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Beautiful by Design

March 14, 2009 What's Hot Comments...

To hear American Society of Interior Designers Pasadena Chapter President Lee Mink tell it, the bulk of her work as an interior designer has precious little to do with pure “design” itself.

Today’s world of interior design is more akin to architecture than it is decorating, Mink says, stressing that a qualified designer is the product of years of technical education which really never ends.

This is not Helen Housewife who just got her resale permit and printed up a business card, but someone who has graduated from a recognized interior design school and done a 3-year apprenticeship with another interior designer before they even sit for the exam – and that exam is just as hard as the architectural exam,” she explains.

Interior designers must be thoroughly up to date on the constantly changing state laws and city ordinances which dictate building standards.

“You’ve really got to bring everything up to code – you’ve got to make things earthquake safe, make the electrical energy-efficient, meet water usage standards,” Mink says.

“We are required to keep updating our education. We must take six units every two years of continuing education courses. Right now the emphasis is on green design – it is all new,” Mink laughs.

On top of the technical, there is the “psychic,” smiles Mink knowingly.

“Design has to flow from the personalities of the homeowner. You need to extract the essence of a person’s interests” to make each home reflect its owners’ lifestyle, she says.

Often San Marino and Pasadena clients have collections which express their passions. Mink remembers a couple where the husband was a geologist at Caltech with an incredible collection of stones and mineral specimens.

“We were able to use an incredible ironstone for their fireplace surround – gorgeous, dark, rich ironstone. It was fabulous,” Mink remembers.

Mink has lived in Pasadena since 1991.

“This is an incredible part of the country,” she says. “My husband is from Toronto, he was a little worried about moving to California — was it all going to be about freeways and glitz? I told him, ‘No, we’re going to be living in Pasadena!’”

The designer-side to her personality loves the wide variety of architecture here and the beautiful trees we boast.

“When you come from the east coast, you don’t want to see desert, you want to see trees – and we have such beautiful trees! That’s not all: with the Playhouse, and Cal Phil at the Ambassador… it goes on and on and on, this town doesn’t stop!” Mink says.

Mink’s term as President of the Pasadena ASID chapter ends in October. ASID is the oldest and largest professional organization for interior designers, with the largest residential and commercial membership.

The Chapter is introducing the Golden Key Awards on her watch – a new distinction which will be given to up to twelve local homes which have been redesigned by an ASID-member interior designer,

The very first award ceremony will be held in June 24, 2008 and will become an annual event.

“We want homes that are well-designed and well-remodeled, keeping in tune with codes, but are also beautiful, tasteful examples of the outstanding variety of architecture that we have here. That’s one of the exciting things about this part of California. Unlike Orange County, which has so many tracts of nouveau Hispanic homes, we have an unbelievable variety here,” she says enthusiastically.

“Pasadena is an oasis!”

Lee Mink Interiors, 344 South Hill Avenue, Pasadena, (626) 796-3900 or visit www.leeminkinteriors.com.

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