The art of interior decorating

Garden Valley Collegiate
Winkler, Manitoba

By Trish D. (Grade 12)

Adjusting the last picture on the wall, she steps back to admire it. The room is perfect; all the planning and work has finally paid off. There is nothing more to do but enjoy.

The house is beautiful, like something out of a magazine. Colour, coordination and comfort put into a package to make a gorgeous home - not just one room but every room in the house. Except for a few toys lying here and there, her house speaks loud and clear about just how good she is.

Yvette Krahn is Winkler's one and only interior decorator. Interior decorating, "a superficial, outside look" takes skill, poise and practice. It deals with furniture, wallpaper, rug and paint colours to combine them all to make a beautiful room and home.

Through correspondence and current enrollment in Red River courses, Yvette is soon to obtain a diploma to be a certified interior decorator. She has been already practicing in this field for five years.

Every client's wants and needs are different. "Some clients are more into detail and depth than others are." For example, some people want to change just their curtains. Others want to change everything in the room, from the rug to the furniture, a complete make-over.

Interior Accents is the business she has opened here in town. When people call her at her business, their money goes directly to her. But four times a month, when she goes into Janzen's Paint and Decorating, a paint store located here in town, people set up meetings with Yvette through them, then Janzen's pays her. "It's a good arrangement between Janzen's and myself, that I help their store and they help me. They send a lot of clients my way, as do other stores in town."

On the topic of establishment in a small town like Winkler, it tends to be a long, almost painful process. Yvette said, "It has taken me a long time to establish myself in Winkler, and you kind of laugh because you think, 'Well nobody's going to call you.' The majority of what I do in town is regular everyday people. And I am very busy. If I only catered to the wealthy, I wouldn't be as busy as I am."

"Most people in this area are working on their yards and gardens in the summertime, and they don't have time for decorating their homes. And as far as harvest goes, usually in October it starts getting very, very busy. As soon as harvest is done, it gets a lot busier."

Yvette has not only established herself in Winkler, but in all the villages around such as Hochfeld and Blumenfeld. She has even gone as far as Winnipeg, Manitoba's capital city, to decorate three homes. She really enjoyed it and hopes that more people in Winnipeg will hear of her, and more jobs will come along from there.

When it comes to the do's and don't's of interior decorating Yvette emphasizes something in particular. "Definitely, a big 'do' is to listen to your clients when they are talking to you. And it's something you really need to keep in mind when dealing with people is you and I aren't the same. You will have certain interests that are different from mine. And you will have things that you like that I won't like. So my personality, and the way my home functions, probably will be different than your home. You would decorate it to suit the way you live and what you like. So you really need to listen to what people are telling you when they talk to you about their home and what they need. You have to listen not only with your ears but try and get inside of them and figure out what it is that they need. And try and help them understand what they like."

Yvette spends a lot of time with customers just trying to help them to understand what they like and don't like, and what they need and don't need. Never accept an answer of, "Just do whatever." Yvette says she needs the customers with her, step by step, helping her along so she can help them come up with what they want and need.

A last word of advice Yvette gave out for those wishing to enter into the field of interior decorating was, "You must like people. You are going into their homes and seeing their most private things. You need to be compassionate towards others, as well, and make them feel comfortable. The people are your customer, not the house or room - they are."

Out of one to ten on the topic of rating her job, Yvette wasn't hesitant to say, "Oh ... some days a six, most days a ten!"

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