In 1984, Cheryl Justine Crofoot was busy building a house in Northern Nevada, and she found herself inundated by the decorating options in showrooms and the opinions of the sales people. She kept thinking, ‘1 could do this better.”
So she did just that.
Starting as an interior designer for local showrooms that same year, Crofoot then went on to open her own corporation, Interior Solutions, Inc., in 1990. By 1997, she had relocated her growing business to a storefront in the Galena Junction Shopping Center.
Although she says the move was precipitated by a lack of space for her resource library, a prime motivator for the move was to provide a design studio for custom and semi-custom homebuilding contractors whose clients wanted the ease of a one-stop shop when choosing tile, counter tops, fixtures, carpeting and other interior design options for their new homes. Crofoot says the storefront also gives potential customers a chance to size her up in a less intimidating setting than an office, as well as giving her retail space for specialized decorating items such as cornice moulding or fountains.
“A lot of people like to drop in,” says Crofoot. “They want to get to know you before they call for an appointment. This is an opportunity for them to stop by and see if you fit [their expectations].”
In addition to residential work, Interior Solutions provides design services for commercial clients, among which have included the offices of the Builders Association of Nevada. Crofoot has also designed commercial interiors for banks, hotels and corporate offices, and has often had the experience of a client not only choosing one design option, but taking the alternatives she has proposed and using them for additional offices or branches. She says that the needs of the corporate client are very similar to the needs of the home owner or residential builder. “I don’t see any difference. They all require the same products. They all need floor coverings, wall coverings, upholstery and window treatments,” states Crofoot. “I take my design cues from each individual client, rather than recommending a particular style.” She adds that her job in all cases is to help the client understand what resources and choices are available in terms of color and style. And, she maintains, creativity is the hallmark of all design work — the identity of the customer is immaterial.
Crofoot says that much of her work originates from the contractors building high-end custom homes in the Galena area. Their clients want the ease of a design showroom — a service that many production home developments offer Custom-home contractors often do not have the ability to provide that level of service for their clientele, creating a high-end market niche successfully served by Crofoot’s company.
Another area Crofoot has found lucrative is working with contractors who remodel older homes. A major problem commonly found in older homes is the patchwork quality of the decor that results when homeowners redecorate one room at a time. Crofoot says the quickest and easiest way to update an older home is to restore continuity to the design by choosing complementary colors and surfaces throughout. Understanding how the color undertones in paint affect the feeling of an interior is one of the things Crofoot does best. She says that the range produced in the color undertones is vast — from one end of the spectrum to the other — and has the profound ability to affect the overall harmony created between furniture, floors and walls. The current design trends, according to Crofoot, call for a clean, uncluttered look throughout the home or office, combined with numerous natural surfaces and design elements, such as plants, fountains and stone.
Because of her initial design experience, Crofoot finds it more productive and rewarding when she connects with clients to create interiors suited to the individual rather than forcing upon them her own likes and dislikes. Often, clients come to her with no preconceived ideas of what they want. In most cases, Crofoot will start by finding the colors with which they are most comfortable. She will build upon that foundation by having the client bring in swatches representative of the colors currently used in the home, or visit the home to assess which existing elements might remain and those she’ll recommend replacing.
No matter what she tackles, though — whether a single window or a 10-story office building — Crofoot fmds her vocation most fulfilling when she’s being creative. “Creativity comes from the heart,” she says.