Coronado’s Etta Osborn did an entire remodel of this property in Hawai’i
Etta Osborn is a California girl. She grew up living in San Diego, Alameda, Long Beach and then back to San Diego as she and her mom traveled the state with her Coast Guard stepfather. She attended Kearny High School, graduating in 1992, and then earned her Associates Degree in Interior Design while working full time.
It has been a long and challenging road to owning her own interior design business. After earning her degree from Mesa College, Etta accepted an internship with a commercial and residential design firm. Etta shares that the experience was not quite what she had hoped for, because as a young designer, she anticipated much of her work would involve being mentored and learning her trade, but “as an intern I had to file pictures and dust showrooms.” Ultimately, she made the jump to a commercial facility where she found the work interesting, but the company lacked the staff to train interns. The entire evolution was frustrating because the internships were unpaid and Etta found that she wasn’t learning as much from the experiences as she had hoped.
In the search to earn a living and learn more about interior design, she accepted a job with Hauser Patio and Furniture. This provided her the opportunity to learn the patio lines and even though she wasn’t hired as a sales person, she sold many a patio line using her motivation and product knowledge. She spent a few years working for Homestead House, doing all the paperwork to finalize sales. It was a valuable job because she learned not only about the specific patio furniture but also about sales and customer service.
One of Etta’s biggest concerns for young designers who are launching a career in interior design is that many of them find that school is not very similar to the work in the field. The formal institutionalized education didn’t really prepare her for work in interior design. After Homestead house, she spent some time as an administrative assistant and then as a book keeper dealing with accounts payable and receivable. All these experiences were preparing her for where she is now.
After designing the master bath of a house in Fairbanks Ranch as part of a showcase house for the American Society of Interior Design (ASID), Etta got a small job, which eventually led her to a seven-year partnership at Cedo Interior Design in La Jolla. She admits that she learned a lot in the field. Her partner specialized in kitchen and bath design and Etta took on the interior design side of things. “It was a good partnership and we both learned from each other. We accomplished amazing big jobs.”
Etta’s favorite part of having the showroom in La Jolla was the opportunity to not only meet clients, but to create spaces based on client requests. “I wasn’t confined to a box.” When she and her partner went their separate ways in 2010, Etta considered taking a break and focusing solely on her family. She is always looking for the next big challenge, though, and when previous clients started calling and asking her to design in their homes, she started working part time on her own.
Until 2010, Etta and her family lived in La Mesa, but she admits, “I have always been drawn to Coronado.” Her husband, Clint, loves to fish and she was passionate about living in Coronado. Clint found a place to rent, they all took a deep breath and moved. Etta loves it here and says it’s a great place for her two children. The school and the community are great. They love to ride bikes all over the island. Her favorite place in Coronado is Nado Gelato. “They have my favorite coffee on the entire island and they know me all too well.” Her exercise regimen includes kickboxing at Coronado Training Center. Her children love Spreckels Park and the rec center pool.
The dining room and kitchen of a design Etta completed in Hawai’i for customers who live in Rancho Bernardo.
Most of Etta’s current clients have done business with her before, but she continues to solicit new customers and opportunities to express her creativity to meet customer expectations and desires. She recently finished a remodel of a home in Hawai’i and is extremely proud of the results.
Etta shares that the biggest challenge of design for her is relaying the big picture to clients — conveying how the overall design will look in the end. It’s often difficult to envision the finished product when looking at lots of different parts of the overall design. She recommends that clients have a budget in mind and that they be up front and honest. If you don’t like something, you have to communicate your concerns to your designer. Etta admits “it doesn’t offend me if a client doesn’t like something. I don’t feel like I have to portray a certain image or look for my portfolio. My job is to make sure a client’s home is as beautiful as they thought it was going to be.” She also said that most people only design a house once and it is very nice to give people a result in the end that they are happy with and love.
Her favorite style is contemporary design because it gives her a broader line to work with. It can lean modern or be mixed with different styles, for example, coastal contemporary. She has done French traditional style and said that she enjoyed that as well because it is fairly unique.
Her favorite type of room to design is a home theatre. She said that working on home theatres was not only fun but provided a plethora of opportunities for creativity.
Etta loves her work and feels “very privileged to be the one that clients call back over and over.”
For more information or to talk with Etta about designing for you, visit her website.
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