Q&A with Cami Interiors | Lansdowne Boards
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12 May 2020

Q&A with Cami Interiors

We chatted to the creative duo, Marina & Jen, behind Cami Interiors to find out about them, their creative process & what they love about interior design.

They even talked about what it takes to be an interior designer for all those budding designers out there and advice on budgets, inspiration and their top decor tips for the kitchen. Read further to find out more . . . (we've also included some stunning 3D "before" renders and how they all turned out at the bottom of our post).

1. What or who inspired you to choose a career in interiors and kitchen design?

M: My friend did 😊 Her husband owns a kitchen company and they were looking for a designer, she asked me to join the team (I was a stay at home mom at the time) and taught me some basics.

J: I was always interested in interior design since I was little, I always loved watching interior design tv shows. I studied interior design and fell into designing kitchens by chance and I enjoyed it so much I haven’t looked back.

2. Tell us a little about Cami Interiors & how you got started?

M: I always wanted my own business, but you must do it at the right time and with right people, this person for me is Jen Cato. We wanted to partner with one existing kitchen company first, but in the end it was better for us to start on our own 😊 Our first project was for my sister in law, so she was very brave to trust us with her whole house. It went so well, and she is so happy with the result.

J: We were working for another company and we became such good friends, we got along so well and worked so well together. We both always wanted to work for ourselves one day and decided to take the step and open Cami Interiors. Marina’s sister-in-law was busy renovating at the time and asked for our help and was so happy with the end result.

3. Would you say you have a specific style?

M&J: We both like contemporary and modern kitchens but we also listen to our clients’ needs and ideas.

4. What most inspires you and your work?

M: To see your design become a reality is so amazing and makes you feel so proud.

J: I think it’s the people we are working with too. We have been so blessed to have such amazing clients that we feel like we are building long-lasting friendships as well.

5. Where do you go to spot new styles?

M: It can be anywhere (someone’s house, Pinterest, Instagram)

J: We are always looking on Instagram and Pinterest to keep updated.

6. What are some of your biggest design influences?

M: Stylish, practical, flawless and high tech.

J: I think one of our biggest design influences at the moment is Scandinavian design trends. We tend to do more slimline minimalistic designs using a combination of different materials and textures.

7. Any interesting projects you're working on at the moment?

M&J: We have two full apartments to work on, busy with the designs of kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms and home office. We are also finishing up two really stunning apartments in Mouille Point.

8. What has been your most exciting project to date and why?

M: The most exciting project I have had so far is our showroom, which is completed, but due to the current situation in the World, we haven’t been able to work from thereL

J: It’s hard to pick because we get so invested in all our projects, but I think my most exciting was our Client Rian. He gave me a lot of freedom in terms of the designs and materials and we worked so well together. He loves art and design and every aspect of the space was so well thought out, everything just worked so well together from the flooring to the wall colour to the furnishings and art pieces.

9. What advice do you have for those looking to remodel their kitchen?

M&J: Do your research. It always helps when you have a clear idea of the designs and styles you like and the feel you want to create in the space. It will help the designer on your first meeting to get a better understanding of your dream home.

10.Share your simplest décor tip?

M&J: A display of recipe books or a beautiful plant will make the kitchen become more alive. Less is more. Try not to clutter your worktops.

11.Is there something that you simply will never ever do when it comes to interiors - something you would avoid or advise your client to avoid?

M&J: We always give the best possible options to our clients. We will always do different layouts to help a client understand and see all their options. We also try to encourage our clients to have a neutral base in their kitchen and add pops of colour with décor and accessories or by adding different textures. It’s much easier to change the accessories when you get bored or tired of it rather than your entire kitchen.

12.What are your go to basics when you’re designing?

M&J: Practical layouts and client brief. We always like to think how best it will be to work in the space and plan around it, so the space feels well thought out and works well.

13.What would you tell someone who doesn’t have a big budget? How do you work around this to achieve their dream design?

M&J: You can still have a beautiful kitchen with a small budget. It’s so helpful to us when clients give a budget straight away as that help us recommend the correct finishes and hardware for their budget. There is so much you can do and so many options. The best is to speak with us to understand your options.

14.What advice would you give to those out there who would like to “do it themselves” and design and build their kitchen from scratch?

M&J: You need to know what you are doing. It can be done, but it will be so stressful, so a lot of research must be done. Kitchens are a central point in any household, so you want it done right. If you want to do it yourself, we are happy to sit down with you and offer advice where we can.

15.What are your thoughts on Covid-19 and its effect on us and our industry? Where do you see the industry moving after all of this?

M&J: Covid-19 is probably the biggest thing to happen to us in our lifetime. It is hard to say what the effect will be on our business and industry yet because nothing like this has ever happened, we just must stay positive and do what we can. Real estate is a big industry so I think we will see a dip for a while in the markets, but we are hoping it will come right again.

16.Do you have any advice for those starting out in the industry now or wanting to get into a career as an interior designer?

M: Be open with clients and give them advise where you can, they rely on you. Be organised and always write down everything when having a brief with a client.

This career is for social people as you will be speaking to a lot of people: clients, suppliers, builders. Be confident and kind. The end result is amazing, but the process is long, so a lot of patience needed.

J: I think you just need to have a passion for it. If this is something you really love its always easier to make a career out of something you really enjoy doing because you will be doing it every day so rather do what you love then it won’t feel like work J Knowledge is power so study and learn all you can about interior design. One thing Marina and I follow is our passion not only for what we do but for our clients. We always try to give a more personal service to clients and want to oversee all aspects from the design and installation, so we have happy clients. It’s so important to align yourself with a group of trustworthy suppliers so you can provide a good service and quality goods. I think you also need to have pride in your work as that will always shine through.

For more information about Jen & Marina or to chat to them further you can reach out to them via their website cami-interiors.co.za.

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