As the newest designer at Dixon Smith Interiors, Alana Roussel has a lot of insight and fresh ideas to offer our group. It should come as no surprise that we have quickly grown fond of her, and thought it a great idea to have everyone else get to know her too. We recently asked our wonderful LSU interior design interns, Patty Muchacho and Christy Porta, to interview Alana to find out more about her design experience. Check out what she had to say.
CHRISTY: When did you realize that you wanted to be an interior designer?
ALANA: I was in college. I had no idea what I wanted to do until I got to LSU. I was always a creative and crafty person, so I knew it was going to be in that direction. I was torn between Landscape Design and Interior Design, but after taking a course in Landscape Design, I knew that Interior Design was the best match for me.
PATTY: Did you always know you wanted to pursue your career in the Residential field rather than commercial? If not, when did you realize this?
ALANA: I had a good idea going into design school I wanted to do residential. At LSU they really focus on commercial which helped me decide even more on residential design. I find that commercial is more restrictive rather than residential design.
PATTY: How different is Interior Design school from the real life?
ALANA: Having to deal with a real life client and having a real life budget may be the two biggest differences. Everything in school is all hypothetical and you really have no one to answer to in order to produce a right or wrong result.
ALANA: From everything, everywhere, and everyone. It’s been school, television, magazines, co-workers, friends, etc. It’s not just from one good place. I’ve been gathering knowledge throughout my life.
PATTY: What things/aspects do you like from working at Dixon Smith Interiors compared to your past job?
ALANA: In my past job I was restricted to using certain materials which restrained you to certain rooms. At Dixon I have the freedom to use so many materials in so many ways and still visiting my past job for projects. And bug my old co-workers.
CHRISTY: What is your favorite space to design?
ALANA: Since I’ve been working in hard surfaces, kitchen and bath design for the past 9 years, these are my favorite spaces to design. To me it’s a challenge because you have hard surfaces that you can’t really maneuver easily, as opposed to fabrics and furniture. You have to depend on the installer to make something look pretty. So you have to deal with the challenge of making it easy enough for the installer to understand, but interesting enough for the client to love.
PATTY: What would you do in a situation where your design ideas did not coincide with your client’s ideas?
ALANA: Step back and reassess the project and the ideas of the client. Making sure that I did listen and go in a direction the client wanted. Sometimes giving a client what they asked for makes them realize that really wasn’t what they wanted. There will also be times that a designer and a client do not click and cannot get on the same page. Admitting that or suggesting another designer should be a consideration…nothing to be ashamed of or scared to do.
CHRISTY: What has been your favorite project so far?
CHRISTY: What do you do in order to get inspired?
ALANA: Just keep my eyes and ears open. Inspiration is everywhere. I can get inspired simply by talking to you, looking at fabrics, shopping for clothes, being outside, looking at magazines, Pinterest, etc. Everything is an inspiration.