A Day in the Life of an Interior Decorator & Stylist
Interview with Singapore Interior Designer Priya Naik
by Yen Taylor
Priya and I met online a while ago online. We haven’t met in person so in my imagination, when I think of her, she’s a blur of colour and energy whizzing through streets, buildings and big apartment blocks all over Singapore. She’s an interior designer who built her career up over the last 8 years. She is so focused, hardworking and determined and… (cheer-a-sister-on)…she’s really seeing the results now. In this interview she shares how it feels to start seeing the creative success she’s worked hard for but also the difficult part of being “on” all the time. In this interview, meet Priya a whirlwind of creativity who turns spaces into homes and white space into that contented sigh noise people make when they open their front door. She’s pretty inspiring.
Hi Priya, So happy to be interviewing you for my blog! Introduce yourself to my readers….
Hi! My name is Priya Naik, my creative work is my ultimate passion of creating interior spaces that improve well-being through my interior decorating and styling services. I founded Interior Design Journey and have been helping my clients improve their well-being by creating a sanctuary where they can relax after a busy day.
I live in the beautiful and sunny garden city of Singapore (although it’s been gloomy and raining a lot today…). Singapore is definitely the right place for creative people, there are so many interesting buildings to see (old and new — love the colourful shophouses!!), museums to go to, exhibitions to attend and it’s just a very happening place to be!
I am a workaholic and a perfectionist, I love my work so much (sometimes I can’t sleep because I am creating interiors in my mind for my clients). I love to shop, I could shop all day every day, this skill comes in very handy with my sourcing part of the job. I love colour, textures and patterns which you will see from my clothes, I very rarely wear black!
How did you become up an interior designer?
I have always loved fabrics and colours throughout high school and college I studied Textiles along aside business studies and math’s. I would decorate at home and family would ask my opinion when decorating their homes. After university I began a career in Merchandising for a British high street brand and had the time of my life until the move to Singapore came up 8 years ago. When I moved to Singapore I came across an opportunity to work with a small interior design firm specialising in residential work so I jumped for it as I had always had an interest in interiors. After 2 years I moved on to work for a slightly larger firm working on hospitality projects for hotel chains, designing restaurant’s and spas. During this time we purchased our first home in Singapore and I had the opportunity to go for a full on renovation and decoration, creating a sanctuary for me and my husband. Every day I would look forward to coming home after a busy day and relax in our sanctuary. That was the turning point and the founding point for Interior Design Journey, I wanted to create spaces for client’s that made them feel calm and relaxed, a sanctuary they could escape too.
What’s a typical work day for you?
My schedule is crazy and changes everyday, I can’t really plan nights out or weekend plans in advance anymore as my as client’s and my projects always come first. My week could involve meeting new client’s, visiting their existing homes and new homes, site visits to check on contractors work for ongoing projects, sourcing around town for furnishings, putting together mood boards, planning and preparing for new projects, selecting fabrics & finishes, putting concepts together, replaying to emails, marketing on facebook, updating my website and the list could just go on and on!
How do you work through your design process?
Once I meet a client and view their space or see a floor plan, my brain goes into overdrive. I am immediately throwing out ideas for space planning, colour themes, furniture styles, sourcing lists. It’s just so much fun!
We imagine interior designers like we see on tv sitcoms like ‘Will and Grace’, in big offices surrounded by moodboards, swatches and fabric samples… What is an interior designers workspace is really like?
I work from home when I need to and park myself at the dining table, there is great light coming in from the window so it’s a great spot. However majority of the time I am not home as my work requires me to be out meeting clients & visiting their homes, going out to suppliers to source etc. I mostly work from home in the evening after running around town all day, I come back and download all my photos, electronically file them, reply to emails, work on presentations and get all the things done I need a laptop for.
What do you love most about your work?
I love sourcing for furnishings, selecting fabrics & designing soft furnishings.
How have you developed your skills and become so good at what you do?
It has taken me 8 years to get to where I am now, working in the design field for 5 years were the most challenging years of my life but I got through it for the better.
I have developed my own interior decorating style and know how to quickly put spaces, colours and textures together for my clients.
Share with us, a proud creative moment you’ve had lately.
A project of mine will was featured in a local magazine called Look Box Living. It feels amazing when you receive appreciation for the work you do and create.
What’s next for you?
I am at a stage now where my brand Interior Design Journey which I launched in September 2015 is now becoming well known therefore hopefully this will lead to many more client’s I am able to help.
What is hard about what you do?
There is a side to interior design that nobody sees, it’s very tiring and draining both mentally and physically (most days I don’t even have time for lunch). I could be managing up to 7 different contractors at one time, painters, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, main contractor, aircon conractor, landscapers as well as running around town looking for the best quality, most reasonably priced and unique pieces that will create the look I have in my mind.
What keeps you moving forward anyway?
My client’s testimonials and the reactions I get when they see the finished space is what keeps me going. It’s just so exciting however it is a very tiring job which nobody really understands or can see.
When are struggling in your creativity, who do you look up to, who do you talk to?
Fortunately this doesn’t happen so much but when it does my husband is my rock!
Can you share with us another creative who you’re really enjoying or being inspired by right now?
I love Kelly Wearstler’s style and I am addicted to watching any kind of home makeover shows!
Give some advice to a reader who is wanting to tread a similar creative path to you.
Don’t give up, stop and think about why you are doing what you are doing and that will give you all the answers you will ever need.
I know a lot of people say believe in yourself but it’s so true, I always used to doubt myself and think can I really do this… Yes you can but it takes everything you have, you have to really want this and work day and night, it’s hard but when you reach that point you will see that it was all worth it!
What is currently your favourite creative work or piece of yours & why?
Gosh that’s a hard one, I fall in love with all my projects as they are so unique and different from one another. I did thoroughly enjoy 2 recent projects as the themes were very different to my normal design style, one was an Indoor/Outdoor Resort Sanctuary feel and another a Contemporary Moroccan Middle Eastern vibe.
Any tips, tricks or tools that you’ve discovered lately that would help other creative women?
- I have discovered Todoist where you can have a task list,
- Cam scanner for scanning documents quickly,
- I love dropbox as it connects to my laptop and as soon as I get home my laptop and dropbox sync,
- Wix is a platform I created my own website on and is easy to use.
Is there something about you, your life or work that might surprise my readers?
Did I mention I love shopping!! I have not found anyone who can keep up with me and my shopping antics, my enthusiasm never fades.
You can see more of Priya’s work on her website here
About the Author Yen Taylor
Yen Taylor is an Aussie freelance writer & illustrator living in the UK, with work in publications including Houzz, Medium & more. I cover topics including accessibility, disability, equality & mental health. I have a particular interest in issues faced by those of us who are LGBT+ & the experiences of my East/South-East Asian community in European & Western society. I like to focus on where culture, identity, creativity, activism & the potential for change, intersects with the above topics. I create spot illustrations and photography for my work as needed. | Instagram| Twitter