Archive for the ‘Your Designer’ Category


How Does Your Surgery Feel?

image_15smallWe’ve noticed that clients respond to their new surgery in one of two ways.

Some focus on how it looks.  They’ll say things like, “Ah that looks great”.

Others will say something about how the new surgery design makes them feel.

They’ll talk about the atmosphere of the whole place with comments like, “It’s got a great feel to it.”

There’s a gender thing going on here but let’s not dig ourselves into a hole on that one.

What I can say is that it’s particularly satisfying to hear people reflect on how a place feels.

That’s a more complex thing to achieve. It’s much harder than just making something pretty.

In surgery design we go after three things – the look, the function and the feel.

This means considering several layers including the architectural style of  your building, your personality and the nature of your client base.

What’s the key message about your practice?  Is it friendly and welcoming, is it exclusive and private?  What do we want patients to think and feel when they visit?  Do your patients feel comfortable and relaxed in your waiting area?

We think about you too. We think very carefully about how your surgery is going to perform for you and your team every day.

Are your tools within reach?  Is the work flow easy?  Are your personal tastes reflected?

We draw together a great number of building details to create the effects we want for your surgery.

We think about the space around people, the texture of surfaces, how the light falls and the feel of the furniture.

Sometimes good design can be about what you leave out as much as what you put in.

No single element stands alone in a fitout.  The wall colour will change with the light in the room as well as the colour of other finishes.  Elements need to work together and balance each other.

A great surgery interior design is achieved when individual elements blend together to create a pleasing overall effect.  Which might be described as how the room ‘feels’.

Sometimes we will present a set of swatches and surface samples to a client knowing that it’s going to be difficult for them to imagine how those samples might look in the finished room.

A client might point to one particular colour in a full set of finishes and say – “I don’t like that one.”

In the context of a small sample board the colour will look different from when it’s seen as part of the whole.  This is especially true when finishes are viewed from a distance.

Sometimes it’s easy to make a small change and keep the overall effect. If that’s the case then we’ll cheerfully do it.

There are other times when we think it’s important enough to argue the toss.  This is when we need to look our client in the eye and ask them to trust us.

I had such an occasion recently when a project was in its final stage.  A  pendant light was installed just before the wall paper went up.

Our client arrived and saw the light.  “I don’t like it.” he told us with some disappointment.

We encouraged him to wait until the room was finished and make his final decision then.

Once the wallpaper went up our client loved his new light. He could see how the overall effect really worked. How it made sense within the context of the entire space.

I’m describing what a professional interior designer brings to the table.

You’re after a fully integrated surgery that works for you, your team and your clients.

This isn’t about a pretty magazine picture. It isn’t about lots of little pieces that you might like individually.

Professional interior design is about hiring someone with vision and skill, to bring all the elements together, to create a highly functional space that looks and feels good.

You’ll have to trust me on that.


Embracing the Decorator Within

I know this sounds weird, but I have been resisting decorating for years. It could be because when we were studying, decorating was minimalised, it was drummed into us that we were DESIGNERS not decorators or as one of our lecturers called them: cushion scatterers.

In 15 years I have been proud to say I have never scattered a cushion – until now. This week something clicked. The fashion is (finally) moving away from minimalism into more luxurious, decorative interiors – yes, even in commercial fitouts.

I think my first foray into idea of decorating occurred in the middle of last year. A client requested a ‘French Provincial’ inspired waiting room which was more like a lounge in her home. The design incorporated moldings, a rug, an ottoman, a lovely bookcase and standard lamps. And it looked good…! Yes, I was delightfully surprised…:)

The ‘light bulb’ moment came last week when one of our clients said he would like Deco or antique furniture in his waiting – YES! This is what we do…we can incorporate our love of vintage and antique furniture, lamps, vases etc into our work, not just to our personal buying.

It’s amazing that this hasn’t really occurred to us sooner. I’m putting it down to the fact that fashion has been for minimalism for so long and we’ve explored that to the nth degree. Finally people are comfortable asking for more personalized, bespoke spaces, not just what they’ve seen in a magazine before.

I’m really excited about it!


Design shows…

I was asked the other day if I watch the design and renovation shows on TV. She was a nurse and was talking about all the medical shows (both reality and dramas). I think we had the same reaction to each of our industries. There are some we like, some we don’t, some are more realistic than others.

So, as far as favourites…? We love Candice Olsen. Even though we don’t do residential work, we love Candice’s aesthetic and how she plays with spaces. She’s a very likable presenter and its great how she shows that things can go wrong and the inevitable troubleshooting required. Another thing which you don’t often see is how well she works with her trades…this is essential. They also have fun during the process.

I also enjoyed watching the recent Australian production ‘The Renovators’ – well the parts when they were actually working on their houses…! However, didn’t get into ‘Top Design’ on another channel at the same time…

One thing that really bothers me is the shows that do things really quickly (I think there used to be one called ’60 Minute Makeover’ or something similar). The design process takes time and the quality of work is so important (particularly in our business).

Others we watch are Flipping Out, Millionaire Decorators and most of Sarah Beeny’s reno shows. Also love Country House Rescue, Selling Houses and other real estate type shows.

So, I guess the answer is ‘Yes, I love watching those renovation shows’ but I would like to see them work on commercial projects – maybe one day I could be the host of a show about designing dental surgeries…? Do you think anyone would watch…?…;)


Where Is The Value In A Surgery Design Specialist?

Many clients have asked this question. People wonder if they will save money by designing a surgery themselves or working with a builder on the design. There are a few factors you should consider.

What is your time worth?
Is your time worth money? Will organising your new fit out take your attention away from other important business matters or people in your life. Do you really have the time and energy to research what is required and liaise with potential suppliers.

What are contacts worth?
A commercial interior designer have access to a wide range of services that you may not be aware of and possibly cannot secure without the knowledge or guidance from your designer. Many industry professionals know that a professionally produced design will save them time and frustration and will quote accordingly.

What is peace of mind worth?
Issues involving workplace safety, work flow, access requirements, your equipment, merchandising and storage need to be well thought through. As this is what we specialise in we understand the issues needed to get it exactly right for you.

What is opportunity worth?
Being a stressed out and frustrated with your working conditions or building plans means that you are not able to focus on your patients. If your mind is clear and you feel relaxed you are in the best position to create a good impression and work as effectively as you would want to.

We have chosen to specialise in surgery interior design because their are so many elements to get right and we really enjoy the challenge of it. Our experience can save you wasting time and money.

I think if you are going to make the investment in a new fit out you also want the best chance of getting the result you are after. That’s where I think design can add real value. We can increase the chance that your project will be successful.