Web site offers low-cost interior design

LA HABRA (KABC) Olivia Vinas of La Habra just finished decorating her bedroom. But before I show you the results of her labor, let's take a look at what the room looked like before. It was drab, lacking personality, no color, very little style.

Although the rest of Olivia's home shows her style, she got bogged down in the bedroom.

"This is my bedroom," said Olivia. "It's very plain and simple. Everything came from my parents' house, and I really haven't done anything to it."

But that was about to change. Olivia, a schoolteacher on a tight budget, spotted a Web site, Designer at Home. It offers to professionally design almost any room in the home for only $250 each.

All that was required of Olivia was for her to answer some questions, do a few measurements, and take a couple of pictures.

All were sent to Designer at Home in Orange County, where a team of design professionals headed up by British Interior Designer of the Year, James Charles, go to work.

"What we are able to provide is no less than what we would do and what we have done in the world of design in the past, and what qualified designers do right now for their clients," said James. "We give them concept and direction. The important part is, when you give someone direction, then you take a lot of the guesswork out. The concept is giving them the style that they like."

For the $250, James and his staff will put together a color board with suggested fabrics, a space plan for the furniture, and instructions, including a list of where to find some of the items needed to finish the project.

Olivia got her color board and went to work right away. In two weeks she had redecorated her bedroom.

"I think it's amazing. I really had a great time putting it all together," said Olivia. "It turned out very nicely."

"The beauty of being involved in it, and knowing that you've been involved in some of the decisions that makes that interior come together, and really personifies your style more than anyone else's, is really what creates a home," said James.

If you want to skip the $250 altogether and want some free design advice, there are a few forum Web sites where you can get plenty of opinions and suggestions about your ideas from average people. Sometimes that's all you need.

But a professional does have a special touch.


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