Emily Morrow, the Director of Color, Style & Design at Shaw Floors, is an industry leader. When she’s not at Shaw, she spends her time teaching people how to incorporate great design into their lives. Emily was an ideal choice to spotlight for Teacher’s Day because this week, she’s in China teaching American decorating principles to some of China’s best designers. Read on as Emily shares her advice for burgeoning professionals:
1. What made you want to work in the design industry?
It began as far back as a little girl decorating my doll house making rugs, draperies and painting the walls. I always loved design. Throughout the college years, my friends and family would ask for my help in selecting things for their dorm rooms or apartments. At the time, my major was Art History. I eventually changed it to Interior Design.
2. Show us a picture of a project you really enjoyed working on and tell us why you loved it so much?
Hands down, my favorite project was a ranch house in Texas. It was such a pleasure working with the clients who were all three men. Each had his own unique role in the project, and they gave me the freedom to interpret and fulfill their shared vision of what the ranch houseshould be — functional, practical, durable, timeless and most importantly handsome. At the conclusion of the project, my family and I were able to visit as guests and truly enjoy the space in the way it was meant to be.
3. What designer(s) most influence you and why?
Jamie Drake is one of my favorites, as well as Alexa Hampton. Their styles are as different as the reasons why I am inspired by them. Jamie Drake inspires me by his bold use of colors and ability to achieve the sophistication that I’m drawn to visually. Alexa Hampton is restrained in her use of colors, using mostly neutrals. As a mother, she understands that interior colors should be practical and beautiful.
4. What is the number one thing you want your students to learn?
The design profession is a wonderful field in which to work. It’s a blessing to work among creative minds! The latitude in the design world is wide and allows you many, many options. As you gain experience in one field of design you can evolve and move into others.
5. What do you love about being a teacher of design?
It’s a joy to teach and inspire someone to make something aesthetically pleasing. It’s thrilling to know that not only are we showing others how to bring beauty to the world around them, but also enhancing their daily lives. Colors can be healing, soothing or exciting. Knowing that lives are lived inside the spaces you helped to make is a highly rewarding thing.
6. What one design tip do you want to share with our readers?
Listen. Ask questions. Listen again. Don’t be afraid of silence. In every profession, many people are tempted to fill in a silent pause with talk. They could learn so much more about the topic if they’d allow the other person finish. Consider your role as a designer to be one very similar to a counselor. It’s the client’s needs that are most important. Our role is to not only show them the way, but to walk it with them. Have you ever noticed that designer’s friends are often former clients? A really great designer gets right in the midst of the client’s heart and mind, ultimately helping to fulfill her vision. This results in a very special bond that almost always leads to life-long friendships.