Graduate Feature: Marianna Zimmerman - QC Design School

Tell us a little bit about yourself!

Besides being an Interior Decorator and Designer, I hold many titles! I’m a wife, mom, and nonna. Family life is of the utmost importance to me; it comes before everything. I’m a city girl, born in New York and then transplanted from Boston to good ole’ Texas 10 years ago.

Although I’ve been decorating for over 20 years, I started my Design career later in life. I’m a true testament that it’s never too late to pursue your dream!  I launched my company, The Best is Yet to Come Designs, back in 2011. But I felt I still had a lot to learn, which is why I then enrolled at QC Design School.

I’ve always felt that great design is about creating a beautiful, functional space that you feel comfortable coming home to. Although I’ve always been devoted to designing with (affordable) luxury and style, I’ve always believed that ‘your current situation doesn’t have to dictate your final destination’… The best is yet to come! This definitely inspired me when I was naming my business.

How would you describe your design style?

Definitely Modern/Contemporary, with a bit of edgy – yet warm – Transitional thrown in there!

This may sound confusing, but let me explain: I’ve designed for all different aesthetics and styles, but my strength is in Modern/Contemporary design. When I first started, I loved the Modern, Industrial style. But throughout the years, I’ve noticed I’ve been leaning more towards Modern/Transitional.

This is because, although I love Modern edgy, I also want it to still be warm and cozy. Transitional design adds elements of color, woods against metals, and cement to warm up the style. I like that!

san antonio texas client - master bedroom decorating

You offer a variety of home design services, including interior decorating, home staging, and home organization. What is your favorite type of project to work on?

Decorating, definitely! I do love home staging because it’s all about cleanliness, organization, and putting everything in its place. But home staging showcases the home primarily for selling purposes. When it comes to professional organizing, although I’m a sucker for an orderly closet or drawer, it doesn’t compare to a job that lets me look at the entire design aspect.

Interior Decorating, on the other hand, allows me to design the whole space from start to finish. I get to see where it all starts. I get to design the plan, shop for the right tools, and enjoy the hunt for those “right pieces”. Then, of course, I have the privilege of putting it all together and seeing the end results.

The best part of why Interior Decorating is the reaction from your client… THAT is the ultimate reward for me! Their reaction of pure satisfaction is priceless, and if they cry (the good cry, of course) then that is a bonus. After all, it lets me know I did exactly what I set out to do!

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We noticed that you also have an E-Design option for your clients! Can you tell us a little bit about how it works?

The E-Design feature initially started out for our out of state clients. It’s targeted towards clients that would love to work with me, but are outside of my local radius. The concept is generally the same as my regular methods, in that I’ll work primarily with the client via email and video calls.

I start with a video chat conference so we can discuss the project they’re interested in having done. Then I’ll request specific photos and measurements from the client. We’ll correspond back and forth accordingly with regard to design choices, shopping, and delivery.

I offer 2 packages for my E-Design services:

  1. Once everything has been selected and delivered to the client, I provide simple “How To” instructions that will help guide the client through the placement of the items, where to put furniture, where to hang artwork and décor, etc.
  2. Or, once everything is selected and delivered, the client can choose instead to fly my team and me in. From there, we’ll do the complete install ourselves!

These options are initially offered in the proposal. Then I tie the fees (depending on which option the client chooses) into the legal contract.

How did QC’s Interior Decorating course prepare you for working in the field and starting your own business?

QC Design School’s Interior Decorating course definitely prepared me for working in this field and starting my own business! Although I’ve always felt I had a natural eye or gift for decorating, I had no knowledge on the business side to it all.

The time-consuming floor planning, the precise measurements of every single thing in a room, the different kinds of materials, what works best in what homes… When starting your business, those are the things you don’t prepare for.

Interior Decorating is more than fluffing pillows and shopping for pretty items. It’s all the hard stuff that you can only learn through proper schooling. THAT’S what QC’s course prepared me for.

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What advice would you give to new students who are looking to start their design careers?

The best advice I can give a design student looking to start their career is: be very knowledgeable, never stop learning, and explore your gift! On top of this, learn EVERY aspect of running your own business.

Decorating can come naturally, but it’s the really fine details that matter most! That, in turn, will allow you to be confident in your decisions and presentations. Design is a lot more than simply making a space pretty. It’s tedious and sometimes frustrating. It’s learning the terminology and requirements and taking the time to absorb and understand every bit of it.

It’ll pay off in the long run, though!

Describe your favorite project so far—what made it exciting for you (design style, clients themselves, the scale of the project, etc.) – If you can, please include images of this project with your Feature, we would love to feature them next to your answers!

My favorite project to date was for a Fort Worth client that built her home from the ground up, with no builders or contractors! She had found the land and then hired an architect to draw up her and her husband’s dream home. After the house was built, they hired me to come in and make it a home!

I was so excited to work on this project because even though it was empty, I recognized the potential it had as soon as I first walked inside. I was in awe. There was so much room for creativity, and I could see the beauty of what it was about to become!

Fort Worth Texas living room interior decorating

The house was already so beautiful, that everything we did only accentuated that even more. The client’s style was also one of my favorite styles to work with: Modern, with some Transitional to warm it up a bit. Inspired by some of my previous work, she wanted a Navy and Gray color scheme, with pops of gold.

I loved everything she wanted, and she loved everything I suggested. Our rapport was everything a professional designer could want with a client!

I have an amazing team that worked hard all that weekend, so we could create the home our client envisioned. In the end, she and her husband were so happy! She couldn’t believe it was the same home! Although she was hesitant in the beginning, she allowed me to do my thing and trusted the process. The outcome – and those happy tears – is why this was my favorite project!

Before and after photos of this project can be seen in my portfolio here.

What’s on the horizon for your home design business in 2020?

Expanding my creativity with unique ideas! I love unique designs that you don’t see every day, such as a cool, textured accent wall… Maybe funky, chic furniture… Or even wallpapered ceilings!

For my clients who have shown interest (but admittedly still have a bit of reservation), I’m trying to slowly coax them of their comfort zone. Once they’re ready, I can help create something fresh and unique, made just for them!

The short-term goal for my business is to expand my team and hire more contractors. That will allow me to take on bigger projects, and expand my business even further.

The long-term goal for my business is to volunteer my services and abilities more. I’d like to possibly start an organization that helps single parents, or women leaving shelters, get their first home or apartment. I could help them design it to their wants and needs! They may get blessed with residential space, but I want to facilitate in making it their home.

Ultimately, that’s what I want most for ALL of my clients.

McKinney Texas living room interior decorating

How can you build a solid and loyal client base for your Interior Decorating business? Keep reading to find out!

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