Kim Knox-Thurn

The Style Project

Kim Knox-Thurn

“My greatest joy is bringing Interior Design to people who originally had never considered it.”

Kim Knox-Thurn is the principal of Sydney based firm The Style Project, a full service interior design business that specialises in residential and corporate design. Kim is also an award winning gardener and her favourite pastime is rescuing unloved furniture from the side of the road and transforming it into a piece anyone would be proud to have in their home. No matter where you live or work The Style Project want you to be doing it in style.

1 Tell us about your career path and how it has evolved over time?

My interior design passion grew organically following years of working with architects and builders on office fit out and remodels. My first step towards my new career started after years of retail and office Management when my boss asked me to build him a corner office and not spend too much money. This was the first time I had worked with tradesmen and we built a strong rapport that ended with a fabulous finished product.

Then onto my next management role and I was working in Australia Square – a round building in Sydney’s CBD, and in an attempt to save the business money I stopped using an architect for office moves and redesigns and bought some tracing paper and set to work. It was at this stage that I commenced my interior design studies and from there things really took off!

2 From your experience, what’s the best way to build a client base?

With honesty and integrity. I treat all of my clients with the utmost respect and we form an honest and open working relationship. We start with a conversation that leads to an understanding of the client’s needs and their expectations. We then match this to their budget and start working from there. Communication is key and building relationships with contractors is very important. Word of mouth really is the most successful form of advertising.

3 How stable would you say the industry is at the moment?

Interior design is high on many people’s priorities at the moment. There are so many television programs and magazines dedicated to the topic that this increases people’s interest in design. Many find that it looks easy on television but there is an art to design. Budgets are tight but there are opportunities for the right services offered.

4 What’s the best way to build an impressive portfolio? What form should it take?

Photograph all of your work. Not all of it will be worthy of being published but it’s good to have a personal record for yourself and I know that my clients love to see before and after shots of their project.

5 What advice would you offer students looking to get into the interior design industry?

Work and study at the same time if possible. Take any opportunities offered to you as you never know where they might lead. I would also advise people to be wary of “internships”. On one hand they can be an excellent opportunity to learn from an experienced professional, but the time of the internship should be agreed upon at the commencement of the role and unless a paid opportunity is in the offering at the conclusion of the agreed date, then it’s time to move onto the next opportunity.

6 Anything else you would like to add?

Not everyone is destined to be a high-end designer, nor should they be. Find your niche and work to that. My greatest joy is bringing Interior Design to people who originally had never considered it. I show them how to decorate with high and low price point items and make it all work.

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