Tammy Hart, I.D.D.P, CAPS is a graduate and tutor of QC Design School as well as a Certified Aging in Place Specialist from the National Association of Home Builders. She is the owner and award-winning designer for Designer Chick Co., and she’s the previous director of the National Board for DDA (formerly CDECA). She is a professional speaker and has spoken at venues like IIDEXCanada and the Small Business Forum. She’s been featured in East in the City Magazine, has had a guest spot on Daytime Durham, Rogers TV and has won the HOUZZ Service Award 2017. She works to empower young women to become successful future leaders and supports ocean clean-up efforts.
Since following my passion for design and decorating, a day doesn’t go by where by the end of the day, I don’t say, “Where the heck did my day go?” and I say this with surprise and a smile on my face because, “Time flies when you’re having fun!”
For those of you considering the leap into the design and decorating industry, let me share with you what my typical day looks like. It’s jam packed and busy, but extremely creative and fun.
6:30am – I’m starting my day, normally in bed, reading and responding to emails that have come in since I last checked the evening before. I’m creating social media posts for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and posting them.
8am – Because I offer design services, I’m out the door, with Timmies Coffee in hand for my trades, to sites that have construction happening (ie. bathroom/kitchen/basement renovations). I check in with my foreman for an update and discuss what’s going well and where we might anticipate problems and proactively work to avoid them. I double check to make sure that all my finishings (ie. tiles, paint colors, baseboard and mouldings) are as specified and being installed as specified. If the homeowners are home, I’ll do a quick check in with them to provide an update. Regardless, my homeowners are getting an emailed update from me to bring them up to speed on progress. Communication is key with clients.
10am – Hop in my car, send my update email and do a quick check on my inbox and a quick peak at my social media. I’m off to my next meeting.
10:50am – I arrive at my new client’s home to discuss my favorite topic, color! We spend an hour together discussing their needs, where they want to paint, their personal style, their home’s style and their likes and dislikes. Essentially, I’m completing QC Design School’s Assignment A3, for those taking the Interior Decorating Course. I don’t limit my color consultation to paint. We will chat about all different wall treatment options. Through this discussion, I can also find out if they’re considering future renovations. Now I’m crazy excited to get back to my studio and get to work.
12pm – I do block off my time for lunch. I find when working in a creative environment that requires a lot of forethought, planning and problem solving, it’s important to block off time to recharge the brain cells. By doing this, I find that I don’t end up with a mental creative block as often – even if it’s just for 15 minutes or half an hour.
1pm – I’m back in my studio, creating my priority list. These priority lists really help me to focus on what tasks need to be dealt with sooner than later and keeps me from getting off track and just doing the fun stuff.
1:15pm – I’m working on creating a color palette for my 11am clients who want a casual atmosphere, love neutrals, but definitely want pops of color and they love texture. I’m flipping through wallpaper samples from my suppliers, shuffling through my Benjamin Moore paint decks and giving them an extra bonus of textiles for their rooms to create a tactile and visual board for them. I call them to schedule our next meeting.
3pm – My reno clients changed their mind on the tiles and are choosing my number one pick (YAY!). But now, I need to see if I can work with my supplier to accept the tiles back (we have a great relationship, so this isn’t a problem. He’s my tile guy!) But I also need to get the new tiles asap or my project will fall behind. Luckily, he’s my hero and can make it happen! Crisis averted.
4pm – I’m booking new client meetings (aka, Initial Consultations) and now I’m also hunting for new suppliers and trades. I like to make sure that I have many trades and suppliers that meet my expectations in my back pocket. This allows me the flexibility to have multiple jobs happening at a time and access to a wide range of products. I spend time looking at what’s happening in the decorating and design world in terms of trends online, speaking to suppliers and gaining their knowledge and insight.
5pm – I do a final check-in for the day with my site foremen and know that they’re off site and have provided me with a progress report on the day’s work.
7pm – Client meeting to discuss modifications to their home and present them with my design. After a lengthy discussion and a few minor edits, we are ready for our project to begin. Tomorrow, I’ll start sourcing my contractors, taking them to site for bids (quotes), and sourcing supplies and finishings. Remember, some days you’ll have multiple client meetings in the evening as most people work during the day.
8:30pm – I read the last of my days emails, check out my social media pages and then shut my phone down for the night to spend some well-deserved time with my family.
It’s a long day. Some days are shorter – some longer, but you can definitely see how it’d fly by and can be incredibly rewarding and how everyday can be different!