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Beauty follows function at Simply Beautiful Spaces
Window treatments and a table and chairs make the Smiths' kitchen a welcoming space.
photos by PETER CIHELKA/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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BY RICHARD AMRHINE
The most important part of interior designer Kathryn Koch's work happens before she ever considers furniture placement, paint colors and fabric patterns.
"That first meeting [with prospective clients] is most important," Koch said while working on a job in Stafford County last week. "I have to read them quickly, and they have to feel comfortable with me. They have to trust me."
From Koch's perspective, knowing her clients and understanding their lifestyles and basic decor preferences can make or break a project.
Koch's business is Simply Beautiful Spaces (simplybeau
Koch holds a master's degree in business and certifications in redesign and staging, but considers herself a bit of a psychologist as well. She must develop a rapport with clients quickly, and she'll need to gauge how much flexibility she'll have. How much change will a particular client be prepared to live with?
The job she was working on last week represented in many ways the perfect situation.
Her clients, Dave and Kelli Smith, recently purchased a house in foreclosure in Willow Park subdivision in the Stafford Courthouse area. The 2-year-old house had not been abused, which is sometimes the case with foreclosures. But the interior walls were still contractor white, and the main-level carpet needed replacing. Koch had a pretty clean canvas with which to work.
Koch had worked with the Smiths at their previous house, so a relationship was already established. They were prepared to let Koch work her magic and knew they'd be thrilled with the results.
The Smiths are real-estate agents and, working with Kelli's mother, Marilyn Love-Cody, form the Love-Smith Team at Coldwell Banker Elite in Stafford.
Kelli Smith admits that she and her husband consider themselves pretty clueless about design and decor, even though as agents they see plenty of attractive homes. Like most people, they know what they like when they see it, but don't know where to begin.
"Kate is able to take everything and put it where it should be," said Kelli. "Some of her ideas are so simple, but we would never think of it."