September Member Spotlight: Charlie Bolivar

Charlie Bolivar, Charlie's Designs - New York, NY

When did you realize that you wanted to become an interior designer?

When I was about 17 years old I realized that I wanted to be an interior designer. I started working at the D&D building in NYC at the age of 17 for a company named Decorators Walk. I started in their Sample Department, providing wallpaper samples and fabric samples to decorators and their design clients. I subsequently moved on to assisting designers in decorating the show room and staging furniture to create complete rooms to showcase potential designs. Eventually, I took over the responsibility for that role and it really fueled my passion for interior design!

Overall, I worked at Decorators Walk for more than 10 years, while also taking classes at the Parsons School of Design. During that time, I had the opportunity and good fortune to work for two amazing designers, Patrick J. Falco and Bob Johns. I eventually opened my own business in 2002 and have been working for myself ever since. Overall, I have been working in the interior design business for more than 25 years already.

Who was the first interior designer to make an impression on you?

Patrick J. Falco played a huge role in my professional development as a designer. He did amazing work for so many clients. Even though he passed away more than 15 years ago, I still consider that I learned almost everything I know about design during my time working for him.

What are some of the things that influence you, aside from furniture and d├ęcor?

My designs are usually heavily influenced by the nature of the specific space I’m working with. I believe the physical layout and shape of each room is an important consideration when preparing a design – including the relationship and location of that space relative to other rooms in the same house or apartment, and the amount of natural light in that space. Usually, when I walk into a client’s home for the first time, my mind races at a thousand miles per hour with different possibilities of what I could possibly do within that space!

What are your go-to basics?

My go-to basic principle for each design is to understand what the focal point will be in that particular space. It could be a specific item of furniture, or a personal item that the client already owns that they would like to keep and which may need to drive the overall design for an individual room. Each space needs a specific focal point and as a designer it’s my job to create that focal point and then design the rest of the room around it.

Are you seeing any particular style requests trending amongst your clients?

Yes, I receive a lot of requests from clients to incorporate elements of Feng Shui in my designs. Many of my clients want to include natural elements in their homes, to create living spaces that look and feel relaxing and that introduce a sense of calm inside their homes.

What’s been your career highlight to date?

The highlight of my career has been the opportunity to help change people’s lives by changing the environment in which they live. Design has always been my passion and it makes me happy to see clients discover a new side of themselves when they get involved in the creative design process. I experience huge satisfaction from helping them change their homes and from witnessing the happiness they derive from the completed design.

What’s the most treasured item in your own home?

I purchased a very large Buddha head, made from volcanic rock, a few years ago while traveling. While I’ve always wanted to find such piece of that size I’ve never found one so well carved and dramatic as this particular statue. I bought this item the minute I saw it because it provides me with a sense of calm and it reminds me of several of the elements of Feng Shui (especially fire and earth) that I often strive to incorporate in my designs.


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