Got a knack for turning dumps into dream houses? Interior design may be just right for you.
We spoke with two designers about their jobs.
Vicente Wolf, has worked in hotel, building and restaurant design. He’s also the owner of VW Home showroom in midtown Manhattan.
How did you get started?
I started in a showroom … sweeping the floors and folding samples.
What are some perks of the job?
You can express your creativity. If you work for yourself, you’re setting your own schedule. When you start doing your own work, it can be very lucrative, though not in the beginning. As you get more experience, salaries get higher. A top person at a design firm will probably make around $100,000.
What are some of the challenges?
One of the biggest challenges is understanding that you have to pay your dues. You can’t just walk in off the street and get a senior position.
You also have to wear different hats. You have to be creative, a business person and deal with clients.
What are some of your favorite city stores to find something for the home?
I love the flea market on 39th and Ninth and Housing Works and City Opera thrift shops.
I love Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel and Restoration Hardware. All those places have great merchandise at a good price.
What are some easy tricks anyone can do?
Good lighting is important.
Putting a color on your walls can give the room a whole sense of style.
I have found things in the street, added a coat of paint or a slip cover and they’ve become wonderful. It’s about keeping your eyes open and knowing what you need.
Nina Ferrer, 32, is a Brooklyn native, a Pratt graduate and currently a contestant on HGTV’s “Design Star.” She most recently worked at Polo Ralph Lauren, but she’s now working independently, specializing in retail.
What do you like best about the industry?
I look at design almost like psychology. You meet with someone, they have a dilemma and you resolve it by creating a beautiful environment for them.
How does payment work?
Many designers charge a flat fee or an hourly rate. … A lot of times it’ll also be a price per square foot.
When I got started out of school, I was charging $50 an hour or $500 for drafting an idea and $500 for doing a room. You can’t charge a lot at the beginning. The most a designer is probably going to charge is $250 an hour.
What’s it like being on the show?
It’s probably one of the best experiences of my life. I equate it to being back in college — being sequestered with 12 people who are creative. I was pushed to think outside the box every minute for five weeks.
What’s your main tip for NY city dwellers in tiny apartments?
I think often in small apartments, people are trying to create two spaces out of one. Instead of having a bed and a sofa, just have a daybed, have a seating area around it, and maybe storage underneath. You want it to feel spacious rather than closed. Don’t divide too much.