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Be Well Advised Series:
Tara Reavie
Interior Design Specialist

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About Tara

Bio:

Tara Reavie is an award winning graduate of the Malaspina University College interior design program. With over 10 years of industry experience, Tara has lead multiple projects ranging from custom furniture design to single and multi-family homes and commercial spaces. Along the way, she has worked with some of the city's top construction firms and spent 5 years as the in-house designer for Kelowna's largest flooring and tile company.

Kelowna Neighbourhood:

"I live in Old Glenmore (Golfview Estates). We love how central it is with all of the areas of Kelowna and suppliers I have to run out and see throughout my day. I also love how close it is to downtown as well without being right downtown. And all of the old trees and big lots. And who wouldn't want a 70's fixer upper!"

Contact Tara

Is your Kelowna Property in need of some new life? Starting a new build? You can find Tara here: https://www.reavietdesign.com/


Interview Transcription:

Christy:
Hi everybody. We're Lora + Christy Real Estate with Royal LePage. And this is the second installment of our Be Well Advised series that we've created. So we created this series just out of... we actually had more time on our hands to speak with our clients. And we found out that they had a lot of questions. So Lora and I decided that we would take these questions and actually reach out to professionals in our community and get them answered for you.

Lora:
So today we are joined with Tara Reavie. She is the principal interior designer with Tara Reavie Design in Kelowna, and she has over 10 years of experience ranging from one bedroom make-overs to complete home renovations. And she also does new build custom homes. She's worked on single family home projects, multifamily developments, and some commercial space as well. She's very talented. We know her firsthand and we're very excited to have her.

Christy:
Welcome Tara Reavie.

Tara:
Hi.

Christy:
Thanks for joining us today.

Tara:
Thank you. Yes, thanks for the break from my workday and my managing my children.

Christy:
I know. I think we're all kind of doing the homeschooling, managing kids and also working full time.

Tara:
Yeah, good.

Christy:
Yeah. We're practically superheroes.

Tara:
I know, we are. Really, Mother's Day should have just kept going. I don't know why it stopped.

Christy:
Exactly. Okay, let's jump into it. Tara, there's so many factors when we're doing either a new build or somebody's going to take on a renovation. At what point does somebody actually hire a designer? When do we do that?

Tara:
Ideally, when you're still in planning phase and you haven't broken ground, that's actually the ideal time or before you've started tearing down anything. Partly because I've been involved in projects at different stages. So some of the most satisfying ones are when I'm involved actually with the architect or the home designer, because the way they think about the houses is amazing. Because it's structural. They think about the engineering. But the way I think about houses, it's like I wear lots of different hats. So I think about it architecturally. But I also think about the end result in terms of the way the client uses the space and moves through the space and even a specific piece of furniture that's really important. Where does that go? And what are the little idiosyncrasies that you have that other people don't have that is really integral to the planning process? So before you start investing money and then having to take steps backwards and undo things because you find out, "Oh, that actually doesn't work for me." I figure that out at the beginning.

Christy:
So when you talk about investment, how does somebody figure out a budget? Do I say, "Okay, I've got $5,000, I've got $20,000." Or do you actually work with a client and figure out a budget? Because I know that some people look at, "Oh, I'm going to do a kitchen reno, but I'm only going to spend $2,000." And obviously that's not realistic, I guess depending on what you want to do, but I guess it's like the cart before the horse or the horse before the cart. How does that work?

Tara:
Yeah. So sometimes people have a contractor already, but because I've been doing this, I never actually want to admit how long I've been doing it, but I think it's been 15 years. I have actually, pardon?

Christy:
You're a veteran.

Tara:
I know, but I'm always like, "I can't have been graduated for that long, no way." But I think I have a really good sense of how much things generally cost. Obviously you need trades to price things and contractors to help you with that. But when somebody comes to me and they haven't necessarily reached out to trades or contractors, I have a good sense of what your budget should be for what your list of expectations are or what your dream list is, and then how do we work through that and see that you get the majority of that or all of that, if it works with your budget. So I can definitely help with budgeting on a project, but I will always ask you, what is your budget? Because people generally have a good sense of what they can or want to spend. And then we figure out, do you need to increase it or what do we maybe need to pull off the list so that you stay on that number.

