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3 Questions with Lynn Buch Interiors

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Lynn Buch of Lynn Buch Interiors has grown her Wheeling business in the past 30 years from just a studio to a studio and showroom that doubles as retail space.

"I certainly feel like in West Virginia and in the Ohio Valley, I'm not sure the importance or the need for an interior designer is always known and appreciated," she said. "I appreciate somebody telling me what their budget is, and then I can work with it.

"Not everybody has a million dollar budget. I know that, and I don't either."

Buch said she's done work in nearly every lawyer's office and bank in the Wheeling area over the years, and her residential business has grown as well.

"We do everything from beginning to end, with as much or as little as the client wants us to do," she said.

She's not averse to traveling outside the area, and has worked on vacation homes in several states.

"We feel like we've evolved with the times, and that's a good thing in this economy," she said.

The State Journal: What is the biggest misconception about interior design? 

Lynn Buch: That it's expensive; that it's going to cost you more money in the long run. While I think, as a designer, we like to show you things that are unique and special and not necessarily the run-of-the-mill that you're going to find in a furniture store or one of the big box stores, we are going to also help prevent you from making mistakes, and that's one of the most costly things you can do is order furniture that's too large, too much or just all wrong, and then you're stuck with it.

TSJ: What is the simplest thing anyone can do to improve the look of his or her home? 

LB: The thing that I'm able to do that is easy and quick and cost-effective is arrange things correctly. I'm surprised at how often, it's just a matter of pushing and shoving furniture around or re-hanging artwork or wall décor. 

You know, sometimes it's just planning the space to be more pleasing to the eye, and that's the thing I find people are least capable of doing themselves. I think they sometimes get lost in that part of it, and of course if you put the sofa in the wrong place, you'll hang the picture over it, so finding the right arrangement is crucial. That's why we like to do a floor plan before we start pulling pieces together, because that floor plan becomes the shopping list, and it gives you the exact sizes and lengths and heights and width, so I can look at that and I know if I have a tall piece I want to balance that with something that will take up some vertical space.

TSJ: What's your take on trends? 

LB: With the advent of HGTV … there's a lot of trendy-ness out there, and I think it's good. Trend is sometimes a misconception. I tend to think of … ways to freshen the décor. 

You know, people call me back 10 years from now and say, ‘I don't want to replace my sofa, I don't want to reinvent the wheel, I just need some fresh touches,' so of course those are going to then pertain to colors that are fresher today than maybe what they have, and textures and just objects, per se. I think if you think in terms of permanent pieces or more lasting pieces being more classic and timeless in shape and color, that's why I love a neutral sofa. … We were going to do the white sofa experiment, to show how many different looks you can create, with a rug, a throw pillow or both or curtain panels. Once you find that color that attracts you, something is going to hit you, and you're going to grab it and the other things are going to fall into place, but those are things that are easy to change, too. Even with one great rug, it may just be throw pillows and sometimes it's just throw pillows, or a little something-something. But keep the big, costly items, the big-ticket items, the more permanent pieces in styles that are timeless. Think in terms of wood pieces, things you want to hopefully keep for a long time. 

But buy things you love that are either very interesting and unique and therefore look like found pieces and treasures that you'll have forever or just classic in design that you can change other things around them and still incorporate them into your décor.