I’m so excited to introduce Christina Higham.
She’s an Interior Designer at the Studio at One Kings Lane in SF.
I discovered Christina’s work via Instagram and instantly fell in love with her aesthetics. Her style is California cool and bohemian.
Read on to learn how Christina went from working in PR and Marketing to Interior Designer.
1. How did you get into interior design? Did you always know you wanted to be an interior designer?
I always knew I wanted to do something creative – I was a dancer growing up and studied Art History at UCLA which had an emphasis on modern art and architecture.
After a quick stint in the art world, I moved back up to San Francisco and started doing Marketing and PR for an advertising agency. It was a great job but my heart just wasn’t in it. My office was doing a major office move and I was tasked with managing the project- which included handling renovations, selecting furniture and lighting and translating our company’s brand into a physical space.
Her big break
It was honestly the first time I had ever been excited to go to work. I ultimately hired an interior design firm to finish the project, and the owner of the firm became somewhat of a mentor to me. She gave me great advice- she said to take my technical classes (CAD, Revit) so that I would have basic skills to apply to entry level design positions with, and the rest could likely be learned on the job.
I started freelancing on the side, in the beginning doing projects for free to build my portfolio, and then eventually started doing eDesign through the Decorist, which was such a confidence boost for me professionally, because I was actually getting paid to do what I wanted to do – plus it helped me build my portfolio. I was a huge One Kings Lane fan, and when I heard they were opening a Studio in San Francisco I jumped at the opportunity to be one of their designers.
2. What’s your favorite aspect of design? And why?
I love the transformational process – how a piece of art or furniture can inspire me and then be translated into an entire room.
I also love the process of translating someone’s personality and style into a home- giving people a space that is both beautiful and reflective of their life is so gratifying!
3. How do you go about designing a room? Does it start with a mood board, a piece of furniture?
It totally depends – lots of clients have certain pieces that they want to keep so often times that is where I need to start with and figure out how we can build the room from there. Other times, it may be a certain special item that really sets the room apart- maybe its an amazing piece of art or a vintage rug that I want to use to base the rest of the room off of.
I like to combine different styles and textiles but to do so without making the space feel totally crazy, keeping a consistent color palette is key – one of my favorite tools is honestly good old Powerpoint.
I’ll pull textiles, artwork, and pieces of furniture into a board,so I can see them all together – sometimes in my head things make sense but when you see them side by side its a no-go.
4. Do you believe one needs schooling in order to pursue design as a career?
I think it totally depends what you want to do. Interior Design ie., working at a firm or doing larger commercial project will require training from an accredited school.
If you’re more interested in decor, finishes, furniture and styling, I don’t think its necessary – hands on experience doing projects and working with clients is the best schooling you can get! At the end of the day I think style and taste is something you either have or you don’t – it can’t be taught in a classroom.
5. What would you recommend to those that want to pursue interior design as a career?
Be willing to work for free – style your friends homes, take photos, and start building an online portfolio which you can use to to apply for entry level design jobs.
Also – make sure design is a passion, not just a weekend hobby – you likely won’t get paid a lot in the beginning, but if you love it, it will totally be worth it!
Thanks so much Christina for sharing your journey!
If you’d like to learn more about the studio at One Kings Lane, you can check out this article.
Stay tuned for upcoming interviews with different designers.