Here on homify we have no shortage of inspirational designs and spaces, from up-class residential houses to amazing industrial offices and even a few luxurious yachts. But often we want to find out more about the professionals behind those amazing designs, enquire about what makes them tick, what inspires them, and what’s next for their portfolios.
So, how do we obtain these answers? By means of an in-depth interview, of course! And what better professional to interview than one of the very best interior design firms in South Africa, Spegash Interiors?
Located in Johannesburg, Spegash Interiors specialises in projects in a variety of industries, from domestic to commercial and retail. One look at the firm’s portfolio will showcase a wealth of top-notch projects ranging from high-style residential spaces and game lodges to small hotels and shopping centres.
Designer Sharon Nicolaci grew up in Johannesburg. After receiving her training from the renowned German designer Monica Bosch, Sharon moved to Cape Town to gain experience at Vernon Head & Associates architectural firm. From there it was on to Innovation in the role of in-house designer before Sharon started her own consultancy to design and decorate some of Cape Town’s most inspiring homes.
Back in Johannesburg, Sharon joined Spegash Interiors as an associate designer before acquiring the studio and leading the company to new heights. We caught up with Sharon to find out more about Spegash Interiors, its high-profile designs, and what a typical day at the office is like.
Q: What drives your passion for interiors and design?
Although there is a lot of beauty in the world, there is also a lot of ugliness. Every day I am confronted with ugly and problematic spaces. I love the challenge of taking those ugly spaces and turning them into a place of beauty and function.
Q: What made you decide to get into the industry?
I knew from a young age that I wanted to do interior design. For as far back as I can remember I have had a fascination for beautiful spaces, buildings and art.
Q: Your projects have often been described as “eclectic”. Would you agree with that?
Yes, often clients, especially if they are a couple, will have different tastes and ideas. The challenge then for the decorator is to come up with an interior that will make both parties happy. That is when my experience as a designer and my understanding of design comes into play and I am able to create a space that is eclectic, well-balanced and interesting.
There is a fine line between styles that are well put-together and a space that is filled with a whole lot of different elements and becomes kitsch.
Q: Is there a signature touch that you bring to all your designs?
Yes there probably is. I think each designer will have their own signature touch and this is a very important element of design and how people choose an interior designer. My signature touch is about comfort, elegance and lux. I want the spaces I design to be practical and graceful.
Q: Do you have any rules that you absolutely work by?
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to design—just make sure it is well balanced.
Q: Describe a typical day at the office for you.
There is no typical day, every project is different. One thing that is consistent is my days are busy busy busy! When I get into the office we jump straight into projects, reviewing drawings, sourcing furnishings, creating detail specs and meeting clients.
Q: What’s the most enjoyable or rewarding aspect?
In this industry, the client is most important. Of course interior designers do this for their love of design, but at the end of the project and all the hard work is over, it’s most rewarding watching the client and seeing their visions realized; feeling like you have gone above and beyond to exceed their expectations and create something so personal to them. So yes, happy clients are the most rewarding part of my job! To see the project completed and the client is blown away with the result and you have exceeded their expectations.
Q: What is the most frustrating aspect of your job?
When people say they can do a job and to a particular deadline, then fail to do so. It’s very disappointing to receive bad or inferior works and trying to deal with this to get the project back on track can be most stressful. With 40 years in the industry, I have created a network of contractors and consultants I like to work with if the client is also happy to do so.
Q: What can your clients expect when working with you?
My utmost attention. Honesty and knowledge of the industry that I have gained over the last 40 years.
Q: What is the most challenging/enjoyable part of working with clients?
Trying to understand and get an image of what a client's expectations are into my head, then to interpret that into the actual execution of a project.
Q: Given unlimited resources and budget, what would your dream project be?
A client that says ‘here are the keys to my domain do what you like and there is no budget’. That's a project where I can let my passion, imagination and creativity run wild!
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