Our Interview with Laura Schwartz-Muller of FOUR POINT Design+Construction
As part of our exploration of the art and industry of interior design, architecture and decor, we have conducted a series of interviews and asked some of our more prominent expert “colleagues in style” all about their craft.
What do you love about being an interior designer?
What I love most about being an interior designer actually is the dynamic, intimate and always-spontaneous relationship between me and the project: the client; the materials; the space; and the challenge and inspiration that change always presents. It’s the quest to take the client’s vision and transform it into a space that is more useful, healthy, creative and of course, more beautiful and truly reflects “them” that I love. It’s an incredible feeling when our clients tell us that they feel the completed transformed space is a perfectly true visual illustration of their inner spirit and vision; and one that is productive, enduring and skillfully executed.
What makes for an effective client/interior designer work relationship?
Communication, honesty, transparency and CARE.
What advice do you have for people living in a loft or small apartment to best utilize the space, without sacrificing style?
Select grand (and sometimes large) quality pieces that can function in multiple ways, staying effective without too much encroachment on the overall design and functionality of the space. Standard and even large pieces (furniture, appliances and art) in small spaces CAN and DO work.
It depends of course on the proportion, scale and color, but most importantly, large pieces work best when the finishes are tone-on-tone. For example it’s best to select finishes that “blur” the edge lines between the large objects and wall color, flooring, etc. This gives the space a much larger feel as the eye is free to capture the entire space and not stop and start trying to define the negative space, which smaller contrasting furniture can evoke. Color and contrast can then rest effectively upon these pieces for a dynamic small space.
Path of least resistance
Path of travel in a small space is KEY! A thoughtful space plan gives the SMALL space a sense of ease, comfort and operating accessibility, especially between the static large furniture pieces. They should be placed strategically in all operating “positions” to encourage effective use. Who wants to move furniture to get into bed? The bed will either end up open all the time or not at all. Why go to the trouble of designing a gorgeous space that doesn’t work?
What room do you most enjoy working on and why?
That’s a tough one…I love ALL types of spaces and enjoy the challenge and delight that each type of space presents. However, if I had to narrow it down with regard to residential projects, I would have to say I’m a Kitchen and Bath gal. As a hobby Chef and Mom of four, I love spending time in kitchens. It’s not about “size” folks, it’s about function! Of course, the aesthetic possibilities are limitless and so exciting.
Then there’s the BATH! Ahhh, what a delicious space this can be! They are often the sparkly jewel of the home: from small and over-the-top powder rooms, to large master spas and everything in between. Powder rooms, in particular, can be courageous little spaces that make an incredible impression and so often represent the innermost character and personality of the owner/client!
What trends to you see in the future for loft/apartment living?
Live/Work Loft Apartment spaces are becoming more mainstream and, for small spaces, they are no longer representative of those with “less” or “cheaper” living. In fact, downsizing is now considered thoughtful, responsible, smarter living, which makes multi-purpose functionality in design “in demand.”
Also driving the trend is vibrant new client: The transitioning multi-generational client. We now see this new client as the single parent, city dweller with a second residence outside the city, the young professional, student, entrepreneur, empty-nester, or the eco-conscious dwellers without vehicles looking for a “community” way of life. Therefore, we see the trend moving towards a wider offering of loft apartments as far as size, location, style and cost.
Apartment dwelling is now CHIC! Clients want a space that’s beautiful and luxurious (and yes, glamorous), efficient and can be used for modern entertaining as well as work. No longer is the client willing to sacrifice style oversize, which is such a positive trend for the design community.
So the love affair with the “artist’s loft” continues and for me, it will always be as romantic as it gets. Today we see loft living at its absolute best and most diverse. From luxe penthouse suites to the modern loft apartment community living that can be seen in the enthusiastic re-urbanization of Downtown Los Angeles: Loft living is “IN” folks.
CEO, Founder and Principal
Four Point Interior Design+Construction Inc. is a Los Angeles based award-winning firm whose portfolio includes diverse residential and commercial design-build projects which run the gambit from homes, restaurants and executive offices, to private airport hangers, multi-family condominiums and mixed-use retail. Laura also serves as the American Society of Interior Designers’ (ASID) Professional Development Director/Los Angeles Chapter Board of Directors and Chair of Community Service “Outreach and Action” Programs. To learn more about her and her work, please visit: 4ptdc.com