One of the most challenging, but rewarding, projects that Alicia Garey undertook was the remodeling of a home for an elderly woman who turned 100 years old. Through her company, AG Designs, she strives to create interiors that reflect the sentiment of the people who occupy them. Learn more about her work in this interview for byDesign!
What is your favorite part about being a designer?
Bringing new life into a space and creating a long lasting vision for my clients to live their best lives.
Who or what would you cite as your most important influence?
I am inspired by designer Barbara Barry, all aspects of nature and the four seasons and how we respond to them throughout the year.
Can you tell us about your personal brand?
I subscribe to the notion that form follows function. Once the bones of a project are developed, I look for the opportunity to infuse a surprise element whether it’s a focused bold color choice or a dramatic lighting element. While much of the design process can be quite serious, I also think it’s important to have fun along the way, which is ultimately reflected in the finished space. Most of my projects are collaborative in that I invite an open dialogue with my clients as we work through the design and sourcing phases. I’m sensitive to the transformative nature of design and that sometimes this can feel stressful for a homeowner. I aim to bring clarity to an environment, to pare it down to it’s essence and build it back up, and to always educate my clients on earth friendly resources as we recreate the spaces together.
What is your favorite color palette to work with?
Blue and sandy tones with accents of gray and black.
If you could travel back, what advice would you give yourself as you start this career?
Delegate work to the appropriate person rather than attempting to be all things to all people.
Please give us an overview of the more personal side of your business, how did it come to be, any interesting stories about the origin you can share?
When I was a little girl living in an apartment in New York I would rearrange my room and leave my shoes outside my bedroom door as though it was my own house. My mother was always fixing things up and she definitely had an influence on my DIY sensibilities.
My first career was in the television industry at a literary agency. I worked in that field when my children were very young. But the yearning to work in the design field caused me to change course and I began attending the Architectural Interior Design program at UCLA. Early on when my business was just getting off the ground, I did small projects and I even personally painted a client’s wall deep red. To this day I love to paint and find myself falling in love with color combinations.
Do you have anything you can share about how you and/or your firm have been affected by COVID-19, and any tips for other designers on how to navigate and cope?
AG Designs was slated to begin a few projects when the stay at home order came into effect in California in March. Because those projects had not yet begun, they were put on hold. I was grateful to have just completed some wonderful projects and one of them was published in a trade magazine in Los Angeles just before it became apparent that COVID-19 was a serious issue in the United States.
We are all certainly more aware than ever, how our homes are a source of comfort and can help promote well being. I regularly share design articles and project photos on social media both to inspire and to stay engaged with the design community. I’ve been invited to numerous webinars as well which are informative and enjoyable and help keep my spirits up during this challenging time.
After a few months of the stay at home order, I was able to take on a kitchen renovation which is proceeding safely. We minimize on site meetings and when they are necessary, we always wear our masks and keep distance.
What do you like most about DesignerInc?
DesignerInc is a fantastic resource all in one place which helps to source quality products for a range of project needs. The site is also beautiful and easy to navigate.
What was your most challenging project and why?
My most challenging project was a remodel of a four bedroom home for a client who was 100 years old. She had just celebrated her 100th birthday and soon after, a pipe had burst and flooded the home. She relocated to a condominium and planned on moving back in after the remodel (which she did do!) and so the project was designed for her needs, both physically and aesthetically.
Some of the design meetings were a little longer than usual to help her navigate the multitude of choices, but she very much wanted to be a part of the process and was a trooper, and the home turned out great.
Follow her on Instagram: @aliciagareydesigns