Steve Jobs, the brilliant businessman, designer and inventor who passed in 2011 said, “Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works.” (Wired magazine, Feb., 1996.)
Claudia Leah of Decorating Den in Naples likes that quote because it sums up her design philosophy. She truly listens to her clients and works with them to create spaces that are both beautiful and functional.
“Job’s design idea came after going to a kitchen appliance store. He was drawn to brands that had a very clean, stainless steel look,” says Claudia. “He liked that look and started introducing it into his own designs. He switched to black, white and silver. His laptops kept getting thinner and thinner. They kept getting sleeker and more functional.
“That same theory can be applied to the interior design field. Good design is not just about being pretty. Rooms must also allow for the traffic pattern and usage. For instance, a couch in the middle of the room might look good in a magazine, but if there’s no place to plug in a lamp to read it’s not functional,” Claudia explains.
Claudia recently helped a local artist, Muffy Clark Gill, redesign her Funky Flamingo Studio, where she creates beautiful batik art. This is a good example where function outweighed beauty.
Working with a limited budget Claudia created a workspace and storage area that fit Muffy’s needs as a busy artist. There are cupboards, shelves and storage bins to hold all Muffy’s artist’s supplies and large uncluttered work areas where she can work more relaxed.
“I needed space to store all my stuff,” says Muffy. “Claudia came up with a perfect arrangement that has increased its utility and made me very happy. It’s now the studio of my dreams.”
Claudia is very straightforward with her clients because she knows what works and what doesn’t work. Tactfully she points out the pitfalls of their own decorating ideas if they’re not practical for the space.
“When the project is completed I want my client to say, “I’m so glad I followed your advice. My space looks beautiful and it’s completely functional too.”