Collaborative Consultation: Interview with Cindy Bergersen

1. Cindy, what inspired you to create a model of design service that’s so flexible and interactive? Where did you learn about design to begin with?

 I knew early on that I was headed for a career in some form of the arts, but I wasn’t sure which art form spoke to me the most.

I felt that while art/beauty is food for the soul, a form of art that feeds the soul in an practical every day way seemed the most broadly satisfying way to go…for myself and for my prospective clients.

A reporter asked Joan Didion if she used her good silverware every day.”

“Every day is all we have.” she replied.

Home means different things to different people, but at the beginning and the end of each day, it’s our private oasis…even if it happens to be a hotel room.

Small wonder many people travel with their favorite objects to ensure that where their heart lives is never far away.

It was this or become a psychologist…but at the time, there was already a glut of them in California. Besides, I usually think in pictures before I have actual words to describe what I mean.

Anyway, as I dove into my academic studies, I became ever more fascinated with great home design and how to create it. I attended a city college, a fancy art academy and a technical institute for design.  Eventually I graduated, Magna Cum Laude. I met and assisted a few truly gifted designers along the way. With any spare time I had, I poured over design magazines, design books and attended all manner of art and design exhibits.

I was shown by example what good design looks like vs. no design at all. I found that there is magic in the logic of design…

Learning to really “see” what I’m looking at, in all forms, became a matter of practice, then habit. I’m still a design student in a time and a world that continuously changes, sometimes in ways no one could anticipate in advance.

“The Gods lead those who would follow…those that won’t, they drag.”

2. I hate to admit this, but when it comes to creating a home that looks the way I want it to and functions as an efficient comfortable nest, I feel a bit overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. Do otherwise successful people like me also experience “brain freeze” in this area?
Yes…and people like you are my best and favorite clients.
Is this you?

There are thousands of people who just need a little help from an experienced friend.  They  want fast, smart and easy-to-execute answers to  questions like “How should I arrange the furniture?”, “Where do I go for a stylish but inexpensive sofa?” or “What color should I paint?”

They aren’t in the market for a “Designer Look” but want their look clarified and their homes to reflect the best of their own version of “Designer Vision.”

My assumption, based on experience, is that most people have better taste and more intuitive know-how than they believe they do.

What’s missing is a logical means of organizing what’s important and what to do first.

There is no better way to do this but to talk to your own, dedicated  “Design Collaborator” to clarify the next steps and have those steps facilitated by an expert.

3.  I really don’t know what I like until I see it. How can you help me when I don’t even know what I like?

The biggest problem Design Civilians* have is turn “vague” ideas into definite yes and no answers. I have often found that people are afraid to say what they really like or really want for fear of  being called out as having No Taste.

“If it weren’t for bad taste, he’d have no taste at all”

Relax, I can make any style or no style, look good.

I can work with what you have, incorporate what you have with new items or totally start from scratch.

I will help you, help yourself, make your dream home come true.

4. Sounds good. How does this work?

To prep for the initial visit, take some time and make your “let’s do this” list, your “gotta fix this” list  and a “wish” list too.

Then we meet: It all starts with a conversation in your home.

Some sort of magical alchemy happens when we start to bounce ideas back and forth.  You’ll develop a great deal more clarity and direction in the course of describing what you want and need, as I lob back ideas and solutions, along with suggestions to make those initial ideas work even better.

More importantly, I can help you put it all together to create a coordinated and considered look in any area of your home.

The most successful collaborations evolve over time. Your confidence will grow as I “show and tell” you how design logic works so you understand how to edit and make decisions that provide a structure you can trust. Together we’ll  create a design plan that addresses your objectives and the way you want to live, within a framework of the best selections for your budget.

My goal is to help you get out of “vague” and into a clear, focused picture of what you want, what you need and what will work.

With clarity comes enthusiasm to make it happen.  All the questions have been answered and the best solutions have been found. You will be confident that the result will be what you have always wanted but didn’t know how to get.

How great and exciting is that?

What you will experience:

  • The kind of confidence that comes with collaborating with an expert. It’s a level of confidence you didn’t think possible when it comes to designing the home you always wanted.
  • A sense of happy satisfaction because you will love the choices that have been made.
  • A greater understanding of why one option is better than another and a sense of the “big picture” of how everything fits together.
  • A very good time: this is supposed to be fun, not scary.
5. What can you do for me?

I can give you information and resources for you to carry on by yourself or I can do the necessary leg work for you. You choose how much service you want/need.

I know how and where to get the best prices for your prospective purchases. My trade discounts are yours. I know short cuts and who does what, where, and for how much.

In addition, I specialize in color consultations. No more agonizing and asking everyone from the contractor to the mailman what color you should paint. I’ll help you define colors you would love to live with and  coordinate those into the overall grand scheme of your home.

The result is that your home will have a cohesive look without the feeling you are traveling to a different country every time you move to a different room.

In short, you can save time and money, while dispensing with indecision and procrastination.

So what is this going to cost me?

It’s up to you how much of my service you want…at any point. I’ll tell you next steps on any part of your project and you tell me if you want me to work on this for you, with you or if you want to do it yourself.

I’ll even give you designer resources to do whatever you want and get whatever you need.

For example, some clients have been able to organize their priorities into a targeted list. What they needed was a 30 minute discussion to answer the “How To Do This” questions and/or verify their choices.

Other clients have wanted help not only in developing an organized design scheme but also someone experienced  to shop and produce the project.

All this, by the hour. No minimum hourly requirement.


Call me and share your home design dilemmas, ask key questions, and talk about solutions free of charge.
Cindy Bergersen                                                                                                   Designer: Collaborative Consultation for Decoding Decor     Author of Decoding Decor Design Reference Library
Call/text  212-242-0140  –  220 W. 24th St., New York, NY  10011


*Home Design Civilian? Anyone who isn’t a designer or associated with the business of interior design or home furnishings.