Today in The Lounge, Nick chats with Janice Barta of Barta Interiors. Janice discusses her early days as a designer, how she started her business, the implications of technology for the industry and her plans for the future.
As a child growing up in Baltimore, Janice was always drawing, designing and building with Legos. When it was time to head off to college Janice enrolled at Maryland Institute College of The Arts and soon discovered its Interior Architecture Department, instantly realizing this was an ideal fit. At the time AutoCAD was a fairly new program and her academic curricula focused solely on hand drawing. Recognizing the value of being skilled in AutoCAD, Janice transferred to Parsons School of Design in NYC. She credits her skill in AutoCAD in helping her obtain many jobs. While in college she interned at Design Collective in Baltimore as well as with a few local independent designers. After graduating, Janice began researching European companies to find work abroad, eventually landing a job in Milan and a multidisciplinary art and design firm.
Starting the Business
Eventually, Janice decided to go out on her own. Now residing in Los Angeles, she had recently gotten married and had a small child at home who needed extra care. Her husband also worked in the industry as a contractor which helped make her career transition much more seamless. She was able to pick up a few projects and ongoing calls which helped her launch her business. Now in business for 6 years, Janice has two people that work for her, and most of her projects are high-end residential. Their approach to design is collaborative. Janice personally oversees every project while the rest of the staff manages. In the beginning, it was difficult for Janice to let go and let others share the design role, but she ultimately realized that her staff is trained designers and that they bring something valuable to the table. Once she understood this, she was able to let go and let others in.
The Implication of Technology
Technology has made her job both easier and harder. With a variety of products available online it is easy for clients to research and source their own items. But sometimes, clients have trouble expressing themselves and they send an image of what they like while still trusting her to put the room together. Other times she has clients that continually send product emails and ask for her feedback. This can take away from the excitement of what designers can find for them and also makes clients feel like they can be a designer. While it can be frustrating, Janice advises others to realize that clients are coming to you because they know you will be better at facilitating something for them and that you can see the whole picture.
Next, Janice would love to transition into product and furniture design. She loves sourcing vintage pieces and the architectural side of designing furniture and cabinetry. While she already designs custom furniture for her clients she would love to eventually develop her own line!
Chaise Lounge Updates
The #MakeMyChaise competition has been narrowed down to six finalists. Between May 14th and May 25th, vote for your favorite design to help one lucky winner’s idea go from napkin to showroom as it’s developed, built and featured at this year’s BDNY event. Follow this link to check out the designs and vote!
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