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What started out as a childhood passion has turned into a lifelong career for interior designer Cory Connor. When other little girls were playing with dolls, Connor was rearranging furniture and playing with color. Transforming interior spaces captivated this future designer who says her talents are all “self-taught” thanks to her creativity and passion.

 

Connor’s career began gradually with design projects she worked on for herself, and then for family and friends. Once her talents started gaining notoriety, word began to spread and she officially launched her company, Cory Connor Designs, in 2007.

Currently based in Chatham, New Jersey, Connor tends to service local and neighboring towns to ensure her clients her 100 percent attention. She does have designs on flourishing and expanding into the future, of course. Connor says her work has been successful because she focuses on finding the right balance between combining the old with the new, vintage with contemporary.


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From the beginning stages all the way through completion, Connor’s keen eye and intuitive sense of the people she’s designing for play a major role in the overall plans, she says. “I strive for beauty that is both comfortable and functional, creating a unique and tailored space.” One of her specialties is furniture transformation – giving new life to the pieces of the past and creating a whole new flair for a room. BELLA had the opportunity to sit down with the woman behind some of the tri- state area’s most beautiful transformations. Here, her inside tips and secrets to creating your own design story…

Designing is a creative process that allows you to create these unique spaces. How do you go about transforming your client’s vision into a reality?

It all depends on the client. If they have an idea of what they’d like it’s easy. If they don’t then I put together mood boards with different vibes to see what directly appeals to them. By looking at these boards

I see what they do and don’t like, and it gives me direction on where to go next. The Internet has made it simpler for clients to find ideas and photos of what they’re visualizing.

The best client is the one who says, “Do whatever you want.” They’re putting 100 percent trust in you, and I find the more trust a client has in me, the better the finished product. I find these rooms are the most wonderful.

When you begin planning a design, what are the key elements you look to incorporate?

Every room is totally different, it’s not “one size fits all.” You have to take into account everything when designing a space – the way they live, how they’ve decorated other rooms, etc. You want the overall look to be beautiful yet functional, and there are ways to do that. I call it the high/low; you have your larger items that are more costly but to balance that out you accessorize with items from stores like Target and Home Goods.
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Are there particular “must-have” items you believe every room should incorporate?

Pillows! They give a nice added flair, and the beauty is you can change them out without being hard on your budget. Switching up your pillows can change the whole feel of a room. Focus on a neutral couch and then add the backdrop. It’s fine to be trendy, just do it with your pillows.

What elements can someone bring into a room after it’s designed to fit with the changing seasons?

Change your accessories, add some flowers to the room. Use the color of the season to incorporate subtle changes; nothing crazy that will shift the entire feel of the room.

Home design is often thought of as extremely costly. Is it possible to achieve an interior transformation without spending an exorbitant amount of money?
Totally! There are so many places like Joss & Main and One Kings Lane. The flash sales allow you to get that sophisticated look but on a budget. Mix these pieces with other high-end pieces and you can’t tell what’s high or what’s low. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to accessorize; there are ways to get around spending a fortune.

You do it all, from professional consulting on new construction and home renovations, to assisting clients with decorating for a special event. Do you have one particular area you enjoy the most?

I love starting a room from scratch – having a blank canvas and working from the ground up to create a special place. I enjoy working with architects from the beginning stages. Looking at their designs allows me to visualize what each space will need and then share that with them. My job is to focus on the aesthetics and placement of furniture.


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What is your personal style?

I love neutrals; grey is my all-time favorite color. It is the perfect backdrop for anything and then you can add pops of color. I like patterns but I prefer things to be subtle.

When you think of beauty in relation to design, what comes to mind?

A beautiful space is one where you can gather the whole family together. To me, cozy is beautiful. My favorite room to design is a family room and it circles back to the fact I love seeing people gather together.

Home design incorporates a lot of different elements; what do you love most about the process?

I love the whole “people aspect.” You get so entrenched with it and it’s fun developing relationships with clients and watching them enjoy their new space. It’s a great feeling seeing the transformation of something a client didn’t like before come to life. It’s a real nice sense of accomplishment.

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