Charlotte interior designer Amy Vermillion talks about her design beginnings, inspirations, and a recent renovation that embodies her elegant style and grace.
Tell us about your background in interior design?
I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design and I’m a member of ASID. When I graduated, my first job was designing furniture and custom kitchens and baths on the North Shore of Chicago. It was great because the clients we designed for had almost no parameters of budget or scope, allowing me to have creative reign. After that I worked for another residential interior design firm where the owner basically gave me clients and threw me in the pool!
How did you start your design business?
I did some consulting for an architectural designer and those construction clients turned into design clients. Eventually my name got out there and the phone started ringing with referrals. All it takes is one great client who spreads the word. I was fortunate to have that great client.
Did you always want to start your own firm?
Yes! When I was a kid I discarded my dollhouse furniture and repurposed all sorts of objects for tables and beds. My mom will tell you that when I was a teenager and got moody I would lock myself in my room and rearrange it.
How would you describe your style to others?
I have been told my style is clean and comfortably elegant. I don’t like spaces that are over-designed – it seems incongruous to the way we live. Details are extremely important to me though, and I find the best way to [incorporate detail] is through architecture and finishes.
What is your favorite part about day-to-day work?
My absolute favorite thing is working with my clients face-to-face when we are in the design groove. Nothing makes me happier than a client who is enjoying the process and is excited about their new [space]. Creating with my talented team is a pretty close second.
When did you start getting noticed for your design work and how did the recognition make you feel?
Several years ago my mom called me and said, “I just saw you in the New York Times Magazine and your father and I are so incredibly proud of you.” That was one of my first “pinch me” moments. [Recently my work was] included in a beautiful new design book with all of my long time interior design crushes. When I received my copy a couple of weeks ago and opened it, I got choked up.
What sets your design apart from others?
First, I have an amazing team of trades and craftspeople who execute my designs seamlessly. I honestly couldn’t do what I do without them. Secondly, I’m selective about what projects we work on and that benefits everyone involved; especially the client. Not every job is the right fit for either party. Being a trusted advisor is where I do my best work and I view each project as a creative collaboration between my client and myself.
Are there any designers that inspire you and your work?
My first boss, Catherine Chiesa taught me to look beyond what’s in front of me and to view negative space as importantly as positive; to take notice to the wall space around the painting as if it was part of the overall scheme. My mom, who isn’t a trained designer but has amazing style, gave me my love for the home and its furnishings.
What is something most people don’t know about design? That good or bad design has an effect on everyday living. Whether it’s a terrible color that makes you feel a certain way or a purposefully designed kitchen that can positively change the way your family cooks and eats together. It’s important and I never knew that until my clients told me how their lives had changed for the better after we had finished our project.
Do you have any upcoming projects or plans for your company you are excited about?
We are working on some beautiful projects here in Charlotte and have a couple in the pipeline out of town. Currently, I’m helping the Green Beret Foundation design
For more information: www.amyvermillion.com