger scale and heavier items, so the question is: Is it good enough that I can keep it? Should I sell it? Should I return it? Or maybe should I just use it in the basement room?

We often receive inquiries from people who thought that they could design/decorate their home on their own, without having to contact a designer. But after several such costly mistakes, they decided to call as they have figured out that they have spent more money through trial and error rather than just hiring an interior designer or decorator.

What's the best way for people to get in contact with you and your company?

The best way is by email info@birgitanich.com or by phone: 203.807.4040.

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