Ginger Curtis is a passionate designer that believes interesting is better than perfect. She has made it Urbanology Designs’ mission to change lives through the most important space: our homes. She shares with us the lessons that she had learned in life and business.
How did you get started with interior design?
I started designing furniture and selling it in boutiques. I quickly gained success and traction. One thing led to another, and a full-service interior design firm was birthed, but not before a cancer diagnosis and 18 months of chemo. I walked away with my life and was ready to exercise a very God-given ability and strength I had!
What do you use as inspiration for your projects or general style?
Organic materials, earth tones, and foundations that are sure to stand the test of time.
What types of spaces do you specialize in?
The “new” Rustic Modern: modern urban spaces that are always cozy and welcoming, never cold.
What’s a favorite project you’ve done and what made it so special?
My kids’ room! It’s a minimalist Scandinavian inspired children’s room that is nothing short of dreamy. A lot of the pieces were handmade and designed by me, like the floating bunk beds for example. It is loaded with texture and charm but still very simple, leaving room for the imagination to wander.
What design rule do you love to break, if any?
Having different types of flooring throughout the house. If it’s a space that is clearly separated from another room, then the sky is the limit! In my hallways upstairs I have carpet, but in my kids’ room, I have handmade maple floors. Beautiful!
What would you say is the most common decorating mistake that clients make?
Scale. Most people don’t realize how critical this is. It can be furniture, art, or decor. It’s often way too big or way too small for the space, which will kill your design.
How would you describe your style?
Unfussy, relaxed, and comfortable. Oh, and let’s not forget creative!
Where do you find inspiration?
Inspiring architectural features and design, raw organic materials, the outdoors, and artwork!
What’s next for you? Any exciting projects coming up?
Yes! We’ve just purchased an old fire station, which will become the new home of our design firm as well as an event space and executive offices. We are building a loft (yes, it will have a fire pole!) where the design firm will be. Below, in the engine room, will be a giant open space flooded with light for the most spectacular event space ever!
Let’s get down to business:
What advice would you give to someone starting a design business?
Don’t be afraid to grow, and yes, that means hiring someone. My life/design business changed overnight when I brought on extremely talented people. I focus on the things that I’m good at and don’t try to be the best at everything. That is what my team is for. I rely on them for the things they are good at, and that is exactly how it should be.
What’s the most challenging client situation you’ve been faced with and how did you deal with that?
Paint color is one of the trickiest areas of the design world because it changes depending on the environment it’s in: lighting, shadows, and anything else that is reflecting off it will cause changes in the hue. I had a client approve a paint color, and we even did samples on the wall, which we always insist on. But, once the whole house was painted, she decided it wasn’t for her. I stayed calm, validated her concerns rather than defend mine, and we came up with a game plan to start over. It wasn’t fun for any of us, but being offended and overreacting is not going to help you or your client.
What’s the best part about owning your own business?
Endless amounts of creative freedom. If I have an awesome idea, I get to DO IT! Oh, and working with the most awesome people ever – my team rocks!
What’s the hardest part about owning your own business?
As an entrepreneur, you are not guaranteed anything. The success of your business lies on your shoulders and with that, a hefty responsibility to yourself and your employees.
What do you wish you would have known before you jumped in and started your design business?
To not doubt myself so much or be so hard on myself.
How do you manage social media?
We do all of our social media in-house. It’s one of our crown jewels, and we enjoy it very much!
Do you have a favorite social media platform? Why that one?
Instagram, because it is so visual and has been so incredibly impactful on our business.
Have you found a system that works well for you for charging rates?
Yes, flat fees. We know how to scope out projects really well. This allows us, and our clients, to know from beginning to end what they will pay in design fees.
What aspects of the running of your business do you outsource and how?
We outsource our web design to a really talented local web designer. Everything else we do in-house.
What’s something that you find yourself spending too much time on?
How do you set boundaries between work time and free time?
I don’t reply to work emails or take work phone calls on the weekends. My amazing hubby and 5 kids deserve my undivided attention.
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS:
Do you have a favorite color to work with on design projects? We love monochromatic and neutral palettes, but when it comes to color, blue wins hands down!
What’s your dream vacation? A glamping trip in the mountains.
What’s your guilty pleasure? Dr. Pepper and red vines.
Three words to describe your style? Casual, Unique, European.
Which trends are you loving right now? Buffalo check, oh yeah, bring it on!
What’s your least favorite design? Ultra Traditional
Go-to place when you’re in a slump? A walk on the trails in my neighborhood.
Favorite hobbies/activities outside of design? Cooking, projects around the house, walking up the street to my sister’s to just hang out, watching a good movie.
What’s an item you can’t leave home without? A sweater or light jacket. I can’t stand to be cold!
What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn? How to make pottery 🙂
Want to see more of Ginger’s work? Stay up to date here:
All images courtesy of
Urbanology Designs / Sesha Smith, Convey Studios