by Sue Ann Rybak
Chestnut Hill resident Patricia Cove, principal at Architectural Interiors and Design, 8504 Germantown Ave., believes there’s no place like home. That’s why this summer she decided to offer a Do-it-yourself Design Workshop the second Tuesday of every month.
Cove, who has more than 30 years experience as a designer, said our everyday surroundings are important because they affect how “we feel and approach life.”
The former English and communications teacher discovered her passion for design after getting a part-time job as a designer at Jonn’s Contemporary Interiors in the 1980s.
“I would walk in that store and think, I love this – the atmosphere, the furnishings, the designs, ”said Cove, who was studying educational psychology at Temple University at the time. “That’s when I decided to get my degree in architectural history and design.”
Cove said her diverse background in education, psychology, design and history, all play important roles in running her business.
“Interior design can sometimes get a bad reputation because some designers tend to create what they love,” Cove said.
She said people often think hiring an interior designer means surrendering control. But, just like a teacher or a counselor, Cove believes her job is to listen and assist her clients.
“I will help you to create what you love and guide you through that process,” Cove said.
Cove said that, unfortunately, the recession has forced many manufacturers in the design industry to close.
“You don’t have the options and the selections that used to be out there,” Cove said. “I don’t want to bash companies like Restoration Hardware or Conrads, but everything looks the same and I still think deep down people want their environments to be unique.”
She said the new trend in virtual interior design services combined with the recent recession has resulted in an increase in remodeling horror stories.
Cove said with just a click of the mouse, people can go online and order a chair without ever getting a chance to touch or see the fabric. She said too often when people buy items online there is no follow-up or customer service.
Cove offered a few tips to avoid becoming a victim of a design dilemma. She doesn’t recommend shopping on the Web.
“It’s okay to get ideas from the Web,” Cove said. “The most important thing is to see a sample before ordering.”
She advises placing an order with a reputable design firm or a furniture store that will back up its sale. Cove said occasionally customers will buy fabric or other material from Fabric Row on South 4th Street in Philadelphia.
“They have great selections, but they will just pull the bolt off the rack and say here’s 5 yards, pay for it,” Cove said. “What happens when you get it back home and realize in the middle of the bulk is a huge flaw?”
Cove said one of the benefits of hiring or consulting a professional designer is that they know exactly what can go wrong and how to avoid it in the beginning.
At Cove’s DIY Design Workshop, you will have all the elements of design at your fingertips, so customers don’t have to play the “guessing game.”
“My library includes every element of space, including furniture, fabrics, wall coverings, carpets, trims and moldings, lighting, hardware and cabinetry,” Cove said.
She said the DIY Workshop offers everyone “a chance to design a room with the assistance of a professional designer for less than half the cost of an individual design consultation.”
Mary Eno, of Mt. Airy, took Cove’s DIY Workshop to get practical and cost effective decorating ideas
from a design expert. Eno and other participants spent the evening discussing project ideas while sorting through fabrics, color wheels, catalogs and books.
“She was warm and inviting, so that everyone felt comfortable raising questions and sharing ideas about projects we were doing,” Eno said. “I left her office that late summer night having figured out most of what needed doing. And, she’s following up with me now as I make the final decisions.”
The next DYI Design Workshop will be held Oct. 8 at Patricia Cove’s design studio. For more information or to register go to pmcove.com/workshop.html or call 215-248-3219. The cost of the workshop is $100.