Pittsburgh Interior Designer: how I work

My typical consultation starts with one project but often develops into ongoing projects that can involve the entire house. I always strive for a seamless transition and with the client exclaiming,
“I love it”!

A true-life scenario is one where a client contracted me to turn a drab, unused guest room into a serene office.  This jumpstarted a whole house remodel.  The new office had fresh paint, new carpeting and beautiful new furniture. 

The problem was that the rest of the house now desperately needed painting.  This began the process of freshening the entire house with paint, floor resurfacing, cleaning grout lines and the introduction of some new furniture and art. 

It was not a project that involved knocking down walls, but refurbishing the existing square footage.  It was an amazing transformation, and it was much needed in this 50 year-old house.

After the paint consultation, I gave the furniture a second look.  I was able to utilize 50% of the existing pieces and sold or donated the rest.  We introduced a few new pieces and reupholstered or reassigned others to new rooms.  We purchased a new sofa from Craigslist, which became the design focus for the living room. 

We rearranged the living room furniture in a new design, switched out some pieces for a more appropriate scale and introduced lots of new lighting.  We installed new electrical outlets to accommodate the new plan. In particular, we installed electrical outlets in the floor, which allowed more flow and hid unsightly electrical cords. 

I try to utilize pieces that the client absolutely wants to keep or have sentimental value.  Otherwise, we typically remove more pieces than we bring back.  Most clients accumulate items over the years and find it difficult to get their heads around the whole process of elimination.  It can be overwhelming. My crew organizes closets, delivers items to consignment stores, and does whatever it takes to accommodate the client and the project at hand. 

Most of my clients become comfortable with this new process quickly.  I work with top contractors and suppliers, and do jobs to complete the project that other designers won’t touch.  This has become a niche for me since most of my clients either can’t, or don’t want to be involved with the nitty-gritty jobs that must be facilitated before the real work begins.

This can-do attitude makes for repeat clients, since the client becomes comfortable with a design process that is no longer disruptive.  I always strive for a seamless transition and with the client exclaiming, “I love it”!


We relied on her judgment
and we were never sorry when we did.

Susan has such a broad network of contractors and contacts I would find it hard to believe that there is anything that she couldn't tackle.

I've used her to find seamstresses for window treatments and custom bedding, to contractors who were moving walls and creating custom built-ins, to painters, to landscaping experts (of which she is an excellent designer herself) to plumbers and heating firms. And the folks she works with respect her and come back to her for referrals again and again.

When I moved into my new home I gutted the kitchen but didn't know what to do next. Susan searched out a contractor and then worked with him to ensure my dream kitchen was constructed.

After, when it came time to put all the kitchen items away, I didn't know where to start; the drawers and cabinets were all different than in my prior home. So Susan came to the rescue and took all the boxes of food, utensils, plates and kitchen miscellaneous and neatly put everything where it should be. Three and a half years later, I haven't changed anything.

I moved into a 1927 Tudor that had a TON of work to be done. One of the many things we realized we had to do was replace the windows. Susan helped us determine the look and style, the color of the grids and did a whole houseful of window treatments.

One of the amazing things she was able to accomplish was to 're-purpose' the expensive treatments I had in my previous house. And although we didn't put all of them in the same room, (for example, the former guest bedroom valences became beautiful dining room and breakfast nook items in the new house) they looked like they were made specifically for the new purpose.

At first, my husband was skeptical about using Susan. Why pay her to do many of the things we could do ourselves; pick out paint and carpet, oversee the work, find contractors, etc.

But once we started working with her, he quickly realized what I already knew….we did not have the time to do all the things that she did with such detail orientation and with an eye for style that neither of us have.

Many times we just relied on her judgment rather than give direction and we were never sorry when we did.

Deborah Andrews
Amherst, NY