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Interview With Interior Designer William McWhorter

Aug 11, 2008 | General News

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1. What attracted you to becoming an Interior Designer?

I was always an artistic kid. When I was about eight years old, my parents were building a family home and they asked me to help them select some of the materials, like tile and design some of the cabinetwork, and that is what got me interested.

2. What personally attracted you to become a member of the ASID?

I was a member of AID back in 1967, which was the organization before ASID. Back in those days (laughs) if you weren’t a member then you really didn’t get decent jobs. And because it was considered the epitome of the profession to belong to the organization

ASID Mission, Education, etc…
3. What is the mission of the ASID

ASID exists to further the profession of interior design and the ethics and professionalism, and good taste and good design and what designers do to improve peoples’ lives.

4. What are the benefits in becoming a member of the ASID?

Like most organizations, ASID has insurance benefits and networking benefits. It has a huge number of members and these are not only interior designers but also industry partners and students. And we network to learn more about new source and vendors. And also we get wonderful students as student interns. It iss just a way to continue the profession.

5. The ASID (Foundation) is part of the ReGreen Project can you explain what that is?

One of the biggest movements today is the green movement and ASID is always interested in sustainable design and using non-threatened sources in our design, so we are very interested in our environment and the world. You can find out more by checking the ASID website at ——

6. You mentioned that the society also includes student chapters; what are membership benefits for design students?

When I was a student member, I walked right in to design jobs. So it was a great way to start my professional life because I meet so many designers and made friends that I didn’t have any problem at all getting a job when I graduated. It’s great.

7. Since part of the ASID objectives is to educate and invigorate the design industry, what are some recommendations you might have for designers looking to establish themselves?

I always think that networking is a wonderful vehicle to do anything in business and I encourage everyone to network. So that is what I would do. And always keep abreast of what is new and exciting because it is all very stimulating. Find out what is new because that is what keeps out business interesting.

8. How do you recommend other Interior designers go about relationships with their vendors and designers of a specific field such as lighting, ironwork or woodwork?

What I do is drive around looking for new shops. When I’m driving to a client and I notice a new shop or vendor I will stop and research it because I never know where my next best source is going to come from.

9. What is the best advice you could give to designers everywhere?

To keep your eyes open and see what’s new and exiting. Some of my best ideas come from travel, movies. I always have gotten good ideas from the movies.

10. Why should ASID membership be important to someone looking for a designer?

Many people, when they arrive in a new town, if they are looking for a designer for their house, don’t know where to turn. But, if they look in the phone book, under ASID, under interior designers, they can be assured that they are getting one that has a good work ethic and professional ethics to start with and they can be assured that they are going to get a good value and the best of professionalism

11. What are some of the questions you like to ask a client before starting a project?

I ask them what they like and what they don’t like. Most people know what they don’t like rather than what they do like. I ask them how they want to live in their home or office and how they what it to operate. And I ask them what their budget is. How they would like the space to work for them and feel like.

A lot of people think an interior can be done in a short amount of time and a small amount of money. I tell them you can have two of three things; you can have value, speed or quality. You can have two of those three things, but not usually all three. And I give them a whole list of things that I’ve seen go wrong during my career. I say just to let you know one of these thing or several of these things could go wrong do you still want to proceed and remember that during a design, doing an interior is not a life-threatening situation. Good design takes time and to do it right takes time and you are going to have it for a long time, so make sure it is done right. Be patient.

A relationship between the designer and the client is exactly that; a relationship. It involves trust. And the reason the client comes to a designer and finally selects a designer after interviewing several people is because they have selected someone that they have narrowed it down to and that they trust that that designer knows what he or she is doing.  And they have to place their trust in that person.

12. What are some of the questions clients should ask before starting a project?

Are able to stake my project? How many projects do you usually work on at one time and are you able to handle my project? That should be one of the first questions. Also the client should ask to see the designer’s book/portfolio

13. What do you think it is the single most important thing a client should look for in a potential designer other than ASID membership?


Ending Remarks
14.  Does ASID have any projects or achievements coming up that you’d like to talk about?

We have a design competition coming up. And the winners will be announced in the fall at our installation. So that is a pretty important thing. And this is the first design competition we’ve had in many years and everyone is very exited about it.

15. Who is your favorite designer (or particular room if you have one) of all time and why?

I guess one of my favorite designers that I’ve always looked up to is Billy Badlwin. He could capture a client’s personality beautifully and his rooms where always livable, always chic, stylish and memorable.