Christy:
Okay. That's really helpful. And I think it's maybe something that holds people back from maybe connecting because they're just worried that their budget is going to fall short of your expectation. But in fact, the client really is the guiding light as to what they're able to do. From Christy and I's perspective, I think what we'd like from you a little bit today is when the restrictions are starting to lift with the COVID and all of that, people are thinking about listing their home and they're thinking about wanting to do a bit of a refresh maybe, in some spaces. You always want to make sure that that money is well spent. So where are you seeing that having the most impact in a home?

Tara:
I mean the easy way to always work on a home, update a home if we're not talking a new build is always paint. Paint is a huge thing that totally transforms spaces. I think one of the things that I find people are challenged in because they'll go to the paint store and they'll get great recommendations on great colors that are out there. But I'm finding because you're updating an older space and I think even 10 years ago, everything was a little bit more muddier, browner, creamier. So people are painting their walls, but they're not taking into account their existing trim and door color. And so they paint their walls and they go, well, it doesn't look great. And so I think a good investment is to hire somebody even for a color consult so that I can look at the color of your trim and your doors and say, "Okay, this is the current color that will work with that if you guys aren't willing to go to the extra cost or effort to repaint those things. Because painting trim and doors, it's a bigger expense because it's tedious and it's tedious if you want to take it on.

Christy:
So if if somebody has 10 hours, I can pay you for 10 hours of work. What am I going to get you to do?

Tara:
If you want a bigger overall plan, so even if somebody is doing an... I've had this in situations where it's a new build or somebody wanting to do furniture or somebody wanting to do a minor renovation, I think the biggest satisfaction they get is having a plan. Because not everybody can do everything all at once. And that's even with a new build, when you get to furniture, you can't always furniture a brand new home all at once. You need to do it in stages.

Tara:
So what I do is I put together a cohesive plan based on your preferences, your needs. I always emphasize that, because I like to understand my client. That's the biggest satisfaction for me is I want to understand how people work in their little quirks. So I'll put together a plan that works for them, that they can work on longterm and not always have to be calling me for more hours necessarily, because they can go, "Okay, Tara gave us this overall look. She gave us a document that we can go to and find links to specific products that we know are within the price point that we're expecting. She's given us trades to reach out to."

Christy:
So it's almost like you're giving a client almost their little design block that they can go away with and be like, "Oh right, this is what we were going to do in the dining room." And then they can kind of refer back to it.

Tara:
Yes. And it comes in the form I work with a Google document. So you do a slide deck and it's really interactive. People can actually write me notes in there and I'll get notified and then I can write them back. And I find it a really easy way to communicate with people. And again, you don't have to be right in front of them for this to work. So that's something I've learned through this process. I've had clients who are overseas and across the country before, but this is made it an even more refined process of communication with my clients to be able to give them this information, not necessarily have to be right in front of them and still feel like they're getting a good grasp of the design.

Lora:
I think that's interesting too, because I know for myself and Christy too, when we do a space and we consult with you, you still want to kind of be part of the process and maybe go out and shop around or go online. And just to have that little bit of a cheat sheet and say, "You know what, this is within the parameters, I can spend a bit of my own time to source out things that appeal to me and then take it back to Tara." And in our case, we usually are told that "No, that doesn't work."

Tara:
Reroute you, just go this route.

Lora:
Wow. You're way off base with that idea.

Tara:
Yeah.

Lora:
Christy and I will chat all the time and talk about it's so clear when you walk through a house sometimes and it's date stamped. It says, "You know what? I feel like this house was built in 1987." Because there's kind of a color palette that's associated with different eras. This year, I don't know if you pay much attention to this, but Benjamin Moore has picked a color of the year, and this one it's called First Light.

Tara:
Yes. Beautiful. But it's specific. I think it's a beautiful color. It's neutral enough that you could do it in a lot of spaces, but it's not everybody's cup of tea. I could see there being some resistance in terms of, I think it's a little bit pink undertoned. It's a beautiful color, but I think everybody has a really good sense of their own design style. And I think my biggest job is to take it and refine it to be the best version of that person's design style. So following trends, I love seeing what's new and people's ideas, but I think you have to reinterpret it specific to the person who is living with it.

Lora:
Yeah. I think that's very wise advice because it's one thing to say I've chosen an accent color or I'm doing this, but all of a sudden that accent color becomes the only thing you see in the house because they've just taken it and run with it. You just guiding that ship and making sure that it's all pulled together nicely is probably where your value really does come into.

