To meet Christina Gore is like seeing a lifelong friend for the first time: You get her, and she gets you.

 

It is not every day you encounter such people, but Gore, owner of Christina Gore Interior Design in Little Rock, has turned this unique aspect of her personality into a welcoming, accessible interior design company specializing in creative use of design, color and personal touches from the client.

 

As one satisfied customer, Amber Hickey Cearley, said, “She came into my house and listened to what I wanted and my budget. She never once made me feel bad for not being able to afford certain things. She used existing pieces and added new and did all this while loving on my baby. Love her!”

 

With spring all around, it is time to take this rebirth of color and freshness into your home’s interior and exterior spaces. AY About You sat down with Gore to get her thoughts on incorporating seasonal trends into an overall look, and how to utilize items in a home in new and refreshing ways.

 

 

AY: It may seem like a rhetorical question, but for some homeowners, why should they considers hiring an interior designer?

 

Christina Gore: A designer can help you find a balance of function and beauty in your home. Our goals at Christina Gore Interior Design are always to create a special space to build memories in while creating a cohesive design, functional to the life you live.

 

AY: While it is thrilling to be a homeowner with so much opportunity to make your home unique to yourself, your family and your lifestyle, it can be wholly overwhelming. How do you, as a designer, help clients feel more at ease in the process?

 

CG: That is an excellent point, and it is good to keep in mind that interior designers aren’t just creatives. We also can serve as a mediator between client and contractor/builder and project manager for your project. We can help keep budgets and timelines on track from the beginning to the end, so we are more like collaborators and partners with the clients to ensure they receive the result they are looking for.

 

Christina Gore’s eye to luxurious detail that is still functional and accessible is displayed. Small touches like a crystal chandelier over a tub, an antique chest reimagined as a sink, and a bright, airy kitchen with traditional materials used in nontraditional ways showcase her aesthetic.

 

AY: Your work, particularly what you do around the seasons and holidays, is truly accessible and makes a home both stunning and inviting. What would you say clients see as your design aesthetic? What are you most known for?

 

CG: Thank you! Well, I definitely have an eclectic design aesthetic and love using color. I tend to mix styles and textures to keep a room interesting and inviting. I love working with families to create warm spaces that are not only beautiful but personal, particularly special rooms they feel comfortable living in. I have three children myself, and a handful of pets, so I am comfortable and conscientious of the needs and challenges that families face in their home.

 

AY: What elements do you base your room designs on? Is it color first then accessories, or do you take what is already available and build from there?

 

CG: Each project is different and unique, and the starting points are often different for each project. Sometimes, we may base an entire design on a color a client loves, other times we may use an existing item or find a special element such as an antique architectural item to incorporate that inspires the design of the entire project. Interior design is a creative process that can be based on any one item or element important or special to the client.

 

 

AY: What design trends do you see as having staying power?

 

CG:Is gold going away soon?” is the most asked question I get when collaborating with clients. Gold finishes on plumbing, lighting, hardware and decor are here to stay.

 

AY: What trends do you see that people should avoid?

 

CG: Gray has been a big trend for years and still is, but make sure you are selecting a warm gray and balancing it with warmer undertones such as wood stains or soft whites. It can be a safe choice, so I find it can be easy for homeowners to accidentally end up with gray everything, which is something to avoid. Gray can be beautiful, but there are a lot of beautiful colors out there, too, to pair with it.

 

AY: That is excellent advice because gray is seen so much in interior and exterior spaces. Thinking on that, how can you transform a room if you are not sure where to begin?

 

CG: I always recommend starting with some inspiration photos. I also tell clients to write down what they love about those photos. Is it the way the room makes you feel or specific items or colors that catch your eye? Write down a list of priorities and a list of wants for your transformation. I always refer to these lists and photos along the way to make sure we are keeping on track with our goals for our transformation.

 

Next, begin decluttering, and getting rid of any outdated/worn-out items, including items you do not love or are not serving a purpose anymore. A blank slate is always the first step. If you are working on a room refresh, try creating a staging zone in your house, and start by removing all decor from the room into the zone. This is especially helpful when working with lots of shelves.

 

After you have decluttered, clean the room well, and make sure light bulbs are all a warm white. Then begin placing the sizable items you are keeping back into the room. Add decor back in thoughtfully and selectively. After completing this, you can really see the “holes” in the room where you need to replace or fill with added items, whether those are finishes, furniture, fixtures or decor.

 

 

AY: Your seasonal décor is so inviting, and it fits the rooms and entryways in exceptional ways. How can someone keep up with holidays and the seasons without overwhelming the room, and how can you do this within a budget and still look great?

 

CG: Do not be afraid of removing and/or storing some of your daily decor while displaying holiday decor. Keep the rest of the room very simple during peak holiday seasons with lots of decor on display, such as Christmas. You know how clothing stylists say you should always remove one accessory on yourself before leaving the house to keep your outfit from being too much?

 

AY: Yes! Coco Chanel said that.

 

CG: Well, this is true for seasonal décor, too, and this costs you nothing to do. Keep it clean and simple, and let your seasonal holiday decor be the show.

 

AY: Love the analogy of fashion and home design. It makes sense both what you wear and how you dress your home are reflections of your personal style. That brings up a question about how you, as a designer, get to understand a client’s aesthetic. What is your process for learning a client’s tastes and needs, and how does their taste affect the overall design?

 

CG: My process always begins with a one-on-one conversation discussing the needs and wants of the space and by making a list of priorities. We look through photos together and determine the design elements we love in each photo. I try to mix in these design elements with their priority list and put them together with my own design aesthetic to create an individual and beautiful design for them.

 

AY: What is one thing you think your clients say after you design their room?

 

CG:This is so ME and was so fun!” I aim to make sure each space represents the client and not just my aesthetic.

 

I want their home to be functional for them, their family and their lifestyle. A gorgeous room means nothing if it cannot be lived in, and I always aim for my clients to have fun while we work together because they should enjoy this process as much as I do.

 

AY: What would you like prospective clients to know before hiring you as a designer? How can they prepare?

 

CG: Function can be beautiful, and beautiful can be on budget. Everyone’s project is different, and your project should start with you and be about you. Communication is key, so I always recommend communicating budget and expectations up front.

 

AY: I know collaborating with an interior designer for the first time can be intimidating to some new homeowners. What advice would you give them to help make the process less so?

 

CG: Pictures are so helpful as a visual communication for both client and designer. No detail is too small or too early to communicate to your designer, so always start with your photos and your priority lists and we can take it from there. I do like to remind clients though that photos should serve as an inspiration, not just as a recreation, as many variables in your space may be vastly different than an online or magazine photo and can affect the end design. Budget and existing structural elements are a few examples of this, but it does not mean we cannot create the same aesthetic or feel of that inspiration photo.

 

Keep an open mind, and I promise you we will not only make the design process enjoyable but create a gorgeous space for you and your family.

 

READ ALSO: 100(ish) More Things to Do in The Natural State