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Gabberts to the Rescue: Randy Nelson Draws on 35 Years Experience

By Lavender June 19, 2009

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While an ambitious few easily and flawlessly can revamp their indoor living spaces, the rest of us could use a little help from a friend.

That’s where Randy Nelson comes in. A senior interior designer with Gabberts, he gives us a taste of his decor wisdom, cultivated out of 35 years of practicing, working, and teaching in the field.

Photos courtesy of Gabberts

As Nelson recalls, “Growing up in a suburb of Minneapolis, surrounded by new housing, I became interested in all the decisions that were being made, not only by my own family, but also by all our neighbors. Actually, most in our area were already working with professional interior designers, primarily from Gabberts.”

Nelson’s family encouraged him to pursue his education at the University of Minnesota. In addition to running his own design studio, he has lent his talent to several major design studios. He also has taught interior design at the college level.

According to Nelson, “I was born to do this. In my professional career, I’ve found it important to mentor those who aspire to careers in interior design.”

Nelson mentors through the University of Minnesota program, working with one student annually. That individual coaches in-class work and projects, and assists Nelson as he works with clients.

Gabberts Design Studio and Fine Furnishings is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. As a furniture retailer, it has been around since 1946.

Nelson notes, “I’m proud to say that I’ve been a part of the company for the past 12 years. People who appreciate sophisticated interiors seek out our design talent and attentive services.”

Many factors go into changes in trends both overall and within the context of an individual room.

Nelson explains, “In developing a design concept for a client, I find it important to consider the home’s architecture; the client’s personal preferences; and, of course, the budget. Whether I’m doing a home on Lake Superior or Naples, Florida, I encourage the client to be mindful of the climate, and how it will affect the ways they use their home. Some clients like to have seasonal changes, so they may choose to alternate accessories, lighting, or art.”

One of the trends Nelson has noticed is the “live edge,” or “natural edge,” effect.

Nelson relates, “The table top is cut from a single slab of wood, utilizing the outer growth rings as an ornamental border. Very often, the table base is sleek and contemporary, emphasizing the rustic yet polished surfaces.”

Another trend is plain, linen-textured fabrics, both for upholstery and window treatments.

Nelson points out, “The tactile quality of the weave provides the interest, and adds a quiet elegance. Colors tend to be subdued, which actually allows the homeowner greater freedom to vary accents.”

An often-overlooked feature that offers the most bang for the buck is creative lighting.

Nelson advises, “Both direct and indirect lighting, natural light and engineered lighting, need to be incorporated into any plan. With all the changes currently happening in the lighting industry, I feel we are going to be seeing wonderful new developments and possibilities in creating a balanced atmosphere.”

When updating a living room, it’s important to decide early on what stays and what goes.

Nelson shares, “I often ask clients what they are keeping, and how they will use it. We then determine whether it needs some loving care, like refinishing or reupholstery.”

After making those decisions, a broader approach is made to create a strongly personal, enjoyable living space.

In Nelson’s words, “Once we determine the goals for the room, we then consider what will bring the clients joy whenever they enter the room. Displaying a beloved collection with style is one of the ways we can accomplish this.”

Many clients want to know how they can balance classic styles with trends that come and go.

Nelson remarks, “In today’s world, we combine styles in unexpected ways, creating visual juxtaposition with unlike objects. We can achieve an eclectic look with confidence by choosing pieces with intrinsic design integrity, proportion, and scale. I do this with my clients by helping them to remain authentic to their primary needs and goals.”

Gabberts has Nelson—as well as a number of expert interior designers—available for consultation.

An interior designer can offer guidance, a skilled eye, and budget management that can take the hassle out of redecorating. The Inspiration Center at Gabberts is a must destination for anyone considering a change, big or small, to any room in the house. The helpful, professional staff can help with resources such as specialized software, a paint lab, and a vast array of upholstery samples.

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