October Member Spotlight: Shannon Christensen

Shannon Christensen, Christensen Design Studio - Portland, OR

When did you realize you wanted to become an interior Designer?

I knew I either wanted to be a fashion designer or interior designer.  But as a child I enjoyed making 3D paper models of rooms and even drew an elaborate plan of a candy factory.  Growing up with a mom who had a fine art degree and ran her own wallpaper and interiors business, I was made aware of how impactful color, texture and space could be. As I progressed through school, it became very clear to me that interior design would be an excellent fit.   My dorm room was my first tight-budget design challenge!  Good design is possible on any budget.  


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

Well I would have to say first, for sure, my mom.  She always made our house clean and beautiful.  She even reupholstered her own furniture at times.  Her style has definitely influenced mine.  It is very classic, timeless, lots of white and natural tones and textures. She is super creative and sees beauty in all kinds of objects.  I love how she mixed different styles and added historic pieces to make it meaningful and interesting.  I continue to use those influences in my own designs.


What are some of the things that influence you, aside from furniture and decor?

Function.  I'm big on that!  I know it's cliche, but brilliant.... “form follows function”! Things have to be appealing to the eye and have a function, the more functions the better.  There is lots of beauty in nature....Symmetry and geometry, so I am drawn to things that incorporate these elements. I’m always trying new things. My husband laughs at me because every time he comes home, I’ve rearranged the furniture.  It’s fun to move things from room to room to mix it up.  


What are your go-to basics?

My superpower is space-planning so efficiently planned and useful spaces are my go-to.  Light, bright, non-cluttered, functional spaces.  I add softness with natural textures and wood tones.  Black and white, something about the contrast that just adds drama. My spaces must have plants.  They bring life to any space.


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

White kitchens, farmhouse decor and light bright coastal vibes.  Grey is on its way out and I’ve been seeing a lot more black and white everywhere from accessories to ceramic tiles (Yay!) 


What’s been your career highlight to date?  

Well, I think getting my NCIDQ certificate for starters.  It gave me the confidence and validation that I knew my stuff! Before I had my own design studio, I gained valuable work experience by working for several architectural firms.  One of our team's projects was awarded the Gold Nugget Award 2008, as well as “Best Large Clubhouse” at the National Association of Homebuilders. I also had the honor of being part of the team that was retained for the interior design of the nationwide Microsoft offices. It was a fun challenge because each design solution was unique to its geographic location but consistent with branding.  I loved working in teams and learning what all the different trades could do to work together.


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