Judy Parkin is an interior designer who specialises in kitchen and bathroom design. With over 15 years specialist industry knowledge, she founded her boutique business Interior Blank from the rural setting of Murwillumbah, inspired by the international design experience she gained while living and working in Europe.
With a focus on custom joinery, and designing from the perspective of the owners’ lifestyle needs and personality, Judy works with clients from Brisbane to Byron Bay, Gold Coast, Northern Rivers and Surrounds.
What’s unique about your business Interior Blank, and how do you save builders money and less variations?
Having worked in the building industry since 2002 and specialising in the kitchen and joinery industry for 15 years has given me on the ground knowledge of residential construction and cabinetry that I could never have learnt from just studying Interior Design.
This helps me not only solve problems before they arise, but design to fabricate and build rather than just designing something that looks aesthetically pleasing. Not only does this help to save the builders money, as there are less variations once the job goes to site, it also saves the customer time and money.
You’ve worked across Europe in international design, and have a global industry perspective. What are some of the global design innovations that haven’t yet reached Australia?
There are literally so many to list! I follow lots of overseas designers as well as European suppliers and every year new designs and products start to try to enter our market. Just recently, I have seen 4mm thick stone slabs become available. They can be used to create stone fronted cabinetry doors and drawer fronts. It has taken a very long time since I was using these products in 2006 in London.
There are a lot of “Wellness” bathroom products that aren’t available in Australia yet. They are definitely innovation products that I would love to see more of in our market.
Walk us through your design process and your customer centered approach.
My initial consultation and the process of collecting the information I need is the most important step for my work. I spend a lot of time understanding the needs and desires of my customers to ensure that the visions that I have of what they like and dislike is completely understood.
I put myself in their shoes as if I was literally cooking in their kitchen, enjoying family time in their lounge room or even doing their laundry! Design to me is a reflection of the individual/family’s personality and to design for them, I must first understand who they are and how they live.
What led you to start Kitchen Bathroom Hub?
When I moved back to Australia after living overseas, I realised I had lost all my suppliers and contacts and had to start from scratch. I found it really hard to find out who the suppliers were for the Kitchen and Bathroom Industry. I thought that there were probably many people in the same situation. Especially those starting in the industry, or even the savvy DIY home renovators wanting to specify their own products. Google just wasn’t cutting it, so it has been a side project to collate this free database of suppliers and specialist trades.
What has been your greatest challenge?
I would have to say starting my own business back in Australia as a Kitchen + Bathroom Design Specialist. It really wasn’t noticed as a profession here, unlike Europe, and certainly didn’t seem to be held of high value. Most people in the industry and clients didn’t realise that to design these spaces required two skill sets that not all interior designers or cabinet makers have. Now things are starting to shift, and there are certainly more people who see the value in specialising in these areas as their profession.
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