Next in line for our Friends of U-fab Series is Ami Smith of Embellish Interiors out of Charlottesville. Ami is a regular of our Charlottesville location and has shopped with us since we opened up there. Ami was actually part of the recent Charlottesville Design House and had the pleasure of design the outside back patio overlooking the incredible Blue Ridge mountains. That project was just a taste of what Ami can offer her clients.
Ami Smith, owner of Embellish Interiors, has been ‘Embellishing’ Charlottesville for nearly 10 years. Ami is originally from West Virginia and holds a Bachelor’s degrees in Liberal Arts with concentrations in dance and Japanese, and a Master of Occupational Therapy, both from West Virginia University. Her creativity and passion for design has always been part of her personal and professional life and with experience as a teacher, therapist and retail merchandiser. Ami eventually decided start her own business to focus on interior design. Ami has a unique ability to meet the needs of the area’s diverse clientele – from those who just want to refresh an existing space or add a splash of color, to large-scale projects that require a completely new design concept. Ami is grateful to be fulfilling her dream, and thankful to her talented team of associates who help her create gorgeous, livable spaces customized for each client. Ami lives in Charlottesville with her diva of a daughter and a rock star husband who support and allow her to pursue her dream.
Getting Personal: A Q & A
Will : What is your favorite part of your job?
Ami : I really enjoy the creative outlet. It is so fun to get to know new people and think about their needs and likes. I really like figuring out what they want for their home. But maybe that’s my second favorite. Shopping is probably my most favorite if all activities. Ever.
Will : Do you have any advice for people who are planning on decorating?
Ami : Concentrate on one room at a time. It is so much easier to manage, less confusing and feels great to have a completed space to use.
Will : What is the first step one should take when it comes to redecorating?
Ami : Take a look at the time you spend in the room and how you are using it. We have evolved from the formal sitting room that no one uses with the furniture everyone is afraid to touch. We should get the best use of our homes. I also like to take a photo of the rooms and approach decorating from the photo. We get complacent with our own spaces and it’s difficult to look at them objectively when we’re living in them. By looking at them from a photo, we get a different perspective on what the room really looks like to other people.
Will : What is your favorite style that is trending now?
Ami : I really love the blush pink color that is popular right now. It is so subtle — almost taupe, but with a touch of softer femininity. My office is a pretty pink!
Will : What is your personal style?
Ami : It’s funny — this question is a really hard one for me! I spend so much time trying to figure out what other people’s styles are that I haven’t really defined my own! I really do fall in love with the different design directions my clients send me on. I am drawn to larger scale, clean lines, sparkle and drama. In my own home, the decor is very eclectic, but mostly contemporary. I love to change accessories seasonally and I use a lot of meaningful things for display — items we’ve collected on vacations or things passed down.
Will : Are there any tricks of the trade that you would like to share?
Ami : I’ll share 2:
1) Start with fabrics. Choose your room color based on the fabrics you want to use — paints can be matched to anything, but fabric choices are more limited.
2) Hang your drapes high and wide.
Will : What is your favorite possession in your home?
Ami : My husband and I bought a curved sectional as soon as our offer was accepted on this house. It was a huge risk, as we ordered it sight unseen online and when I ordered it, the salesperson warned me, “It’s big!”. But it is so perfect for the space and is wonderful for conversation and lounging. And my footsie blanket runs a close second :)! (Soooo much better than the Snuggie!).
Will : How do you find your inspiration?
Ami : My clients provide it for the most part. I take note of what they have purchased and how they have approached decorating their home. I also love to find inspiration from fabrics. It is not unusual to see me wandering around U-Fab!
Will : In your opinion, what is the one thing that can change a room?
Ami : Lighting is huge and should be a big consideration. In rooms without lighting concerns, I do think adding drapery makes the biggest difference. My clients always say their rooms look so much bigger.
Will : Why should you pay someone to come to your home?
Ami : Oftentimes, my role has been to just help my clients gain the confidence in their own design direction. I am able to organize the process and planning so that there is a cohesive direction and an end product in sight. It’s also beneficial to have input from an objective party — I have been a mediator many times between differing ideas in households! It is very easy to get sidetracked and stuck on the minute details when working on a project that you lose sight of the whole picture. It’s my job to see the finished project and encourage its completion.
Will : Why do you shop at U-Fab?
Ami: I do love fabric. I love the fabric selection U-Fab offers. It’s fresh and exciting. I am also very excited to see the new furniture line and expansion in the Charlottesville shop!