In the Instagram and Pinterest era, it’s easy to get caught up in the comparison game but Interior Designer Cortney Bishop doesn’t let it affect her business. “Don't worry about doing what everyone else is doing. Trust your gut on what is best and fits for your client's needs and lifestyle,” she explains. With over fifteen years of experience as a designer (not mention growing up with a mom who was also an Interior Designer), it’s clear that Cortney is true to her own style. We love that each space she designs feels edited and polished but also has a unique twist. We chatted with the designer about her experience in the business, her tips for new designers, and when she feels like a project is “done.”
You own and operate Cortney Bishop Design. How did you get started and how has your business evolved over time?
I knew I’d eventually land in design or fashion, mostly because I grew up around creative women - my mother had her own interior design firm for 30 years, and my grandmother was a dressmaker. My father was a successful businessman who fostered my entrepreneurial spirit who encouraged me to study business in college. After a few stops along the way, got married and moved to Tennessee, I wed my interests and studies, and started my own design firm - first with a partner in 2002, and eventually on my own in 2010.
You offer many design services such as commercial spaces, residential, custom furniture design, lighting design and many other services. Do you have a favorite space to design from start to finish?
Custom residential home builds are our sweet spot. We call it 'dirt to pillowcases.' Getting involved on the front end when the home is in its infant stages is so vital to help a client develop a cohesive, thoughtful design. We take clients through the entire build process - reviewing architectural space plans and details, selecting every finish and fixture in the home, to eventually landing on specific furnishings and fabrics. We live for the 'reveal' moment when our client gets to walk through the front door into their new home. The reactions are priceless and we've seen it all - tears, gasps, and laughter... from all involved, including CBD!
Have you ever had a space you designed not come together the way you envisioned? If so, what was your next move?
We are always adopting our clients’ ideas and evolving the design for each project… so we welcome the change. You can’t let the change get you down… work with it, adapt to it, and creativity will thrive. Roll with the happy accidents… rather than “the mistakes.”
What are a few of your tips to creating a successful interior design firm in a highly saturated market?
Don't worry about doing what everyone else is doing. Trust your gut on what is best and fits for your client's needs and lifestyle.
Buy quality product for your clients. Buy once, cry once.
Always be on the hunt for new artisans and craftsmen!
Aside from design, what are a few of your other passions or hobbies?
I have so many passions – travel, art, fashion, and music. All of these push me to evolve as a designer, particularly when it comes to mixing patterns and testing different color combinations.
When I’m not working on a project, I have a couple of personal 'getaways' - journaling in my bed, catching a yoga class, biking around Sullivan's Island, shopping (!), or just relaxing and playing good tunes with my husband and kids.
Your designs range from modern to coastal. At home, do you have a style you tend to lean to the most?
My home is a total mashup! I call it island bohemian…it’s carefree and no fuss, and collected. One aesthetic is not overly represented - mostly because if I love it, I buy it. The age of the home mixed with our modern art and vintage furnishings adds to the boho vibe.
If you could design anyone’s home, who would it be?
In today’s world with Instagram and social media it is so easy to compare where you are at in life or your career to others. How do you deal with the comparison game?
My days are so busy with client deliverables and keeping up with my family's calendar... I really don't have time to compare myself to others. But I do see the creative, progressive work my peers are putting out there which is inspiring. It pushes me and my team to keep moving it forward, pushing new boundaries. I want to make sure the work we put out there is forward thinking and fresh.
How do you know when a space is “done”?
I tend to believe a space is never really done. The best designs evolve over time and it doesn't happen overnight. Not to mention all the great product and finishes that unveil over the years. The process takes time and honest collaboration. I take a lot of pride in the fact that our clients come back around over time and we continue to evolve their home with additional furnishings or even tackling a whole new room!
What is next for you and Cortney Bishop Design?
CBD has a crazy busy summer ahead. We're delivering two major custom homes that we've been working on for over a year each - expect a lot of textural materials and bold colors from both projects. And then we've also had a little fabric collection up our sleeve that will be debuting soon. Keep an eye out for Harwood House - a collection of woven textiles in collaboration with Holland & Sherry!