Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Q&A: Interior designer Johnsrud draws on childhood dreams

Interior designer Ann Johnrud lives in Melbourne. / RIK JESSE/FLORIDA TODAY

Ann Johnsrud grew up sitting at her father's drafting table, daydreaming over the blueprints at his architectural firm. After years in advertising design and visual merchandising, she finally returned to her first love — interior design.

Question:How does your experience in advertising contribute to your interior design capabilities?

Johnsrud: I have spent my entire career in one design field or another, and all the same basic principles apply. Paying attention to scale and proportion, creating balance and using repetition of colors are all keys to a great design, as well as creating little "aha" moments or focal points.

Q: What is your favorite room of a house to design?

Johnsrud: I love to space plan and enjoy putting my drafting or AutoCAD skills to use designing kitchens and bathrooms, puzzling over how to make the best use of a space, then adding natural elements and lots of bling in the tile and finishes.

Q: You're often called upon to design window treatments as well. What are the latest styles?

Johnsrud: Overall, I find window treatments have cleaner lines and are more streamlined than in the past. My designs tend to rely on a mix of textures and patterns to create interest, rather than using volumes of fabric. Even a traditional style window treatment can look fresh and new with the right fabrics.

Q: Where do you get your inspiration?

Johnsrud: My favorite place to find inspiration is often from something my client already owns and loves. If I design a room based on the style or color palette in a client's favorite painting, I'm confident they are going to feel right at home. I'm currently working on a beachside condo for out-of-town clients, and at our first meeting, the client presented me with a gorgeous box of potpourri. Well, that was a first for me, but their home is coming along so well, and we are able to capture all the subtle shades of blues, browns and greens, even the pop of lime green.

Q: How do you help homeowners who can't seem to agree on a style?

Johnsrud: I'm currently working on a project for a couple who just got married and is in their pre-retirement years. The husband has several large antique pieces of furniture in dark rich wood tones, and his new bride loves cooler, more beach-inspired décor. I saw an opportunity to bring both styles together in a British West Indies design by painting walls in sea glass colors and bringing lots of texture in woven Abaca and rattan woven furniture.

Q: If you could give only one piece of decorating advice, what would it be?

Johnsrud: Start with a plan. A great furniture layout is essential to any well-functioning room and allows a project to stay on a clear design path as your budget and energy allow.

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