Behind the Design: Elizabeth Aurandt of mercer INTERIOR
Designer Spotlight: Elizabeth Aurandt of mercer INTERIOR – New York/Hudson Valley, NY
What’s the most exciting part about starting a new project?
All of the amazing possibilities, being able to find cool new products, and developing a new relationship with my client.
How do you stay in-the know about new-to-market products and materials to incorporate in your designs?
I read a lot of design magazines and find inspiration everywhere, from trade shows, to photos I see on the Internet, to new spaces I see as I travel and visit clients and project sites.
Are there certain trends, materials and/or colors you’re particularly into right now?
I am enjoying the warm modern aesthetic right now. l love using natural textures mixed with simplified forms, and find ways to fit it into projects in more traditional homes. I enjoy a clean, uncluttered look.
Who are some of your favorite New York/Hudson Valley vendors that you enjoy working with?
I really like working with Watermark for plumbing work!
In your opinion, what’s the most essential element to a room?
I believe each space needs to have a balance between style and function – it’s important for each area to have a use, and I make sure that’s at the forefront of my design. At the same time, I want the space to be stylish and not look like something that was thrown together for utility.
How does designing make you feel?
Sometimes I feel very stressed, but when things are going well, I feel really energized! It’s often a roller coaster, with really high highs, and really stressful lows, but I absolutely love it and wouldn’t have it any other way!
What’s your business mantra?
Balance function and amazing style with quality and great design.
When you start a new project, how do you get to know your client and the space?
We speak on the phone, meet in person in the space, and I take a lot of “before” photos of any space I work on. This helps me understand my starting point so I know if I can use some of what is already there to help keep client costs as low as possible!
How do you maintain good relationships with tradespeople and contractors?
I try to focus on communication and timely payments. I know most things can be solved quickly and easily with a phone call or a visit to the project site, and I firmly believe in showing appreciation for the people I work with on projects. Making sure payments are made on time is always a good idea too, as it confirms that their work is valued, and they know they can trust me.
What’s the most exciting part about being an interior designer? And what’s the most daunting part?
Exciting: Completing a project and when the client is thrilled! I’m not in this for the money.
Daunting: There is always something that goes wrong which comes with a lot of stress and headache. There’s never a way to predict which problem is going to happen, and when, so trying to always stay on top of that can be stressful. Even when a problem is completely out of my control, I always feel personally responsible for something that may go wrong.
In your opinion, how is the interior design industry evolving over time?
I feel like there is some negative evolution because of speed and easy access to everything. People believe they are an expert designer simply because they can put together a cute Pinterest board. The advent of HGTV and quickie design shows make it look like it’s a quick process – very trivial, and simple, but it’s far from it. There is great detail that goes into any kind of design work that people don’t see on shows like that, so they don’t always have realistic expectations when it comes to their own design work. One thing I am loving is the trend returning to handmade, small-batch products from makers, people who still believe in the art of making things with their hands, from scratch. There is a lot more uniqueness in the market now because people are veering less towards mass-produced items, and more towards unique, handmade pieces. There are a lot of cool new designers and makers popping up – getting to see this first hand has been fun!
Why did you join Ivy?
I came across Ivy by accident on Facebook – I thought Ivy looked interesting so I went to the website to check it out. I had never invested in business management software before, but I knew it was time considering I was feeling overwhelmed by the manual work. I was impressed with the functionality of Ivy, even in the early iterations of the product.
How has Ivy helped to ease your pain points?
Ivy keeps everything organized nicely and makes creating proposals, generating purchase orders and ordering products very easy. I also like that Ivy integrates with QuickBooks Online. I love that the Ivy team is always very responsive and has a passion for discovering new ways to help each individual designer with their specific needs and preferences.
What’s an Ivy feature you can’t live without?
The connection to QuickBooks Online, as this integration has made a significant positive impact on my accounting.
Photography courtesy of Emily Gilbert