Framing Spaces: Thinking of Mining the Interior Design Trade for New Clients? before You Bid, Find out What Designers Want in a Custom Framer

By Bisoux, Tricia | Art Business News, April 2003 | Go to article overview

Framing Spaces: Thinking of Mining the Interior Design Trade for New Clients? before You Bid, Find out What Designers Want in a Custom Framer


Bisoux, Tricia, Art Business News


In recent years, the picture framing and interior design professions have become more closely intertwined than ever. Indeed, more frame shops are offering in-house interior design services or taking up residence in design centers. Some framers are even becoming interior designers themselves (and vice versa) to satisfy consumers' growing interest in beautifying their homes.

"People are seeing the photographs in the magazines. They're seeing how things flow," said Marilizabeth Polizzi, who designs frames for Arts Alive in Scottsdale, Ariz. The flame shop is located in the Scottsdale Design Center, which includes furniture stores, paint and textiles shops and a home builder's office. "Our clientele wants to recreate that flowing feeling in their homes, where it all works together as one package" she added. "They're not just slapping things up on the wall. They're taking their time."

As consumers get more artful ideas from decorating magazines and popular television programs like "Trading Spaces," the interior design market has become especially busy. This trend poses a challenge to framers who work with interior designers: to create a framing package that not only enhances the artwork but also pulls together the look of the entire room.

Although some framers view the designers' market with some apprehension, it's a segment that promises to become only more important and lucrative to the picture framing industry as time goes on. So, once you've attracted designers to your frame shop, it's important to know what to expect and what they'll expect from you.

A Part of the Whole

Contrary to many framers' darkest fears, most interior designers don't expect framers to match the mat to the color of the sofa--not the good ones anyway. But they do expect framers to work with a sense of how the frame will launch a piece of artwork into a room's overall design. A good framer for designers, said Scott Sammons of Scott Sammons Interior Design in Canal Winchester, Ohio, "is someone who can work with the same vision as you, who understands that yes, the frame is an integral part of the whole design, but it isn't the whole thing."

Beatriz Ruiz, a designer with Zyscovich Inc. of Miami, said she relies on the framing to accentuate the look she's trying to portray. "But because framers aren't in the space, they may just focus on the artwork itself, not the overall room design," she said. As a result, a framer might choose a mat and frame that look beautiful with the art but horrible in the room for which it's intended.

Steve Winters of Winterhouse Interiors in Oklahoma City tries to bring a photograph of the room and details of its design to his framer. "Although I usually design my own frames, a photograph makes it easier for the framer to help me if necessary," he said.

Knowing how to choose framing that will interact splendidly with the entire room is a talent that designers truly appreciate, agreed Pam Rosenberg, a designer with Chicago-based architecture and design firm Loebl, Schlossman & Hackl (LSH). Rosenberg gives framers the furniture colors, fabrics and flooring that will go into the commercial spaces she designs. If a framer fails to work within the parameters of the design, she said, she moves on to someone else.

Designer's Eye View

How designers choose the framing for a room is similar to how framers choose the mat and moulding for a piece of art. Common sense suggests that classical rooms often require traditional framing treatments, contemporary rooms may call for sleek and modern treatments, while an eclectic look demands a mix of both.

But the selection process only starts with color and style. While the artwork establishes or continues a room's mood, theme or color scheme, designers often rely on the frame around it to satisfy other principles of design.

Composition. Designers see a room design much as a painter sees a canvas: They're looking for the right combination of elements that will result in a perfect composition. …

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