Victoria: Please introduce yourself and Sharon Hocking Interior Design.
Sharon Hocking: I started my interior design business when the economy took a downturn and the design business I was working for had to let go of employees, as there were no new clients. I stayed in interior design because I love what a well designed and organized home can do for a family to enhance their lives, and I wanted to keep helping people accomplish that. It has taken time to build and grow my business, but I really love what it is today and all the potential for growth that I see ahead.
Q: What are your current design influences?
A: Living in the Pacific Northwest, there is ample inspiration everywhere I look. The color in the Columbia River Gorge changes each month and is a constant source of inspiration and excitement that ignites the creative embers. And Portland! It is a city rich with art, music, craft, design, and growth that is a constant, powerful source of creativity and life.
Q: What is important to you when developing a design for a new client?
Sally Painter Photography
A: I approach each project with observation, listening, and thought. I have learned to pick up clues from initial interviews with clients that aid me in solving their design problems. My philosophy is to offer peace of mind that I can design a home or room that reflects the best of who they are and get the project completed and installed for them to enjoy. This is the result of many years of experience.
Q: What is a common design mistake you have observed?
A: One of the more common mistakes I see homeowners make is getting the scale wrong with art on their walls—and feeling that every wall must have something on it. Blank space is good; it lets our eyes rest and allows the focal wall to be the focus.
Q: Please share a memorable project you have worked on.
A: Just outside of Portland, in my hometown of Corbett, a nice young couple had moved out of the city and wanted a more peaceful home near the Columbia River. The house had had a recent upgrade of surfaces and needed functional and comfortable furnishings and layers. It also lacked texture and architectural interest. So, we installed built-in bookcases and shiplap and lots of white trim that now looks as if it is original to the old home. It was a great compliment to see the homeowners’ excitement when we revealed the completed rooms.
Q: What is currently inspiring you?
A: Botanicals! I love them for their historical quality, accuracy, color, composition, and variety. Depending on how they are framed and displayed, they can look good in a traditional setting or a more contemporary one. And you can always find botanicals with local floral and fauna that have relevance for the area where the client lives so the art has a connection to place.
Sally Painter Photography
Q: What is the most rewarding part of what you do?
A: Honestly, I feel honored that people ask me into their homes and into their lives. I really get to know my clients and I feel very rewarded when they love working with me enough to tell their friends, who then become clients, too.
Q: What advice would you offer to women who are considering entering the design field?
A: I would offer this advice to others thinking of going into design or starting a business: Know what keeps you motivated and set yourself up to get that. What I mean by that is this: No one will walk into your studio each day and say, “Hey, you talented person, here is what you should get done today.” So, you have to know that you won’t always feel like doing the tasks that keep your business moving forward. We are all told to focus on our strengths, but that is where we usually spend our time because it’s natural to spend time in areas where we shine. Our weaknesses are what need attention, so if you are not good at marketing, hire someone who is. If you are not good with numbers and knowing how to actually make a profit, find someone who can help you access that part of your business. Meet with other people in your field to keep each other motivated and inspired by sharing stories of challenges and successes. And the big one—try not to compare your gifts and talents with those of others. Be yourself. Your gifts are unique and your business may look different from that of another person doing something similar.
Find Sharon Hocking Interiors online.