Today’s post is the first in our “Designer Spotlight” series where we’ll be introducing you to members of our in-home interior design team.
First up is Tisha Ballowe – Schneiderman’s Interior Design Program Manager. She’s passionate about design, and life in general, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy the interview as much as I did…
Have you always had a passion for design?
Yes. It started with creating rooms with building blocks when I was little and then constantly rearranging my bedroom. I’ve always been passionate about color, space, and texture.
My grandmother was a window designer in downtown Chicago, so I was exposed to design at an early age. I spent a lot of my childhood going to these crazy decorating shops, playing with things like lame′, tulle, and beads, and work on creating fantastic windows with her. In my mind it was like going to Disney World – it was phenomenal.
Who or what had the biggest influence on your personal design style?
Besides my grandmother, living and studying architecture in Italy when I was in my 20’s.
It really affected how I look at design and what I like. I like found objects and things that mean something to me, and for things to have a story behind them. I like to be eclectic and mix things, and I think I learned that in Europe – how to see all of these different styles and put it all together.
Your current favorite of all the design trends?
Wabi Sabi – living with pieces that aren’t perfect, and just letting go. Knowing that scratches and dents are what give character and memory vs. a pristine place that no one actually lives in.
Our live edge tables are a good example of that. We all know that wood comes from trees but we think of it in terms like door, table, etc. But when you look at the live edge you really see a tree. I love that whole concept. It’s not perfect. You’re probably going to have some of the knots or a crack in it, but that’s what gives it character.
Do you have a favorite gray paint? And a “go-to” white?
Benjamin Moore Stonington Gray (HC-170). It’s a true, pure gray that’s not too dark and not too light. It looks great against white baseboards.
Benjamin Moore White Dove (OC-12). It has a nice clean look to it. It’s a crisp white, but not stark or bright, and it usually translates well in most peoples homes.
When you need interior design inspiration, where are you most likely to look?
Instagram. It’s a great way of seeing what’s happening in the design world, and I have my favorites that I follow. They all have such great design and perspective – it’s really inspiring.
What’s one of your current favorite pieces at Schneiderman’s and why?
The vintage-inspired orange bed. The metal is so unexpected, and when you add a color like orange to it, you have a great statement piece. We always think of the bedding as being our color pop – I love that the bed can be color instead.
I also love mixing materials (metal, wood, fabric), especially in a bedroom where I can be a little more creative. This bed is perfect for that.
Do you have a favorite room in your home?
The living room – because that’s where I spend a lot of my time. I enjoy playing with wall art and frames, and I always have one big dramatic wall in my personal space.
Now that you’re in Minnesota, what’s a “Minnesotan” thing that you like to do?
Something I thought I would never do in a gazillion years…
When I moved here everyone said, “What do you mean you’ve never been to the State Fair? Everybody goes to the state fair!” I never thought I would want to go every year, but I do!
What’s the best part of being an interior designer?
I love people’s reactions when they see the design we’ve worked on together come to fruition, and I’m always so excited to see it too.
And I love that every customer is different – each day is a new day. One day I’m designing a cabin with multiple bunk beds and another day a cat highway for a customer’s bedroom. Really. You never know what you’re going to get.
I’m a problem solver and I love to take a client’s problem and make it work, make it beautiful, and see it come to life.
What is one of the biggest decorating mistakes that people are likely to make?
Putting a TV set over a fireplace. Visually it’s not pleasing and it’s not at the right angle for viewing. I think a fireplace should be a calming and soothing element for the home. So put a nice mirror or artwork over it and let the living room just be the living room.
Share a bit of your design philosophy…
1. There’s no hard core interior design rules. Obviously furniture needs to fit and function in your space but, as far as “does this go with this?”, I feel like you can make anything work.
2. The main thing is that you buy what you love and enjoy everything you have in your home. Don’t worry about if someone else doesn’t like it – do you like it?
3. Your furniture should be comfortable, lived in, and lived on.
4. And be realistic with yourself. Design for your lifestyle – not the one you think you should have or that you see on TV.
Thanks so much Tisha! It was really fun getting to know you better and we’re looking forward to meeting the rest of your team in the future.
P.S. If you’re in love with the Schneiderman’s brand, but need some expert direction and advice to move forward, our in-home design team would love to help! Contact any of our six showrooms and ask for an in-home team member.