We sat down with Denver Designer Amanda Friemel to talk interior design styles, favorite projects, and what it’s like designing for Duet Design Group’s affiliate company, Inside Stories by Duet Design Group. Get to know Amanda, learn about Inside Stories, and start a project with the Inside Stories team today.
Tell us a little about your background and why you decided to become an interior designer.
I always thought I wanted to be an architect. Experiencing the immersive nature of a well-designed space aimed me towards a love of buildings and hours pouring over floor plans from a young age. But my first design mentor growing up in Seattle, Susan Marinello, who still owns an amazing design firm, took me under her wing and showed me the amazing spaces she designed. She saw something in me and steered me towards my dream job of interior design! To make absolutely sure, I spent my last year of high school in a dual credit interior design program and knocked out my first few design school credits. I fell in love with textures and layers and learning the delicate details of how spaces fit together from the ground up.
What are some of your key design philosophies?
1. Knowing how you live gets you almost everywhere in design! There are so many gorgeous pieces and fabrics and materials out there, but if your home doesn’t work for you, the daily rhythms of realistically living in your space won’t fall into place.
2. If you have a favorite piece or something unusual that you in-particular love or can’t get out of your head, there is no need to doubt your instincts. Just one thing can inspire a room, and I especially love anything that brings a connection to a client. I love working around pieces with a story.
3. At the end of the day, I love getting to know my clients and letting them guide my concept, vision, and all of those details that line up to create the perfect, personal space.
What would you say are some of your strengths as a designer?
Space planning, and keeping the big picture in mind – I love to keep focused on the vision and concept.
What are some of your pet peeves as a designer?
A lot of things are just challenges to overcome rather than pet peeves. It’s tough being pigeon-holed into a single idea, or having a home that has meandering, confusing layouts, but anything can be overcome and anything that might seem annoying can be an asset if approached correctly!
Where do you look for inspiration? Are there any recent examples of things that have inspired your work?
Staying inspired as an interior designer is a vital piece of my career. Not just because of trends and keeping up-to-date about what other people do, but motivating that creative part of who I am. I still love to spend some of my non-toddler filled free time weaving tapestries (I was a textile art minor in college and I still love it) and just creating. My life mentor is a brilliant multi-media artist named Deborah Abbott, and she also keeps my creativity flowing as well.
One of my favorite places on earth is an interior design marvel: Hill House – the personal home of the brilliant designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh. I was starstruck when I got to visit in Scotland a few years ago.
Amanda at Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Hill House in Scotland
In interior design, I am also always scrolling through Instagram and Pinterest in a few free moments a day, and letting my research spiral every once in a while. Common patterns I see in rooms I love are:
1. Arches and architectural details (but mostly arches).
2. Old world and shaker-inspired details.
3. Gorgeously designed built-ins
What are some of your favorite projects you’ve worked on and why?
I love real people and real spaces that I know will be used every single day. This kid-friendly living room space was for an amazing family full of texture and detail. My baby had just turned one, so I understood the fear of crumbs and spills and knowing that toys spread across the floor was a common part of my life now.
I have also been honored to be a part of some amazing high-end projects with my very first interior design boss. Incredible homes, especially in the San Juan Islands of Seattle. Commissioned artist, hand-made rugs and totally custom furniture pieces. It was an amazing place to jump start my career.
You’re new to the team! What excites you about joining the Inside Stories Design team (vs working for other firms)?
Inside Stories works with any size project, any budget, any client! I absolutely am obsessed with that philosophy. A-la-carte interior design means as a client you are not forced into any decisions, and expectations are so, so clear from the very beginning. Not only does that respect my clients and our working relationship, but also my job as a designer.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not designing?
I absolutely and genuinely love my toddler and how curious and life-giving being a mom is. I never thought I would be a mother, but it’s definitely the best thing mother nature has ever thrown at me!
I also spend as much time as possible reading, keeping up with my fiction, and taking advantage of my unlimited movie theater pass. Anything immersive that I can really invest in!
Currently I am also renovating a little pop-up camper for my family (mostly for me though. I’ll be honest – I don’t like sleeping on the ground!). I love learning how to replace flooring and create new cushions and curtains for this traveling home to truly make it mine. My husband’s second job is as an incredible wildlife photographer, and he loves bringing us with him on weekends or extended outdoor vacations.
Amanda and her toddler; her stack of (color coordinated) fiction