2nd November 2023 | IN DESIGN ADVICE | BY SBID ShareTweetPinterestLinkedIn Natalie Du Bois, Founder of Du Bois Design, has given her insights into the industry. What’s the background of Du Bois Design? From a young age, I had a strong inclination towards pursuing a creative career. After leaving high school, I initially started as a trainee chef but soon realised that interior design was a better fit for me. I studied interior design full-time in Cape Town, South Africa and obtained my diploma. However, I faced difficulties finding an interior design role, so I ended up working in sales, specifically selling furniture, lighting, and soft furnishings. After working and saving for a couple of years, I moved to the United Kingdom to gain more experience in the field I loved. Initially, I continued working in a sales assistant role at Harrods, selling furniture. Eventually, I landed my first interior design job as a kitchen designer also in Knightsbridge. I worked for two different kitchen design companies in London before immigrating to New Zealand in 2000. Since then, I have won over 50 design awards, and gained valuable experience working for various companies and eventually started my own business in 2007. Du Bois Design - Coastal Holiday Home, Leigh What led you to pursue a career in interior design? I realised early on that our interior environments have a significant impact on us, shaping our moods and influencing our overall well-being. Being part of creating enjoyable environments for people felt like the right path for me. Interior design is a challenging and rewarding profession that allows for endless creativity. Du Bois Design - Supreme Winner, Manawatu What aspects of your profession do you find most enjoyable? One of the most wonderful aspects of my job is the meaningful relationships I establish with clients, suppliers, and tradespeople. A highlight for me is receiving positive feedback from clients at the end of a project, expressing how much their homes have improved. Knowing that my team and I have made a significant difference to their overall enjoyment of their homes is extremely satisfying. Du Bois Design - French Elegance, Epsom What has been your most memorable career highlight from the past year? Last year in New Zealand, I won all three top design awards – Supreme Kitchen Design, Supreme Bathroom Design, and Designer of the Year – at the National Kitchens and Bathrooms Association Design in Excellence Awards. Winning these awards validated the hard work I’ve put in over the past 23 years and made me feel that it was all worth it. Growing from my very first design award was whilst living in the UK when I received my very first design award for best young kitchen designer in 2000. Du Bois Design - Larger Than Life, Remuera What are your favourite types of projects to work on and why? I particularly enjoy working on full home renovations as witnessing the transformation of spaces gives me a great sense of accomplishment. It’s also incredibly fulfilling when clients are amazed by how much better their homes function after the renovation. Knowing that I’ve truly benefited them brings me joy. Du Bois Design - Full Of Character, Titirangi What are the most challenging aspects of working in interior design? While challenging, these aspects also provide rewarding experiences. Problem-solving skills are crucial as there are always areas where things don’t go as planned. Finding unique solutions can be stressful, but once the problems are resolved, there’s a sense of fulfillment. It’s especially rewarding when clients recognise the efforts made to make the best out of any given situation. Du Bois Design - Karaka Lifestyle, Karaka What do you wish you knew before entering the field? I wish I had known that being an interior designer isn’t always as glamorous or as profitable as it may seem. It’s also difficult to switch off from work; design becomes a constant part of your life, with no strict 9-5 schedule. This can sometimes be challenging for loved ones to comprehend but I still wouldn’t change it for anything – I love what I do. Du Bois Design - Rocking It, Kohimarama If you could give one tip to aspiring designers, what would it be? Perseverance is key. Many people aspire to be designers or are attracted to the idea of being one, but not everyone will make it. Success in this field requires immense hard work and perseverance. Don’t expect instant success; learn from mistakes and let competition motivate you to work harder. The learning process never ends, with new solutions, products, and materials continuously emerging. As a designer, be prepared to invest time and effort into continued education. Balancing multiple responsibilities is essential, as technical knowledge, creativity, and excellent time-management skills are all necessary for success in this field. Du Bois Design - Supreme Winner, Manawatu How do you envision the future of the interior design industry? In the coming year, we anticipate that the interior design industry will continue to be shaped by global trends, particularly due to the influence of social media. People now have access to knowledge from all over the world, allowing for remote designers to offer their clients exceptional service. As designers, we are also increasingly focused on sustainability. We strive to incorporate more sustainable products and materials into our designs, aiming to provide longevity to our homes. This includes using more efficient bathroom fixtures and fittings to conserve water, as well as energy-efficient appliances and LED lighting to lower electricity bills. We are also becoming more creative with lighting, offering both mood lighting and task lighting options. Plus, we prioritise non-toxic and renewable materials that can be recycled. In terms of design concepts, we are seeing a shift towards purposeful spaces with less wastage. This involves creating smaller areas that optimise space usage. Additionally, we are designing calmer spaces to encourage a stress-free environment at home, including the integration of music throughout to appeal to all of ones. Increasing natural light is another focus, with larger windows and skylights being utilised to maximise exposure to natural light. In terms of material selections, we are incorporating more pops of bold colours into our designs while moving away from solely neutral interiors. There is also a growing interest in sculptural elements and artisan furniture pieces that are handmade, contributing to the creation of real spaces for real people. Additionally, bold graphic patterns and statement prints are being used to add interest and depth to designs. What does being an SBID Accredited Interior Designer mean to you? Being an SBID Accredited Interior Designer holds significant meaning to me. It serves as proof to the public of the high level of design that myself and my business, Du Bois Design, offer. It showcases that I have received education in the field and continue to upskill, positioning me as an expert in my profession. Clients can trust that the designs they receive from me are of the highest calibre. Additionally, being part of SBID provides me with access to global interior influences, innovative ideas, educational events, and a wide network of suppliers and expert designers. This constant learning and growth sets me apart from companies that do not put the same amount of effort into their development. Natalie Du Bois, Founder of Du Bois Design About Du Bois Design Original, innovative and award winning kitchen, bathroom & interior design. Visit Profile If you’d like to feature your news or stories on SBID.org, get in touch to find out more. If you’d like to become SBID Accredited, click here for more information.