Carolyn Anderson Design

Asheville, NC

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About this pro

How does your business stand out?

My work is deep, going beyond the typical process of making interior spaces beautiful. My benchmark for a successful project is how the lives of my clients are supported, uplifted, inspired, and/or expanded by the results of what we have created together. I am an active listener and involve my clients in the process. I never dictate but rather allow the dreams of my clients to direct where the design will go..

What do you enjoy about the work you do?

My favorite thing about my work is seeing the changes that occur in my clients in the months and years after the project is complete. It is most deeply satisfying when I see this in children. Nothing is more fulfilling to me than to have had a positive effect on someone's life.

Location

Asheville, NC 28806

Background check

Complete

Years in business

22

Number of employees

1

Times hired on Thumbtack

17

Reviews

10 Reviews
  • Carolyn E. Sep 4, 2017
    Interior Design
    Verified Review
  • Polly M. Aug 28, 2017
    Interior Design
    Verified Review
    Carolyn Anderson did an outstanding job helping me determine color palette for my condo. She is personable and professional. She really listens and worked to execute my vision. I would not hesitate to recommend her or call upon her again myself.
    Carolyn A. Aug 28, 2017

    Hi Polly, Thank you so much for your wonderful review, and for including photos! You are the very first to do that, and it is wonderful to have them right here. I really appreciate it, and look forward to being there for you in whatever way you might need me in the future. Fondly, Carolyn

  • Doug G. Aug 26, 2017
    Interior Design
    Verified Review
    From the moment Carolyn arrived at our home, she almost became part of us, realizing our taste in what we liked. She quickly put things together for us to see how they would function and bring out what we wanted our home to look like. She is a true professional that can adapt any theme to function in your home! She also listened and connected well with our 12 year old daughter to help create ideas for her space. The whole family is very greatful we made the initial call to find Carolyn.
    Carolyn A. Aug 26, 2017

    Thank you Doug and Karen, for inviting me into your home, and for welcoming me so warmly. I wish there was a way on Thumbtack to rate clients, as I would give you 5 stars. Your openness gave me space in which to find your 'vision' for your home, and to know enough about you to really help you home in on the things that are important to you. I look forward to continuing to be of service to you in whatever way you find helpful.

  • Jenni C. Aug 17, 2016
    Interior Design
    Verified Review
    We hit it off right away! She is very easy to work with and asked a lot of questions to find out who I was....has some great ideas and we will continue to work together as my budget allows.... Really enjoy working with her
    Carolyn A. Aug 17, 2016

    Hi Jenni, Thanks so much for your heartfelt review. The feeling is mutual! I'm so happy to have met you! See you in September.

  • Bauer H. Jul 20, 2016
    Interior Design
    Verified Review
    If you are looking for an interior designer, look no further. She does more than design -- she gave me full engineered drawings down to where the electric outlets would go. I hired Carolyn to help me convert a Den into a Master Bathroom. I told her my budget, and some ideas that I head, and from there she took off! I could not believe how she managed to create a great master bathroom from such a small area. She managed to also find a place for two closets. She used every inch of space, and was able to help me create designs for a bathroom that looks much more expensive than it actually costs. She had soo many good ideas, and was tremendously thoughtful. She spent such time with us and on the project that I was amazed at how insanely reasonable her prices were. When I asked her to change a couple of things, she charged only a nominal fee. She is truly professional, and when you hire her, she will do the job and do it right, and do it very reasonably priced. Normally, they say you get what you pay for. With Carolyn, you get more than you pay for. Hire her.
    Carolyn A. Jul 20, 2016

    Thank you so much for this wonderful review, Bauer. It was such a pleasure to work with you and to put our minds together to come up with the best possible solution for that little space. Your willingness to explore some of my crazy ideas was fun and made the project go quickly. It was a major factor in the end result. Thanks again for the opportunity to support your vision.

  • Donna R. Mar 2, 2015
    Interior Design
    Verified Review
    Carolyn jumped right in & we had a good time! She offered lot of good suggestions & we worked out the windows for the front wall of the house. The experience was well worth the cost. I will call Carolyn again as the project unfolds. Thank you Carolyn for helping me personalize my new home!
  • Heather E. Nov 17, 2014
    Interior Design
    Verified Review
  • Corey W. May 5, 2014
    I had the privilege of taking courses in Kitchen Design, Interior Design Basics and Color with Carolyn Anderson instructing. Her knowledge and experience is extensive. I exercised what I learned from her in those classes while designing my own kitchen and the contractor and cabinet maker have brought numerous people to view the project. It came out better than I had ever dreamed. The hardest thing for me was to trust Carolyn's voice in my head (and notes from class) because those lessons didn't jive with what I THOUGHT I wanted. They did and now my kitchen is being nominated for a local magazine spread. I am so glad I listened to her!
  • Chelsea M. Apr 30, 2014
    Carolyn is an incredibly insightful designer that was able to uncover the ideas I couldn't express! Her plans were so professional, and she worked very well with the installers (often hard to find in a designer). She is the Real Deal, talented, creative (without being 'out there'), personable and a great listener! I'm looking forward to my next project with her (the living room!!). I highly recommend her.
  • David C. Apr 30, 2014
    Carolyn designed our first floor living space that included just about everything: living room, dining room, kitchen, pantry, bath/laundry, office, entryway with closet, piano nook, and our glorious sun porch where we extend our "outdoor" experience by 4 months a year. There is not enough to say about this design; it is us, crystallized. With her probing questions about colour, style, space and movement, she was able to design something that is as natural as our own skin. Not bad for a 100 yr old house that had us hemmed in to small boxy rooms with no flow or sense of its outdoor environment. The planning was extensive and meticulous. We gave her a budget and she stuck to it. Her turnaround for each of the many revisions was perhaps a week at the longest, a few days at the shortest. The complete design process took 2-3 months, which is lightening speed in the design industry. We ran into a small spacing issue because I measured the piano nook incorrectly, but she was able to work with it. I only say that to emphasize how important it is to accurately measure the interior space you give her to work with. She makes every inch count! If you want the perfect blend of vision and function, Carolyn is the designer for you. I can't imagine anyone doing better, but I can imagine them charging a great deal more. We absolutely loved her work!

