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Faithful Design with Debi Carson

Understanding an interior designer’s skills with Debi Carson

What is the difference between an interior designer and an interior decorator?

So often, laypeople confuse the job roles using the terms interchangeably, so VIPY set out to discover more about the specific skill set of an interior designer with Debi Carson.

Debi holds the highest certification an interior designer can accomplish in the United States with a NCIDQ. This qualification is defined by the US Council for interior design (CIDQ) as “the professional difference between an ‘interior designer’ and ‘interior decorator.’”

​The CIDQ continue, “Interior design is the art and science of understanding people’s behaviour to create functional spaces within a building. Decoration is the furnishing or adorning of a space with fashionable or beautiful things. In short, interior designers may decorate, but decorators do not design.”

Often, Debi refers to herself as an interior architect as this defines her role, qualifications, and level of responsibility appropriately within a construction project team.

With over 20 years’ experience, Debi’s career in the Caribbean began as a senior interior designer with OBM International in the BVI.

After seven years with the company, Debi set out to pursue her own business. She quickly gained a profound understanding of the diversity within interior design from extensive work across various facets in the industry. Her resume ranges through new construction and development, renovation and expansion projects, residential and commercial scenarios spanning from the budget conscious to luxury, Government, assisted-living, historic properties, and immense hospitality developments.

“A typical project consists of client liaison and briefing, development of design schematics, space allocation, detail design development and documentation, on-site project supervision through to the last touches of installation,” she said.

With developing modern technology, interior designers have to be able to use the tools available with precision and Debi has adapted to this evolution flawlessly. “Much like a pencil is what we would use to draw an expression on paper, the new technology is an extension of the tools used to reflect design solutions,” she said. “It’s the skill and training behind the use of the pencil or computer programme that leads to a successful end result.”

Debi enjoys the responsibility of analysing project needs, listening to the client, understanding and interpreting goals, and fighting for a client’s vision to be implemented to the fullest. She escorts her clients from the drawing board through to final installation.

With every project, Debi brings her technical skills and artistic eye to create functional spaces that are a reflection of the occupants’ personality. With the prerequisite to be a ‘people person’ as part of the interior designer vocation, Debi comprehends her client’s needs and relishes faithful replication of their idea(s).

The designer relayed that her passionate occupation is a culmination of innovation, niche experience, knowing one’s resources, and vision comprehension. Empathising with the client on a project, she coordinates with the architect’s understanding of the building infrastructure. This means function of the property, aesthetic, and safety are goals she achieves smoothly.

“I love the site work process as the dreams start to become reality,” she said of her hands-on approach with the team of contractors, specialty sub-contractors, fabricators, and suppliers. “There are so many layers to the project and it’s amazing to see all of the elements come together.”

Alongside the multitude of residential projects, Debi was integral to the renovation and expansion of an old home in Great Camanoe last summer—an example of a full interior design work-through.

“All areas were renovated and redesigned,” she said. “I was responsible for conceptual layouts, specifications, procurement, and site visits through to the final fabrications.”

Her renowned commercial works include the interiors of Conyers Dill & Pearman in Commerce House, Harney Westwood & Riegels’ Main Street offices, and Tortola Sports Club. AVL, and the CCT buildings have also been blessed with her proficient design mind.

Visitors and residents will also see Debi’s design signature at Peter Island Resort and Scrub Island Resort’s villa—a handful of the retreats she’s worked on. Additionally, she is the interior designer for The Brandywine Estate Bayside Residences, overseeing the new construction development of 10 luxury town-houses. “I’ve worked with the local architect and client team to establish floor plan layouts and details,” she said. “All interior specifications from concept through procurement and installation,” she continued. “As this is a development project, we did target market analysis in our initial explorations and design proposals.”

Two extra projects she’s working on are a new beachfront home and renovation of an existing home, both in Long Bay. These are due to complete in spring of 2018.

For Debi, the general scope of the process remains the same for much of these projects with one huge, defining variable; she tailors her service completely to the needs and vision of the client.

Another project worthy of mention that the multitasking interior designer is still committed to since 2015, is Nanny Cay Resort’s luxury condominiums. Dealing with all interior and exterior finishes and fixtures, her work also encompasses coordination with the home buyers—reinforcing her loyalty to meeting clients’ wishes.

Maintaining insight of her clients’ visions, it’s highly probable we’re going to see Debi’s signature interior design increasingly around the British Virgin Islands in years to come. It’s clear that the most prudent property developments employ her skills early on in a project, thereby acquiring the most fruitful use of her abilities from blueprint to correct expression of their requirements.

Photography by Rainbow Visions BVI

Erin Paviour-Smith

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