Award-winning interior designer Lynn Gray has completed numerous stunning interiors for high end residential, hotels, motels, bars, restaurants and other commercial premises in Southland, Central Otago and throughout the South Island.
The initial idea to start her Gore-based business came about over ten years ago when a friend visiting from the United States fell in love with the home she had recently completed for herself and her family.
Another friend who was present had just purchased a home in Mount Barker Road, Wanaka, and asked if she could redecorate the home for him.
“I said, with a young family, I can’t really afford to set up a business at the moment. The next thing I knew he had a written me a cheque for $20,000 and said ‘now you have no excuses; let me see you make good of that’”.
The Mount Barker refurbishment was a success and Lynn’s first client was happy to recommend her to all his contacts. “I repaid the money in full within the year and I’ve never looked back”.
Although she completed a Bachelor of Arts at Otago University and studied Fine Arts at the Dunedin School of Art, Lynn is essentially self-taught in interior design.
She believes good interior design is not just about creativity, but also about improving the working and living environment of her clients.
When initially consulting with clients, she often finds herself in the role of a problem solver and mediator between partners.
“It is common for people to know what they don’t like, but taking the time to get to know their preferences and what they do like is a key part of the process, Lynn says.
“By listening to your clients you can find answers to questions on style, colours, lighting, spatial requirements and the scale and shape of furniture. It’s about understanding what the client really wants and then turning those ideas into a tangible reality.”
In commercial situations she talks not only with management, but also with staff who work in the areas included in her design brief as there are usually many practical considerations.
“It’s about understanding the big picture and then the detailing that goes into that.”
Apart from the obvious elements of colour, space and accessories, interior design also involves choices of textures, furniture, mood and ambiance, and the effect of natural and artificial light in an area.
A strong advocate for New Zealand made products, Lynn loves incorporating furniture by companies such as Christchurch based Montreux Furniture into her projects, whether commercial or residential.
“The level of quality and the ability of Montreux to deliver on bespoke items as well as standard stock items is unsurpassed.” Lynn believes nobody ever regrets buying quality, whereas imported products often cause problems in the long run.
Among her many accolades, Lynn’s design won the Hospitality New Zealand 2012 Awards for Excellence for Best Redeveloped Restaurant/Bar for her stunning interior design of the Mataura Licensing Trust’s Thomas Green Public House and Dining Room in Gore. The success of Lynn Gray Interiors means Lynn always has a large workload on the go.
However with a sound administration background and a strong support network of builders, such as Gore builder Jones and Cooper and subcontractors who she trusts, means she copes well with the pressure.
She says a good sense of humour is essential, especially when working with sub-contractors, who she also encourages to be involved in creative planning and in the practical aspects of the design process.
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