What Has Changed at HAUS Now That We Have an Interior Design Specialist?

Living space re-clads existing fireplace adds new white oak vaulted ceiling with uplighting and large custom art within new open concept plan - Modern Lakehouse Renovation - Clearwater

It feels like a lot has changed but also not much has changed now that HAUS has an interior design specialist.  First thing we noticed is she has brought a lot of ‘stuff’ into the office. Initially she said we needed more and better samples of finishes for projects.  Then she started bringing in wallpaper samples?!?  And now she’s saying ‘we have to style the projects for photos to make them feel warmer’ so she went and got a bunch of vases and bowls we now have to find a place to store.  I mean we’re having to consider taking down a wall in the office to make room for all of this…

All jokes aside, having an interior designer as part of our team has been amazing.  She is challenging us by looking at the interiors in a different way and providing alternative suggestions.  Our client projects have benefited so much from her addition to the design team.

Also, we have learned a lot of new terms, such as ‘scullery’ and ‘banquette’ and are being told things like ‘this feels too basic’ and ‘you don’t want to walk into the back of a sofa’ or ‘the layouts bringing attention to the less fun part of the space’.  She has the ability to take initial plan concepts and suggest alternative layouts and ideas, often-times enhancing the architectural concept.

We could go on-and-on about why we are so excited about this addition to our team, but we think having the interior designer answer some frequently asked questions will be more informative. We are so excited to re-introduce you to our Interior Designer, Colleen Freiburger, as she answers the frequently asked questions below.

FAQs with HAUS Interior Designer:

When we hire HAUS for architectural services, will we also be able to work with the interior designer on our project?

Yes!  Depending on the circumstances, I usually will be working on almost all projects interiors are some aspect of. This means I will be working on ideas for any project with interior materials and layouts including cabinet layouts, paint colors, tile selections, etc.  My extra set of eyes and unique perspective helps elevate the collaborate process and design solution.

If I want help with lighting and furniture, can you help us with that?

Absolutely!  We would love to help you with those items.  I adore spec’ing furniture and lighting and we have a design process to suit your needs.

Do I have to be an architecture client to get help with my furniture?

Nope.  Interior Design services can be a stand-alone service.  The benefit of having both architects and an interior designer on one team being you get access to both no matter the scale of the project.  If we are working together on furnishings and all of a sudden something a little more architectural comes up, I have the ability to go to the person the desk over from me to get their thoughts on it really quick (and vice versa).

Stunning living room with parquet wood floors, curved drywalled openings and a marble fireplace surround. Jute Rug, White walls, beautiful interior design.

Will working with the interior designer cost me extra?

Yes and no.  It will depend on the areas of expertise you need and the overall project scope.  Most architectural clients that are existing have some amount included in their contract for INT 1 and INT 2.  These phases are the interior concept and interior finishes part of the project. Which means the designs I create for materials, cabinet layouts and other hard finishes are covered under those phases.  INT 3, or furnishings, is an additional service that can be added but a worthwhile one, which we explain in this article.  If you are a new client and you know you want help all the way through INT 3, let us know se we can discuss that process and pricing.

What phase of the project does the interior designer start to get involved?

On many of our projects, I am involved from the very beginning – even on new construction.  However, every project is a little different.   Frequently, I will get more involved once we have an architectural shell and floor plan layout.  Then I will start to go in and detail interiors concepts and floorplans, which is typically very early-on in the project.  Even if I am not in every single meeting, I’m likely in the background of the project working on some aspect of the design.

White Oak cabinetry, an induction cooktop, and a bowl of fruit are illuminated by midday sun in the renovated Thornhurst Modern kitchen, located in the historic Thornhurst neighborhood of Carmel, Indiana..

Is the Interior Designer also an Architect within the team?

It depends on the specific ‘interior designer’.  For me personally, while I studied architecture in school, my skill set is definitely geared more towards interior design.  I joke “I like to color in the picture, I don’t want to start the image from scratch”.  When I think of projects, I am immediately dropping myself inside the spaces and imagining how they look and feel.  I have a much harder time imagining the look of the building from the street.  My architecture background means I can converse well, understand the architectural process, and may occasionally throw-out an architectural idea, but my main focus is the interior design.

