Our personal and professional living spaces speak volumes about us and our personality. At times, we’re not able to translate our personalities into our spaces and this is where an interior designer steps.
If you’re still wondering how to go about it, here’s an exclusive interview with a brilliant interior designer and her aim to personalise your living space based on your requirements.
The Lifestyle Portal recently caught up with Shilpa Govekar, a 46-year-old, Mumbai based entrepreneur who is on her journey to make houses more of a feeling rather than just bricks and walls.
Being a registered pharmacist by profession, her inner passion for designing homes came about when she was asked to take care of her new home’s interior work. She turned her passion into a profession and began her journey into the world of interiors and décor by founding Shilp-a-Dream in 2012 and getting herself certified as a professional interior designer.
Here’s our conversation with this powerhouse of a lady
How did it all begin?
Entrepreneurship is something which doesn’t necessarily come by choice. For many of the entrepreneurs we have featured on The Lifestyle Portal, entrepreneurship came about as a matter of chance just like Shilp-a-Dream.
Shilpa recalls, “We were staying in I. C. Colony, Borivali and were to shift to Thakur Village in Kandivali (East) in our new 2BHK flat. My husband gave me a two-month window and a budget to get the interiors done so that once he was back from his tour, we would shift immediately. I appointed two contractors and did the work in the stipulated time. From design to execution, I managed it all. Everyone who would visit the house felt that an interior designer did it. I think it was everybody’s kind words and wishes then, which inspired me to become an interior designer.”
Initial Investments and Branding
By profession, Shilpa was a registered pharmacist so just getting work based on her creativity was not possible. “I did a diploma course in Interiors including a 3dmax course, which however I now outsource to my artists. The brand name ‘Shilp-a-Dream came about from my name and the meaning of the word ‘Shilp’ which means ‘to sculpt’. Shilp-a-Dream as a brand name for my new work proved to be apt”, smiles Shilpa.
Shilpa explains, “Challenges exist in every field and were many for me too. For me, time management is the biggest challenge. Another challenge is selling the idea to a client based just on a floor plan (a line drawing which involves placement of furniture also called as furniture layout) and building trust, which in the end helps bring about a beautiful result. ”
“Interior designing is all about working with people i.e. clients as well as carpenters, civil contractors, plumbers, electricians etc. The expectations of the client, as well as the workforce all, need to be fulfilled. As an interior designer, I constantly need to be in sync with the latest trends and thus need to keep myself updated with the latest trends and designs”, adds Shilpa.
The competition in any line of work is vast and so is it for interior designing. Taking care of the house, kids and work, the list is indeed unending and this is a challenge for a majority of women.
What makes Shilp-a-Dream unique?
“If you go through our profile, you will realise that ours is a customer-centric firm. We feel that one’s home should reflect their personality and not the designers’. So we see to it that your preferences and aspirations are reflected in our designs. We have previously done a jungle theme living room for one of our clients and I am proud to say that it got featured in the 2017 July edition of Hindustan Times,” smiles Shilpa.
Need for an Interior Designer
According to Shilpa, hiring an interior designer is a smart decision if one has invested a right amount of money in his/ her home/ office. “Whether you have no idea where or how to begin to design your home/ office or showroom, or whether you have an idea but need help tying pieces together, or you simply don’t have the time to execute your style and desires due to your busy day to day schedule, an interior designer aides it all. In fact, hiring an interior designer is a wise and sensible choice. One must toss aside the idea that interior designers are only for the rich and famous or those with so much money that they don’t know how to spend it. In reality, we, interior designers save a great deal of your time, money and stress and make the designing process a memorable one. Also, the difference in quality between a house/ commercial space designed by a professional and that designed by a contractor or amateur, speaks for itself. The value of a well-designed space increases exponentially,” explains Shilpa.
Projects and Working with clients
Shilpa’s forte is residential projects. She has worked on projects for a single room to big homes. “For me each project is important and it receives the same amount of involvement,” says Shilpa.
Shilp-a-dream is also spreading wings in commercial and corporate projects, especially in the hospitality industry where creativity has utmost importance.
Shilpa explains her line of work, “We at Shilp-a-Dream listen, analyse, plan, design and estimate. We give our clients a comprehensive solution, taking care of the smallest details. We undertake turnkey projects that include designing, masonry, plumbing, carpentry, electrical work and false ceiling. The time required for each project varies depending upon the quantum of work. For residential projects, it can range from one to six months or more. For restaurant projects, time is very crucial. At times we need to work in a situation where the restaurant is fully functional at daytime and the interior work happens at night.”
Designing for Restaurants
Shilpa believes dining is more than just eating out; it is a form of entertainment and experience. “Guests don’t want to feel at home. They want the most memorable and therapeutic experience away from home. A well-planned design contributes to the success and profit of any dining establishment. Restaurant interior designs have a dramatic impact on the type of guests the restaurant attracts. The menu no longer dictates the theme of the restaurant. Today the focus is to create an environment that leaves a stamp of individuality. The challenge is to create an environment that has an enduring appeal. Thus standalone restaurants or independent chains also seek to carve a niche for themselves. For this, we can be the strongest support system,” explains Shilpa.
The inspiration for various designs
Shilpa’s primary focus is on functionality with a touch of beautiful aesthetics. For her, inspiration can be from something as simple as the green shade of fresh young leaves to the orange hue of the sunset in the sky, which is used as an accent colour. The shape of the clouds was an inspiration in one of her projects too. At times, according to Shilpa, the clients themselves are her biggest inspirations. Beautiful objects and drawings also serve as an endless supply of inspiration. She also draws inspiration from design magazines, to catch any interesting detail.
Response so far
“With the blessings of elders, good wishes and the support from loved ones and friends, the work that I had started as a passion, has taken shape as a full-time profession. My name has been featured twice in the Hindustan Times as an Interior Designer and today I am answering your questions. Indeed my journey has been awesome, though with some hurdles here and there. I give complete credit to all my clients who supported me and believed in me. Trust is an important factor and till date, it has served both the ways,” smiles Shilpa.
Shilpa is exploring the hospitality design industry now. Her vision statement says that Shilp-a-Dream will be a preferential firm having a global reputation. Further on she would like to work along with more prominent names in the industry by associating with them and finally enter the global market. Shilpa is also thinking of coming out with verticals in the décor industry.
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