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Tips from an Interior Designer

“Staying within a project budget depends greatly on the finishes chosen”.

We’re thrilled to bring you insights from Kristen Ongstad, the owner and principal designer for AZ Neighbor.  Kristen’s philosophy of blending practicality with aesthetic appeal shines through in every project, making her a sought-after expert in home transformations. Join us as we learn about AZ Neighbor’s view on design and remodel success and discover the trends and practices that are defining the future of our industry.

Part I: Tips from an Interior Designer

INTERVIEWER: What are some ways to stay within budget when designing a space?

Kristen Ongstad: Staying within a project budget depends greatly on the finishes chosen. Some materials have less expensive “look-alikes” for example; a porcelain tile with a marble look can be substituted for a natural marble tile.

INTERVIEWER: How do you mix different styles in a design?

Kristen Ongstad: Mixing different styles in a design can be a great way to make the design unique.  However, it is important to remember that mixing too many colors and/or styles can create a chaotic room.  It works best if one major color scheme is the cohesive factor.  When the colors are organized and consistent, the styles and shapes within the room can help bring visual and architectural interest.

INTERVIEWER: Can you give an example of an area you created that you found challenging?

Kristen Ongstad: I can’t think of a particular job, we have such great people around that the challenges are very short-lived and I don’t remember them. 

The most challenging aspect of a remodel however is to take the client’s wish list and hopes for the space and create it.  The part that makes this hard is the client has ideas in their mind of what they would like and our job is to draw the information out so we can make it a reality that is similar to their ideas.

INTERVIEWER: What do you believe sets your work apart from other interior designers?

Kristen Ongstad: My design differs from other interior designers because I like to keep the main objects and features in the room more neutral.  I then like to add visual interest in items that can be swapped out and changed easily with seasonal decorating.

INTERVIEWER: How do you stay current with design trends and industry innovations? How do you balance incorporating trends with creating timeless designs?

Kristen Ongstad: To stay current with design trends, I often browse materials and relevant articles. When our reps deliver new materials, I look into the styles to see how it is installed and ways to incorporate the new materials into various spaces.

INTERVIEWER: How do you approach sustainability and eco-conscious design in your work? Have you integrated any specific sustainable practices or materials into your designs?

Kristen Ongstad: Sustainability is important in interior design.  Not only are materials used that are unable to be disposed of easily but also time and money are spent to create a space.  I strive to give clients value for their money with designs that will be beautiful and fresh for years to come.

INTERVIEWER: Do you have some rules of thumb that you follow when doing a home remodel with your clients?  

Kristen Ongstad: When looking at a home remodel, I start with the potential and current use.  I strive to find ways that maximize functionality and beauty thus creating a space that fits the way the client lives and entertains. I look into options that are low-maintenance, multi-use, and transitional.  I believe these three standards allow for the ability to adapt to different situations and circumstances that arise while continuing to enjoy the space.