A beautiful dining room where the art spills off canvas and onto the walls. An art driven dining room design. Design Room Interior Design. Indianapolis, IN residential remodel.

How do we know what your Interior Design skillset is?

I have been working in high-end residential interior design for 6+ years now.  While, I studied architecture in school but wanted to go the interiors route out-of-school.  There is a portfolio I can share of past experience to bridge the gap while I’m helping build the HAUS interiors portfolio.

What was the draw to do interior design at an architecture firm and not a dedicated interior design firm?

I really love doing interior design but I felt I was starting to lose touch with the really technical side of design in previous positions.  My desire was to work somewhere where I could produce exciting and different work, but could be challenged and constantly learn new technical skills. When thinking of a design I’m being asked “well how does it work” rather than kicking that down the road to the builder or architect to figure out, which I love.  There is something intriguing about the idea of bringing my really high-end and design-forward training to an architectural firm and implementing these ideas from early-on in the project – not waiting until the building shell and layout is designed to start bringing detail to the interiors.  It feels like this set-up is the missing piece of taking my design skills from really nice to truly amazing.

When can we see what you are working-on for interiors?

We are working on some great interiors projects!  In fact, we will be sharing some of our latest designs very soon. Follow along on Instagram and Pinterest to stay most up-to-date.   We’ll also be adding new content to our website.

How do you present your ideas?

I present interior design ideas very similar to how we present our architectural designs.  We start with sketch concepts first and after initial client review detail ideas out in a 3-D model to show you spatially how things look.  I use a lot more inspiration images within interior design and therefore will supplement the model with imagery.  If we work on furnishings together, I will present items via a presentation document and possibly interior renderings showing the items, depending on the scope of the project and clients desires.

Open concept living space optimizes natural light and panoramic views of Grandview Lake - Modern Lakeside Retreat - Grandview Lake - Columbus, Indiana - HAUS | Architecture For Modern Lifestyles
A brightly lit entry hallway features potted plants, a wooden cabinet, and wood-cased doorways.

If I’m not great at visualizing things, can you help me to feel confident with the interior design direction?

Absolutely!  As mentioned above we mainly present ideas via a 3-D model.  We can also provide even more detailed and photorealistic renderings if this is something you feel would be helpful. I come from a unique advantage where my own mom cannot picture a thing, whereas my dad is in the construction industry and can picture anything. Growing up and especially recently helping my parents with their own home has allowed me to learn a skillset in communicating ideas to both people who understand what I am saying and can picture it, as well as people who cannot imagine a space just from the conversation.

What is your ideal interiors client?

I think with most designers and creatives the absolute ideal is a client with almost no budget and complete faith in your aesthetic to let you just run with it.  But that is not the reality, and having worked on different projects with different budgets and levels of input I think being challenged by both of those factors adds a richness to the design because you had to be creative with your design solutions.

The ideal client is one who has a budget that matches their vision, and allows us to have a blank slate on at least a room or two to update layout, finishes, lighting, furniture and styling.  Also a client who gives good feedback but is open to our direction and comes to a professional for that exact reason, we are the professionals.  We want someone who is excited and wants to collaborate but who is not trying to do our job for us.

What style of interiors do you do/prefer?

I definitely have a style I lean towards for myself. It is modern yet artsy furniture pieces, muted colors, rich and warm, moody if the space calls for it. Simple yet attentive to detail.  But I have also always called myself a style chameleon.  I really enjoy what I do because each project comes with different requirements, existing conditions and slightly different styles (whether from the client or the architecture). I enjoy wrestling with the project to really understand the style and what will work best for each space.  Now, if you come to us and want a way over-the-top traditional maximalist interior, I’m probably not your designer. Also, HAUS likely wouldn’t have caught your eye if that was your style.

Fabric headboard overlaps large pastel artwork - Modern Lakehouse Renovation - Clearwater - HAUS | Architecture For Modern Lifestyles - Christopher Short, Architect - Derek Mills, Project manager - WERK | Building Modern (Construction Manager + Custom Builder)

The addition of an interior designer is a move that betters our architectural services by bringing an even stronger level of detail focus to the finishes and layouts. It also allows us to offer a new service of furnishings.  We are so excited to now have an Interior Designer on our team.  If you have additional questions not asked above, feel free to reach out and ask!

Written by Colleen Freiburger.