Interior design the professional way

Spending a little on expert advice can save eyestrain — and sometimes money

One way to improve and spruce up your living space is by tapping into the world of interior design. Two Southwest designers have a multitude of information and tips for people wishing to revamp their living space.

Sandra Mangel Interior Design, 4601 Bryant Ave. S., shares her studio with an interior-accessories store, Two’s Company, run by her mother. Sandra Mangel is a professional American Society of Interior Designers member and she is also on their board. She began her Lynnhurst business in 1974, and has designed interiors for celebrities such as Pat Miles. She specializes in both residential and commercial designs.

Pamela Marie, owner of Designing Visions, 5228 Upton Ave. S., has been in the interior design business for 18 years in the Fulton neighborhood. Her home office serves as her base for operations. She specializes in residential design and has taught community education courses on interior design in Dakota County, Gabbert’s and International Market Square — a local interior-design Mecca at 275 Market St. near downtown Minneapolis.


Before redesigning begins, Marie said it’s important to have a consultation. This gives the client a chance get a sense of the designer and it gives the designer a chance to pinpoint the customer’s vision.

"My philosophy is about creating a space that’s a manifestation of my client’s personality," said Marie.

She said a consultation in the client’s house the best way to seek out the customer’s hopes and dreams for their space. "They’re more comfortable there and feel free to express themselves completely," she said.

She said she often does just consultations for people who want to redecorate themselves, but with an expert opinion or suggestions.

Mangel said she uses the consultation as an exchange of ideas to identify the customer’s wants and often asks them to bring pictures from magazines. "You need to be very analytical and precise in determining what people’s needs and wants are," she said.

According to Mangel, when learning about the space it is important to discover how that space is used, weather it’s for kids or to entertain guests.


Furniture is an integral part of a house and equally important when designing a space. When redecorating, buying all new furniture is not always necessary.

However, Mangel said people must to decide what they want to keep and what they want to discard. She said often things could be done with existing pieces, like painting or reupholstering, to change their look to fit the new scheme of the space.

Marie said evaluating the quality of a customer’s existing furniture is important when deciding weather to keep it or not. If it’s decided that a particular piece must go, Marie said designing a new piece is always an option.

Accessory pieces

Marie exhibits an eclectic mix of accessories in her home and encourages clients to use their most important accessories. "People have a lot of things and they want to put them out, but less is more very often," she said.

Marie said many people simply have too much, but sometimes the right accessory can be critical. "The addition of one piece can pull everything together," she said.

Mangel said one accessory can inspire the theme for a room. When she designed the interior of former television news anchor Miles’ house, Miles started out wanting a chandelier made of antlers. Mangel said that one accessory led them to a ranch-style theme for the house. She said being creative with accessory materials adds to a lot to the feel of a room, for example creating a coconut shell end table.


Color: Mangel said a large trend she’s seen in interior design is a more dramatic use of color. She said with all of the turmoil in the U.S., people are turning to color to uplift them. Marie said the psychology of color is important to keep in mind when decorating. She said different colors will carry different weight to the room and can also affect the perceived size of the room.

Mangel said custom pieces are especially big now, because people like the handmade look. It makes furniture and accessories look ornate and unique.

Mangel said because people are spending more time at home, they want home theaters, where they can relax and entertain kids.

Richard Jamieson, 4133 W. 45th St., specializes in the design of home theater rooms. Jamieson said with a home theater, quality is most important, which also means more expensive. He said it’s a fact of technology that the better the quality, the longer the equipment will last.

He said the challenge is to mix the technological necessities with the living space, which often involves strategically concealing wires, cords and panels. Jamieson said the room’s acoustic capabilities aid him in designing a space.

While Jamieson designs and plans equipment layout, he does not install it himself.

Project budget and cost

Mangel said that generally her clients know what they want to spend; having a budget in mind when coming to an interior designer is helpful. She said that allows the designer to match the customer’s wants with what is possible financially.

Marie agreed, but said a lot of people aren’t aware of what their design project might cost. To help them understand what they have to work with, she offers to take them to International Market Square for a "quality and cost" seminar.

The cost of hiring an interior designer varies depending not only on the designer, but also on the scale of the project.

Mangel said her consultations are done on a $125-per-hour fee basis, while her project designing time is paid on a retail basis. Marie said she does not charge for projects if materials are purchased from her and consultations are charged on an hourly basis. She offers the first hour free so clients can interview her. Marie charges $100 an hour for consultations.

Mangel said hiring an interior designer is not as expensive as some might think. "It’s not anymore pricey than going to Dayton’s or Gabbert’s," she said. Mangel said actually people are saving money, because they get a professional opinion.

Sandra Mangel Interior Design 827-5395

Designing Visions Interior Design, Pamela Marie 926-5326

Jamieson and Associates Inc. 920-3770