Beautiful, well-designed spaces can change your life, according to Interior Designer Jeditte Coloma. That’s what she witnessed when she started her first project by giving their family’s 30+ year old home the face-lift it needed to become a modern and more comfortable living space.
“When I graduated I fixed my room, then the house. Our home was built in 1985 and was never renovated after. I enjoyed the experience.” Today, this is what she loves to do.
The before and after photos of her home show how she was able to turn something so familiar to Filipinos – the classic 1980s home, into a modern house with hotel-like ambiance. “Mas maaliwalas,” she described it. Jeditte made sure to re-use a lot of the old materials like wood and marble then worked magic on the lighting, layout, color combination and furniture. She shared that seeing her family live and work in a space that could do so much better prompted her to make this change. The result: her family enjoying the home and spending more time in it. “We used to spend our Sunday family dinners at the mall, but now we spend our Sunday dinner in the house.”
Home design is something people often take for granted. We spend so much time outside that we tend to overlook our homes. As a result we become conditioned to believe that classy ambiance has to be bought in a coffee shop or hotel lobby. Jeditte reminds us that instead of spending time outside (and money on transport and food) in places of beautiful ambiance, we can invest in our home and get the same experience that the family can share on a daily basis. After her pioneer home project she went on to renovate a number of other homes.
Interior design wasn’t always in her plans though. Jeditte started in University of the Philippines with a business degree before moving into interior design and studying in Philippine School of Interior Design: PSID After graduating, she apprenticed under IDr. Michael Pizarro for 6 months before reviewing for the board exams. Working with an experienced designer helped her learn the ropes of the trade and gave her insight into the challenges and nuances of real world design work.
Today Jeditte has her own practice and does projects in Metro Manila and the surrounding provinces like Zambales. Her company helps people design spaces so that they are adapted to the needs and lifestyle of the owner. “Whatever is relevant to the end user,” is one of her guiding principles.
Challenges and Spaces:
When asked about the toughest part of her job, she shares that providing high quality customer service on a consistent basis is the most challenging. “It’s a service industry and you need to make yourself available for your clients, even if it’s a weekend or late at night.” Many of her clients have full time jobs and take the evenings and weekends as an opportunity to build their dream home. As a result, Jeditte’s lifestyle is one of odd hours and working weekends.
Customer service is not just about time but also discovering the preferences of your clients. “The thing with designing spaces is that it requires you to get to know your clients, their families, their lifestyles and possessions.” Some will even share their future plans. Working with clients on projects will take a minimum of a few months, and so building a relationship with the customer is critical, especially because there are tight deadlines. Each project has numerous things that can go wrong due to the high number of moving parts – workers absent, paint colors that aren’t the same hue, awry delivery schedules, furniture size mistakes, etc.At the end of the day, every project and every client is unique, “I enjoy how each one has a different story,” Jeditte shares.
The toughest part also leads to the most fulfilling part which is transforming her client’s lives and making it better for them through good design. Similar to her experience in renovating her home, she knows that her work can make a lot of people happy and help improve their lives. “The best thing about work is having the ability to create an end result that is life-changing.It makes me happy knowing I’ve left my clients with a space they love and a space that works.”
For Jeditte, good design means using timeless classics like wood and stone. Wood breathes warmth into the space while stone is durable, dependable and natural. Neutral and subdued colors are her favorite design pegs as they don’t go out of fashion.
Designer’s Take on the Construction Industry:
As the industry develops, Jeditte is hopeful that more young talents will be involved in construction projects. Although many are overwhelmed and scared, the new generation of designers and architects has what it takes.
Jeditte dreams that the industry will start to produce more affordable materials and make them more easily accessible. Most of the quality items are still too much for the average Filipino. A lot of materials are still imported and expensive. Good furniture is expensive, usually priced for export – but what about the locals who want to buy?The idea of locals not enjoying local work and creativity sounds strange. This context has piqued her interest in furniture design and construction, a venture in-the-making for Jeditte. She also observed that items made in China, although of inconsistent quality, are popular because they’re cheap.
The knowledge on environmentally sustainable materials is also low, and those that exist are still hard to find. “If I had better access and information on environmentally friendly materials I would use them more.”
Jeditte also hopes that more players in the industrywill document their work and utilize technology so that it becomes easier for designers like herself to find and partner with experienced contractors. A good working relationship between an interior designer and a reliable contractor can add a lot of value to clients and generate good business. Customers usually want to see prior work of their hired contractors and designers, so having a catalogue of projects that are easy to visit or view online can really help decision makers. “We ask clients to go to the site which was built by that company.” Nice pictures and websites are a staple.
Two Cents for Construction Beginners
When asked to give advice to those about to build something for the first time, Jeditte emphasized research and planning. It’s important to get as much technical information as possible and to get the design right before the build. Changing design during the build, or not knowing the material requirements of the space can be costly. “Look beyond price and appearance,” Jeditte shares.
Many professionals these days can give advice and design work based on budget and timeline of customers. Another value add of working with professionals is that they can redirect you to the correct suppliers so that you save time and get your money’s worth for materials. Although there’s a temptation to save on design fees, many expensive mistakes and headaches can be avoided by working with architects and interior designers.
So if you find yourself always out in search of great ambiance, remember that you can create that environment at home with the right person to guide you, and the right attitude to research.
If you are interested to reach out to IDr. Jeditte Coloma, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are Jeditte’s work details: