Whether discussing the utilization of space, lighting, or green building techniques, Watkins’ passion for her profession is clear and her excitement to be working as an entrepreneur in West Virginia even more apparent.
After more than 20 years working for interior design and architectural firms, Watkins founded her own design and consulting firm, Watkins Design Works, LLC, in Charleston in January.
Thanks to the Charleston Area Alliance’s small business incubator program, the commercial interior design and green building consulting firm was able to locate in a work space on the fourth floor of the Alliance’s convenient and affordable office building located on Smith Street.
“I really wanted to have an office space that was separate from my home. I wanted have a space to meet clients and sort of differentiate myself from residential designers,” Watkins, who is the sole owner, said. “I thought it was important to be in an office because that’s the kind of spaces I’m designing.”
Unlike the common perception that interior designers simply select the furniture and color scheme of a space, Watkins explained that her role in a commercial project, whether new construction or renovation, is much greater.
“Commercial interior designers see things three dimensionally. We know how people will feel when they walk through a space. We know that a functional layout and a healthy indoor environment are going to make an organization’s staff more productive and happier,” Watkins explained.
Watkins Design Works offers all facets of interior design services including conceptual design, design development, material selections, lighting design and much more.
“It’s a professional service, just like anything else, that is designed to help make that company more profitable and meet their business needs and marketing goals,” Watkins said. “My goal is to design functional and beautiful interiors that support a business’ needs, brand and vision.”
After earning a bachelor of science in interior design from the University of Tennessee, Watkins became a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) accredited professional with a certification in building design and construction.
With every project she undertakes, Watkins uses her education and LEED training to incorporate green building methods to meet a client’s desired sustainability outcomes.
Whether concerned with indoor air quality or energy cost savings, Watkins said she can help clients meet their goals and LEED certification by serving in a facilitator role to bring architects, engineers and designers together to ensure that sustainability goals are successfully incorporated into a project from the start.
“To me it’s all about the big picture,” Watkins said. “What I think I bring to the table is a broad overview of sustainability, while knowing a lot of the nitty gritty details about green building,” Watkins said.
“We spend 90 percent of our time indoors. Not only should our spaces be designed well, but they should make us healthier, they should make us feel good and we should want to be there.”
Since 1986, the Charleston Area Alliance has supported local entrepreneurs and small start-ups in the Kanawha Valley region by providing affordable office and warehouse work locations, along with the guidance, consulting and office amenities needed to ensure success.
Click HERE to learn more about the business incubator.
To learn more about Watkins Design Works visit www.watkinsdesignworks.com or contact Jill Watkins at 304-553-7002.