By Jessica Herring
With Inspiration from Chirigos Design
Since everyone has hectic lives it can be difficult to find the time to work on the style of your home. However, with help from professional interior decorator, Bridget Chirigos, you no longer need to try and find time in your busy life to work on redecorating your home. She will take all the hard and tedious decorating decisions into her own hands and help you create your dream home.
Chirigos, CEO of Chirigos Designs in Minneapolis, Minnesota, felt inspired to be an interior decorator after attending Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York and trying to decorate her apartment as a broke college student. With her innovative skills and creativity, she turned used and broken furniture into sophisticated and homey furniture.
Chirigos began to “sidewalk shop” and found a piano bench that she faux painted and used as a coffee table, a broken chair she used as a side table and a sleeper sofa from the Salvation Army, she said. Also, she painted all the walls and made curtains out of one dollar per yard muslin.
“It turned out fabulous,” she said.
Designing her apartment with these old items allowed her to realize her true love, which is transforming homes into spaces that provide comfort and nourish the souls that live in them, she said.
“Environments can have a big impact on how we feel and our homes have the greatest impact of all,” she said.
Chirigos ended up changing her major from apparel to marketing with home furnishings product development as her secondary major.
After she graduated college and finished working in New York in the home furnishings industry she moved back to Texas and changed her career path. She started working in recruiting, she said. It wasn’t until 2009 when she was home with her son who was 3-years-old at the time that she decided to decorate her friend’s home and realize she should start her own business.
“[Her house] turned out fantastic,” she said.
After helping her friend, she knew then she had to take the leap so she opened Chirigos Designs and within a year she had several clients, some pretty large projects and hired an assistant. Chirigos Designs is in its eighth year and is still doing well, she said.
“It’s been an incredible journey ever since,” she said.
As a decorator, her favorite experience so far has been when she decided to start her company, Chirigos Designs. She took her son to a pottery class and a woman there asked her what she did for a living. Chirigos had only done one small project for a neighbor at the time so she was too nervous to respond, she said.
When she finally built up the courage she said she is an interior decorator. The woman ended up scheduling a consultation to meet with Chirigos and had her master bedroom and various other rooms in her house redesigned. Less than a year later the woman became Chirigos’ assistant, she said.
“She’s been a true blessing to me and a key part of my success,” she said.
Chirigos advises homeowners looking to change the design of their home to contact a professional decorator.
“It is worth the investment and will ultimately save you money and preserve your sanity,” she said.
Also, people who are interested in changing the appearance of their homes should know ahead of time about their budget and have an idea about how much they would like to spend on the project and then plan out the work. When Chirigos first meets her clients she visualizes how the room or home will look when fully finished, she said. Then she comes up with a plan with her clients and if the budget allows, she gets all the work finished at once. If the budget isn’t feasible for that option, then she works on the tasks over a length of time.
She spends a majority of her time interacting with her clients asking questions, listening and setting expectations, she said. Often she is involved with her projects are from inception to completion, she said. She is very active in the design process and touches almost everything throughout the project. Even in her three-hour consultations where she comes alongside do-it-yourself people she still makes sure to stay very involved, Chirigos said.
“Attention to details makes the difference between a successful project and one that’s not,” she said.
Chirigos loves seeing her clients’ eyes light up because they are thrilled to have a space that reflects who they are as a person and functions better than they thought for their lifestyle, she said. In addition, she enjoys surprising her clients and adding something they didn’t even know they wanted or needed to their space.
“If I get better every day then so will my business and ultimately [I’ll be] more valuable to my clients,” Chirigos said.
Chirigos encourages future interior decorators not to be so overwhelmed about who they are as a person. Instead, they should focus on what they consider their strengths, she said. If someone isn’t prepared to own a business, then they should work for a firm where they can gain experience and learn more about the design industry and how to run a business, she said.
“Client service, time management, project management and understanding the financials is crucial to a successful business,” she said.
If decorators aren’t sure ahead of time how to charge for their services and how to appropriately manage their projects, they could end up dealing with a mess and it can cause a strain on their creativity. In addition, Chirigos encourages aspiring decorators to always be open to learning new information. They should collaborate with vendors and contractors, she said.
“It’s interesting getting to know each and every client, their family, their story, their style, and then bringing that into the design,” Chirigos said.
Chirigos Designs is a reliable and efficient interior decorating firm committed to having their clients excited about living in a new and upscale home.