By Jessica Herring
If you’re interested in making updates to your home and want to know the brains behind decorating a room or even a house, then you should consider contacting an interior design company. Professionals in this field can suggest ways to keep your home fresh and inviting. Companies, such as Lee Bryan Interior Design, (LBID), a full-service interior design company in Atlanta, Georgia, consists of highly knowledgeable and skilled designers who will help you transform your home.
Lee Bryan is the founder and co-owner of LBID along with his husband, Joe Keller. Bryan grew up on a farm in South Georgia. He didn’t know that in the future he would end up being an interior designer. While a student at Valdosta State in Georgia, he picked up an issue of “Architectural Digest,” a magazine featuring the best architects and designers, and became interested in learning more about the field. He decided to write a letter to the designer whose work he saw in the magazine and asked how to become involved in the interior design field. The designer wrote back to him and provided him with a list of schools that have accredited programs. Bryan decided to transfer to the University of Georgia and earned his degree in Interior Design.
He has been an interior designer for 31 years. Right after he graduated from college, he became involved in the field. He started his first business in Miami in 1993 and then moved to Atlanta in 1998.
“I enjoy the people I get to work with, and I enjoy their creativity,” Bryan said.
As a designer he enjoys the variety of projects he is able to work on, so his days aren’t monotonous, he said. He is always doing different types of activities.
Bryan is appreciative of how he has been able to travel to a significant amount of places for work. By going to trade shows in several different countries for projects, he has gotten a broader view of the world. He also owns an Italian kitchen and furniture showroom, so he feels it’s easier to stay updated about the newest and most cutting-edge products at an international fair than a High Point show, he said.
Bryan encourages homeowners to keep photographs of things they like either in a scrapbook or on a Pinterest page. It helps to have photos because clients may not always know the terminology to tell the designer about their decorating. These images can be used as inspiration, not as something to replicate.
“If someone is paying a designer, they deserve some originality,” he said.
To decorate people’s homes, Bryan needs to learn more about the clients because it’s difficult to create an interior design for them without knowing about their lifestyle, Bryan said. It’s equally as important to listen to the client’s wants and needs, plan ahead, take accurate measurements and think about scaling, he said.
“If the space is pretty but doesn’t function for the client the job is a failure,” Bryan said.
During his job, Bryan finds it challenging dealing with the other trades, contractors, fabricators. When everyone is busy it can be hard to get things promptly, he said.
“We are like the client’s shrink. You never spill the beans,” he said.
For him to effectively do his job he really has to get to know more about his clients than most other people in their lives, Bryan said. Also, the designer needs to have a degree of decorum and keep their secrets private.
Bryan has enjoyed working with his clients over the years, he said. Many of his clients consist of repeat projects.
“One client, in particular, was a wonderful Eastern European couple,” he said.
He was designing a penthouse for the couple in Miami Beach since they wanted a larger space. The couple asked him to travel to New York City to see their living arrangements and lifestyle before he starts the project.
“It was great,” he said.
The couple’s apartment in New York City was on the corner of 63rd Street and 5th Ave.
“I was awed by a museum-quality art collection,” he said.
The couple were Holocaust survivors. They had a collection of paintings hanging in their apartment with artwork from Van Gogh, Renoir, Chagall, Picasso and many other well-known painters.
“[They] had done great in their lives post-World War II, and everything they have was well deserved,” Bryan said.
Bryan advises future interior designers to learn as much as they can about the history of design and to take some business classes. He spends part of his day doing design, but since he owns his own company, he also needs to know the fundamentals of business management and accounting as well.
“Also, listen. If you don’t listen well to your clients, you can’t provide them the service they deserve,” he said.