Interior designer launches online service in the North East
From glamourous hotels in the Middle East to utilising space as an interior designer for IKEA, Catherine A Muir specialises in injecting a little (or a lot) of wow into her client's homes.
In Partnership with Catherine A Muir Interior Design
You’ve enjoyed a global career in interior design – can you tell us more?
Interior design has always been my thing. I used to spend hours building houses out of Lego and making changes to my own bedroom. I’ve always loved seeing other people’s homes and imagining what it must be like to live there.
I got a BA(Hons) in Interior Design and during my third year at university, I was chosen to work for KCA International which saw me working in hotels like the Madinat Jumeriah in Dubai and the Casino Lisboa in Macau. It was such an incredible opportunity for me. That’s where I learned about injecting a little wow into spaces and I’ve used that experience ever since.
Eventually, I moved to the North East after my husband secured a job up here. I came back down to earth from the glitz and glamour of the world’s hotels to work as an interior designer with IKEA for seven years. I created room sets, honed my skills in retail design and travelled to stores across the world to share my expertise. During that time, I learned about function for 21st-century living. Purpose became my driving design factor. Everything had to be practical to create the most useful and stylish space possible.
What’s the story behind your business?
After taking some time out to have my children I decided to start my own business in 2015 so I could work flexibly around them. I’d always dreamed of working for myself, so I took the plunge to study for an AutoCAD Professional User certificate to make designing interiors accurate and professional. That was in 2015. Once I had that under my belt, Catherine A Muir Interior Design was born.
I wanted to create an interior design office here in the North East that was flexible and could adjust to match the needs of my clients. I set out to provide design services for the home, business and to people within the building industry.
Since starting out I’ve worked on some amazing projects. One of my favourites was a wellness, physiotherapy and Pilates studio for TayloredFit Physio in Langley Park. I have also done two show homes, a serviced apartment, and I have a very exciting project coming up soon which I can’t say too much about yet, except that it is a café bar in central Durham.
Sounds exciting! So can High Life North readers access your services for their own homes?
Absolutely and it’s now easier than ever as during lockdown I’ve launched
a new online-only option for my design skills, which runs through my normal design process and finishes after the design is complete. Clients end up with a digital design scheme, plans and elevations of the room showing the location of furniture. I also provide a detailed shopping list with links to purchase each item. This allows me to work remotely from my client but also means that I can cover the whole of the UK, which I haven’t thought about doing before!
The new package is ideal for homeowners who want a change. Perhaps those who want to do up a second home or are redecorating an existing home to bring it up to date, extend it or redesign the interior for a change of lifestyle.
My full design package starts with a free initial online chat (or in-person where required/safe), then a quote and brief for the work. Then I begin the concept stage by looking at inspirational images and compiling a ‘style expression mood board’ for every room I’m working on.
The concept stage concludes with a two-hour meeting where we look at room layouts, furniture options, samples, colour schemes etc. Once that is agreed I complete the design, again concluding with a two-hour meeting to go through everything. For North East based clients, I can then offer purchasing and project coordination. I always aim to finish every project with styling to complete the design.
At the styling stage, I purchase items that I think would suit the design, then I dress the room with a mixture of the new items and their existing items. My clients are then free to purchase the items from me if they’d like to.
In addition, I offer a full kitchen design service. I work with three different kitchen brands – Second Nature, 1909 and British Standard Cupboards by Plain English. I also offer a full bathroom design service as well as all the other rooms in the house!
I’ll be starting a waiting list with projects scheduled to start from July of 2020 and continuing through until next year.
What about Covid-19 – have you had to change your approach at all?
A lot of my projects ground to a halt as contractors couldn’t access people’s homes. But those still in the design phase were able to carry on so I’ve been working on those while being on location is restricted.
I’ve moved into my home office during lockdown. Once it’s redecorated, I’ll be able to hold meetings at a social distance so that will be great. However, my plans are to expand my business in the next year or so – I’ll probably outgrow my new office fairly rapidly if things go to plan!
In recent weeks, as restrictions have been eased slightly and businesses are putting safety precautions in place, I’m able to access people’s homes again. I’m looking forward to completing three projects in the next couple of months and I have just started a brand new kitchen design which is always exciting.
Catherine is a brilliant designer, she has transformed my office. She took the time to listen, get to know my brand and understand how I needed my clients to feel when coming into my office environment. Thank you. Michelle D
I appointed Catherine to design the interior of a show flat at The Grange development in Gilesgate. I had not used an interior designer before so I wasn’t sure how it would work or what the results would be like. I needn’t have worried. Catherine clearly set out the stages and costs in advance and took on board my comments whenever I had them. She not only did the design, but she also did all the purchasing and staging of the flat and worked really well with the relevant people on site. She was very committed to getting the project finished on time and worked late and at the weekend to make sure it was just right. The result was exactly the modern, relaxed feel I was after, and I have no doubt the sales will come in as a result. I would recommend Catherine very highly. Bill P
Catherine is a design superstar! She totally transformed our old office for Digital Sparkles (which made an enormous difference to how our customers perceived and felt in our space) and so we naturally asked her to come and help us redesign the new office for MINT Business Club. I have no hesitation in recommending Catherine Muir for your home or business redesign. Nicola L
Feeling inspired to inject a little wow into your home?
Catherine A Muir Interior Design creates feel good, look-amazing spaces. From those that take your breath away to those that make you want to take your shoes off, relax and stay.
Catherine offers a bespoke interior design service that will create a space you love to be in, help you make amazing design decisions, save you time and make your journey easy and exciting.
With vast experience working in the glamour of world-famous hotels in the Middle East to seven years spent as an interior designer at IKEA, Catherine has a real education in how to inject a little wow (or more accurately, a lot of wow!) into amazing, feel-good spaces that work for you.
With so many variables involved in my work, my prices depend on the individual needs of my clients and are formed around the scope of the brief. An initial chat with me about my services is free and my quotes are no-obligation.https://www.interiordesignerdurham.co.uk