Tara:
Yeah. I think continuity, is something that's really important for me. I like spaces to feel organic and cohesive. And so I don't want somebody to walk from one space and feel jarred and then walk into another space and feel jarred. I feel like you should walk into it as one complete unit. And there should be differences, but you should always feel this sense of continuity and completeness in a space. And that's really important to my own design senses. I have a really organic approach when I design. That doesn't mean that things are airy theory. Construction and understanding different parts, the integrity of the house is important, but feeling texture and a sense of nature and continuity of a house is super important in the way I design.

Lora:
So with the way you design, that brings me to our last question to wrap things up. There's so many different styles out there and you look and it's like, "Oh, is it contemporary? Is it traditional?" There's just so many. And so how do you pick a designer that suits your style? And what if you don't even know what your style is? I think that's a big problem as well, as people are like, "Well, I like that, but I like that too." And I don't even know what the style is.

Tara:
Yeah. I think a bigger thing for picking your designer is probably communication. So I think finding out if you fit in terms of being able to communicate your ideas to each other and feeling like that's the right fit. Because I think if somebody has been designing long enough, they can almost do anything. They can kind of put on different hats for different styles. And so I think that's the biggest thing. And again, if somebody has been designing long enough, you can look at their portfolio of work and kind of see a repetition of what they tend to steer towards, what they use. Because I've done Mediterranean, I've done West coast, contemporary, I've done transitional, but there's something about every space you can still tell that I've done it. And it's maybe the way sometimes I pair things back. So even if I do traditional, I still kind of simplify it a bit.

Tara:
So I think make sure that you guys communicate well. And that's something that I'm always trying to refine in my own business, is finding tools that make it easier for me to communicate with my clients and feeling, like I said, they can kind of guide the ship a little bit on their own too, because that's the fun in design, is you being able to be the captain of your ship and me not taking that away from you completely.

Lora:
You know what, it's funny as you're talking about that, we take that back to real estate too. It's the same in our industry. At the end of the day, we're selling their house. They need to feel like they're empowered to make the right decisions and we just kind of guide them along and give them the best kind of professional advice that we can. And like you said, once you have the experience behind you, you really can kind of ebb and flow and take your expertise to what their goals are.

Tara:
And I have. I've said no to projects because I know it would be a stretch for me to do that style. So I will always be honest if I feel like it's going to be a struggle throughout the process for me and the client. Because it's not fair to them, but I think most people can, like I said, wear different hats, do different styles.

Lora:
Right. So it's not maybe as much about what your style is. It's about your communication style with your designer.

Tara:
Yeah. It can be a very long relationship, so you need to make sure it works.

Lora:
Exactly, awesome. I think it's been a real interesting and a little bit eye-opening in that I think that some people think that maybe using an interior designer isn't always something that's accessible. And I think that it's very accessible and I think it's a great expenditure of part of a budget. So to keep your renovation or your little refresh on track and you providing that kind of guiding light through the process.

Tara:
Yeah.

Christy:
Lora, do you have Tara's contact information?

Lora:
Yeah, we will on our page and in all of our avenues, but you can find her at TaraReavieDesign.com. And I know she has a fabulous Instagram account that we follow. Any place else that you are prevalent Tara?

Tara:
I would say my Instagram is probably the strongest right now. I'm doing a bunch of work with a Vancouver company on my website. So website is not super strong, but should be within the next month. But Instagram is great.

Lora:
We can actually say the exact same thing. Right now, Christy and I have taken this opportunity to kind of step back and we're going to be kind of revamping our website and just making a few changes now that we have a few extra hours in a day. So I don't think that's uncommon actually.

Tara:
Yeah. I think I probably have eight different pieces of work to add to the website. And they're all on Instagram because of course it's just a little bit quicker and faster to post things.

Lora:
So they can just shoot you a DM.

Tara:
Yeah.

Christy:
Well, thanks ladies. It was great. And we'll all chat again soon.

Tara:
Okay. Thank you so much. Bye.

About Lora + Christy

We want to make your Kelowna real estate dreams a reality. The team at LORA+CHRISTY puts their strategic marketing expertise and extensive network of contacts & colleagues to work, ensuring that your expectations are met and surpassed. Creating great outcomes for our clients is a product of decades of experience in the Kelowna real estate market. The mission is simple: to be the premier real estate team in the Okanagan Valley.