Welcome to the (almost) weekend! Today, I’m chatting with interior designer Ghislaine Viñas, who was also a fellow panel speaker at the Benjamin Moore event two weeks ago. Her designs are edgy and cool, and she has so much expertise to share…so let’s get to it!
Robin Baron: Welcome Ghislaine! Tell us what you do at Ghislaine Viñas Interior Design.
Ghislaine Viñas: On a day to day basis, I work with my team to keep our projects moving forward. We always have a collection of projects happening all usually at different stages, and we need to keep moving forward on them. I am involved in all aspects of work, but I am really fortunate to have a dynamic team of designers working for me!
In the beginning of the projects, I work with the clients to determine the look and feel of the space and to identify what the space is all about, as well as working through the more specific requirements of the project. Once we get into the design phase, I work with my team of designers to further establish our direction. My week is usually filled with various meetings either with clients or colleagues. We are busy developing a line of various products, which is fun, but it seems to take to the back burner very often as we move forward on our design projects for clients.
RB: What do you love most about your job?
GV: I love the creative aspect of my work. I don’t necessarily sit down and design as much as I used to, but I tend to be more of a curator. I’ve become a lot more “big picture!” I have great relationships with my designers, and we each bring something interesting to the table. We’ve been working together long enough that we all know what the aesthetic expectations are. I’m not always right about stuff, but I’m pretty sure about what I like and don’t like! No mincing words in this department.
I love collaborations both with my clients and the people who work for me. I have a pretty short attention span and get bored doing the same thing for too long, so I like that I can bounce from project to project with my team while they stay focused. I’ve became smarter about realizing what my strengths are as I have grown my business, and this has been helpful to me. But what I love most is laughing and smiling as we work through our projects! I try to make sure that people in my office are happy with what they are doing, and I try to make sure that my clients enjoy the design process.
RB: You were born in the Netherlands and grew up in South Africa – has this influenced your design business?
GV: I think it has just taught me how to adapt to different cultures. Not knowing exactly “what I am” has made me more curious about what has influenced me and how. Even though I was born in the Netherlands and Dutch was my first language, I speak it with an accent. In the Netherlands people always ask me where I’m from, and when I say “I’m Dutch,” they laugh at me.
Growing up in South Africa, I was a Dutch kid living in South Africa…and now in the United states, I am a Dutch person who grew up in South Africa. I’m OK with this – I have my heart in many places. I think that is why living in NYC works for me…. everyone is from somewhere else.
RB: You have clients on both the West and East coast. Is there a difference in design needs?
GV: I don’t think so. I work from my heart, and no matter where the project is located, my heart is always in the same place! It’s more the clients that I focus on, and try to figure out how they live, what their interests are, where they come from and what their family heritage is. These are the things that guide my design direction…coasts…not so much!
RB: When starting a new project, how do you start the design process?
GV: When being interviewed by a residential client, I make sure they are ready for the “GVID ride.” We don’t do beiges, or neutrals or traditional interiors – clients must be willing to have some fun, and be able to identify from my portfolio that this is a direction they are comfortable taking. I’m not saying I wont take on a new challenge…I love challenges, but it has to be something exciting, different and “out of the box.” I start the design process by talking to the clients…specific stuff, general stuff – anything to gather information.
RB: How would you describe your personal decor?
GV: I believe in the “aesthetics of happiness.” I like creating spaces that feel happy and easy. I use color in a very specific way and experiment with it. For me, crisp clean spaces feel good…it’s the way I design. I like to infuse humor and wit into my work, and we always find details that make our interiors unique to the client.
RB: Last but not least…what does fabulous mean to you?
Fabulous to me…a day at the amusement park with my girls Saskia and Mia; a vacation with family and friends; swimming in the ocean; sitting in one room with my whole family present – parents, siblings and all the nephews and nieces!