Bethany O’Neil Interior Design
10800 Corkscrew Rd.
Estero, FL 33928
About the Designer
Growing up in a small Midwestern town as an only child, I was anxious to get out and see the world. My father traveled often for business to many great cities and seldom hesitated to take me with him. He gave me complete freedom to explore the city on my own while he attended meetings. The world was a safe and happy place back, and it was wonderful to see the limelight at a young age. These experiences gave me so much inspiration and direction in life. I attended Minneapolis College of Art and Design where I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design. Having focused on the commercial world of design, I interned in college under Gary Wheeler from the commercial design firm Wheeler-Hildebrand & Associates in Minneapolis. When my internship ended, I quickly realized my real calling was in the residential field, when I went to work for Ralph Lauren’s Home Collection “merchandising” in specialty shops. In 1992 I began my own Interior Design business and the love affair continues to this day.
What is your Design/Builder Philosophy?
I am a Team Player. The best projects are always ones where great minds collaborate without egos getting in the way. Building the perfect A team takes years to acquire, but once you find it, future projects are always successful and rewarding.
What are your Specialties?
I specialize in creating the perfect lifestyle for my client. It’s all about them. I’m very intuitive, and I aim to please by providing a service that caters to their needs. I enjoy the “boutique style” philosophy that allows me to give them the undivided attention they deserve.
What is your Fee Method? (please be specific)
I’m project motivated. I base my fee on the scope of work involved. Every project is different and I structure the terms accordingly. I prefer to get involved from the very beginning. For new construction and remodeling it’s based per square foot. I don’t do hourly consulting; I prefer to see the project through completion.
Are you working on any projects that are particularly exciting right now?
I am currently working on a very exciting project on John’s Island. It’s going to be the perfect combination of French influences, Swedish antiques integrated with new furnishings. My client has beautiful taste and we have worked together on every detail. We’re having so much fun. The color schemes are cheerful and the house is in the most perfect coastal setting. I can’t wait for it to be finished!
How do you work to develop and define your clients’ personal styles?
I always start with visuals and descriptions. Qualifying the client and defining their lifestyle is key. I ask my clients to give me as much input as possible. Getting to know them is so important. How they live, what their interests are, how they want their rooms to feeI are all critical in the learning curve. Besides the general descriptions I have them go through a stack of magazines, tagging anything they like or creating a pinboard from Pinterest – any visual they can use to express their likes. I really enjoy this show-and-tell exchange. It is one of my favorite parts of a project. My job ultimately is reinterpreting all this information, interjecting my opinion, resources, creativity, and experience. Experience shouldn’t be taken lightly. Its one of the best assets I can offer. I’ve learned that the most successful projects result from building the relationship with the client, by getting to know them really well, and interpreting their lifestyle needs. Once I find that secret ingredient it makes the process of a project fun and rewarding. A lot can be said for repeat business. I rarely do just one project with a client.
How have you developed your style as it relates to your clients?
I think it has evolved over time. I learn something new about myself with every project and each new client. As a result my style has become an acquisition of all of these experiences and is ever changing. There’s a lot of psychology involved when determining the perfect combination of what makes people feel good about their surroundings, and ultimately heightens my own awareness.
Tell us about one of your favorite projects?
My favorite project was one I recently completed. It was a two-story penthouse overlooking the Gulf. The clients were a dream to work with and I was captivated by their view. I chose colors around it, which accentuated it even more. We had continual challenges during this condo remodel, both structurally and spatially. Throughout the project we found we had to make it up as we went along. It took a team effort on the part of, my client, the architect, the builder and myself. All the preplanning we did on paper did not prepare us for some of the surprises we encountered. I loved the challenges – it was exciting and made the final result all the more rewarding.
What are some of the things that inspire your design work?
My trip to Paris has continued to be a source of inspiration for me. When I am unable to travel to new places, I look to books, magazines and Pinterest for inspiration. My environment and surroundings are also inspiration for design work. I love the beach, sand and sky. When I take on project I keep the surrounding views in mind. I try to connect the inside with the outside. Too much visual stimulation in a room can detract for the vistas beyond.
How did you become interested in design, and what have you learned over the past decade?
I knew at a very young age that interior design was my calling. By the time I was eight I was rearranging my room constantly. I love change, and If I’ve learned anything over the years, it is that the field is constantly changing. You have to continually adapt and reinvent!
How has the nature of interior design changed over the past few years?
Everything affects this business. The internet has it made it easier to communicate, explore, and find resources. However, it makes being unique more challenging. Social media makes advertising a breeze, and it’s a quick way to express yourself. Pinterest and Houzz are valuable tools for inspiration, and they bring clients to the door. Smartphones have been a huge factor in efficiency and communication. Being able to take a picture of a new find we can’t live without, instantly forwarding it, and then getting an approval on the spot is so exciting! I can’t imagine life without it now.