Ruth Chafin is an interior designer with a twist. She also is a California state-licensed contractor.
Chafin began her career in 1971 after receiving her bachelor’s degree in interior design from California State University, Long Beach. In 1979, she opened her first showroom in Loma Linda.
She discovered that many customers who had a custom-built home, an addition to their home or an extensive home remodel were unable to achieve the best interior design because of the limitations of the home’s structure. To provide seamless service, Chafin decided to get a contractor’s license. She took classes, did five years field experience with various contractors, and passed her boards in 1989.
She keeps up her licensure by taking continuing education classes. She also has her teaching credential and has taught interior design at Cal State University, San Bernardino and San Bernardino Valley College and supervises student interns. Eight years ago, she moved her office and showroom to Redlands. As a licensed contractor and interior designer, she is the project manager, so the homeowner does not have to deal with a variety of different foremen who may not always agree with each other. As a teacher, she guides clients in visualizing the big picture:
• How the remodel will function well with both the rest of the home and needs of all the family members.
• A fireplace that harmonizes with the windows and lighting.
• Living-room upholstery that coordinates with the dining-room tiling.
• Window placement for best use of light. She knows where to put the dominant and supporting components to enhance, not detract, from the focal point. The home feels harmonious instead of fragmented.
Chafin deals directly with manufacturers and attends manufacturers’ trade shows annually. She recently spent 10 days in Las Vegas for five back-to-back trade shows — lighting/plumbing, hardware/tile and furniture. By meeting the manufacturers, Chafin discovers those who provide the best quality, reliability, have kept up with current style and fashion, and provide coordinated pieces accessible only to designers — not available to purchasers online. By dealing directly with manufacturers, she cuts out the middleman and can offer the consumer competitive prices.
After Chafin meets with a person to understand their needs and wants, she draws blueprints with three price points — lower, middle, high-end. The purchaser can choose one of the three expenditures or might want to mix elements of each to have some higher priced components offset by some lesser priced. Chafin designs and creates silk floral and arboreal arrangements, both large and small. Sometimes a room would be enhanced by having a botanical piece, but the lighting in the room is not satisfactory for a living plant.
Many of these pieces, as well as a large inventory of items from the manufacturers’ trade shows, can be viewed in her studio. Chafin doesn’t just limit herself to large projects; she designs for limited spaces, too. Chafin also gives back to her community.
She is remodeling the restrooms at Redlands Art Association. She also volunteers at the Redlands Visitor Center. She has been featured in Inland Empire Magazine and Architectural Digest. Chafin believes her job is “to educate customers to be able to make choices that will ensure their project’s success”.
Interior Design Co.
Location: 721 Nevada St., Ste 206C, Redlands
Mobile: (909) 856-3696
Chafin’s online store: homedecorspecialists.com