Q&A

What should the customer know about your pricing (e.g., discounts, fees)?
My fees vary between a flat fee and an hourly fee depending on the type of project. I typically charge 10% of the overall budget for kitchens and baths, and an hourly fee of $75/hour for decorating, as there are so many unknowns when the project starts. When I am responsible for selecting and purchasing furniture, fixtures, floor coverings, lighting window treatments and accessories, I charge my net cost plus 25%, which will represent a varying discount from retail for the client depending on my company discount from the wholesaler. I work with low income clients on a sliding scale depending on their need; and I do several pro bono projects each year.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I not only take whatever courses come my way, but also teach homeowners courses that will empower them to take on projects that mystified them before.
How did you get started doing this type of work?
I was a clothing designer before entering my field of interior design. I did that work for 20 years, and although successful, I didn't feel fulfilled by it. Moving from the NYC area to San Francisco allowed me to shift gears and consider new horizons. There, I met some really great interior designers who were incredibly generous and helpful, and learned how I could really make a difference in people's lives through this work. I immediately decided to go back to school and get another degree so as to be able to provide the highest level of service in my new endeavor. I've never looked back.
What types of customers have you worked with?
I'm often asked to help with color selection as a starting point, but typically move on from there into whatever spaces need updating, restoring or renovating. Because I'm very good at designing kitchens that are not only beautiful, but also excellent work spaces, I'm very often asked for that service. My very first project, while still in school, was a high end kitchen designed around a 1930's Magic Chef range in an historically important house in Alameda, California. As a result of my fashion design background, I'm very knowledgeable about fabric and am often asked to use this medium to create certain feelings, a particular ambiance or to solve an upholstery problem. Color and fabric are of one mind when it comes to these issues and I am a specialist in both areas.
Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?
My most challenging project ever was a home in Canada that needed an entire re-imagining of space both within and without. The client called upon me to rearrange the entire first floor interior layout, add a sunroom, expand the wrap-around porch, and add a sleeping porch on the second floor. Because the house was nearly 100 years old, and they wanted to use the most energy efficient materials and incorporate passive solar into the design, there were many challenges in creating a good flow while accommodating the dreams they had for their lives and their home. The results were beyond any of our expectations and have not only cut way down on energy bills, but added a new dimension of joy to their lives now that they have plenty of space to entertain their grandchildren.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
When looking to hire an interior designer, the most important factor to consider is rapport. Do you feel safe sharing your dreams, desires and needs with this person? Do you trust them to really listen to you? Do you see in the examples of their work a sense of good communication with former clients? Definitely check references and ask questions like: "How did you feel when working with this person? Did you feel acknowledged? Appreciated? Heard and seen? Did this person demonstrate an understanding of your life, how you like to do things? Did they answer your questions openly and honestly? Do you feel their fees are reasonable, and do you LOVE the results of their work? Do you feel they are knowledgeable about their business? Do they communicate with you clearly?" Choose someone you resonate with and whom you feel will serve you, not their ego.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
I would love potential clients to know that working with me can actually save them money. Often, when people think of interior design, they conjure up images taken from Architectural Digest and are immediately intimidated. Although there is definitely a place for that kind of design, my focus is on designing spaces that are truly lived in; sometimes messy but always well organized with a place to put everything away at the end of the day; designed to feel like they fit like a glove; asking to be used, not passed through. Every item is carefully and thoughtfully considered before anything is purchased. If something already owned works with a little spiffing up, that's always my first choice. "Reuse" is my mantra. If something new needs adding, the client's budget is the first consideration, and nothing is chosen that would send the costs over that budget unless the client drives that choice. My job is to show them what is possible and their job is to make the final decision about how money is allocated. Also, working with me avoids mistakes. I recently worked with a client who was buying a second sofa and chair because she decided she didn't like the first choice when it showed up at her house. It looked so perfect in the showroom, but didn't work at all in her own living room. The same can be said about color. So many of my clients call me in to rescue them from bad color choices based on photos in magazines. What they don't understand is that every location has different light and light affects color profoundly.