Q&A: Interior Designer Barbara Gardner


Barbara Vanderkolk Gardner is the founder and president of COLLINS INTERIORS. Her certifications and affiliations include: The Interior Design Society (IDS); International Furnishings and Design Association (IFDA); International Interior Design Association (IIDA); International Design Association; and certified home stager.

TSG Sarasota: What prep work should someone do before meeting with a designer?

Gardner: I ask my clients to fill out a simple but comprehensive questionnaire that I call a “Design Deck.” It asks about rooms to be included in the project, style preferences, lifestyle questions, timing and anticipated investment in the project, among many other considerations.

TSG Sarasota: What is different about designing homes in Florida in particular?

Gardner: Designing homes in Florida relates to our fantastic levels of sunshine. I have designed homes all over the world, but the sun in Florida seems stronger than even in the Mediterranean. We need to be careful of color choices—those sunny yellows that work well in the Northeast and Midwest and Canada are overwhelming down here. We also need to think about how to protect furnishings with window tinting, architectural overhangs and window treatments. Generally people want to have more casual lifestyles in Florida homes, so we can choose easy-to-maintain furnishings, flooring and fixtures.

TSG Sarasota: What are your biggest design pet-peeves?

Gardner: My biggest design pet-peeves are hanging artwork too high and having too much unrelated clutter!

TSG Sarasota: What’s your favorite style to design?

Gardner: I focus on what clients want, not necessarily what I would choose for my own home. I can design classic styles very well, but I also really enjoy creating contemporary and transitional looks. I always want the end product to be a reflection of that client.

Sarasota Mag

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