The Life of a San Francisco Interior Designer

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The Life of a San Francisco Interior Designer

When you think of a day in the life of a San Francisco interior designer, what comes to mind? Do you see a montage of designers playing with fabrics, fluffing pillows, and attending local art gallery openings? For the most part, this is certainly not the case. 

For today’s blog post, I’m handing the mic over to Dana, the Design Director at Coddington Design. Spend the day with her, and maybe you’ll learn something new…

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Dana Feagles, Design Director

Morning Creativity & Inbox’ing

Hi, I’m Dana! Right now, our team works remotely, so you step on into my house, where the coffee is always brewing strong. I’ve already fed, dressed, and dropped my kids off at school, so you can find me sitting in my home office. Clients are my number one priority, so I always respond to emails first thing.

After replies are sent, I check our project management system to see my list of priorities for the day. I could have scheduled meetings with clients or trades, appointments at the Design Center, calls with potential clients, team meetings with Melanie, or any number of other tasks.

Either way, it’s important to get my mind into a creative headspace for the day ahead, so I might browse Business of Home or listen to a creative podcast to get in the zone.

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Scandi Modern Project | Photographer: Vivian Johnson

Client Care & Support

My top priorities each day usually revolve around client care. In addition to responding to emails, I often meet with clients. We might review fabrics, paint samples, and design selections together, or I might be delivering some long-awaited furnishings!

Another one of the highlights of my week is meeting with potential clients on discovery calls. During the calls, I get to hear about their design needs and big ambitions for their homes. I always get excited on these calls, because we’ve heard so many of the same concerns before — and I know we can deliver BIG with a design that meets and exceeds their needs.

These calls also set the foundation for a trusting relationship — and that’s where the design magic happens. So believe me when I say that I don’t take these calls lightly! (Here are 5 more ways we’re not like your last interior designer.)

I’m an optimist, and I like to end the week on a high note. Every Friday, I spend time making sure each and every client knows the status of their project and what decisions need to be made. We get rave reviews from clients who tell us that our Weekly Updates help them feel connected and knowledgeable about their project, and that’s a great feeling.

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Design & Problem-Solving

Then there’s the design side of my day. Design tasks may include driving to the Design Center to source some fabrics, searching websites of our most trusted vendors for the perfect coffee table or wallpaper, working on design concepts for our online interior design clients, and being available to solve problems as needed.

Yes, that’s right — interior designers are huge problem solvers. (That’s the industry!) I’m always putting out fires and, better yet, anticipating potential problems to solve them before they start! For example… 

A leather desk got damaged in transit? No problem, I’m sending it to the furniture medic immediately. (Yes, that’s a real job!) 

The handmade tile we specified with a 1/2” variance was actually made ¼” making it too small to fit evenly across the backsplash? No worries, I’ll pull up the CAD drawings to redraw the best tile layout! Done and done.

It’s also my job to oversee the quality and timeline of custom furnishings. Some days, I check in on a custom sofa being made in our trusted workroom. Things I might look for are:

  • How does the fabric look once they unroll the bolt?
  • Has the frame been built yet?
  • When can the client do a sit-test to make sure they like the cushion fill?

These aspects of the job may not seem glamorous, but it is a highly detailed role in ensuring that our clients get the best quality homes possible.

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Scandi Modern Project | Photographer: Vivian Johnson

Evening Reflections

After a full day of creativity, communication, and problem solving, I like to check in with myself. I believe that part of being grateful and joyful — even during the day-to-day craziness — is remembering why you started in the first place. 

I spent years in school and years in the field to get to where I am now because I love to make lives better through functional and beautiful design. If I’ve achieved that during my day, then I feel a rewarding sense of calm, no matter what the day threw at me. I put my kids to bed, take a little me-time, and then feel happy to go to sleep before doing it all again.

There you have it — that’s a day in the life of a San Francisco interior designer. Is it what you expected? More? Less? (Do you love your job as much as I do?!) 

If you’re ready to renovate your SF home, I’d love to personally chat with you about your project. Book a discovery call with me here and let’s get to know each other!

Xo,

Dana