The secret to winning at design competitions by an award-winning interior designer.

Insights from Award Winning Designer Wendy Glaister after being awarded (6) prestigious design awards this summer.

Modesto, CA (August 09, 2023) – Award Winning Interior Designer, Wendy Glaister, owner and principal of Wendy Glaister Interiors shares insights and her secrets to successfully winning (6) prestigious design competitions this summer. Detailing how she stages and lights her award-winning project and how she counts her blessings along the way. 

How does it feel to be an award-winning designer? 

Incredible! To say that we are blessed to do what we do is an understatement. So many opportunities exist to make a special place for our clients and their families. I am so grateful for the faith that our clients bestow in our collective partnership. And it’s wonderful for my clients. They love knowing they have an award-winning home, showroom or commercial space. 

What was your first project that was awarded? Year/type of project? 

My first ASID award was in 2020 for Luxury Residential Bath for a really special home addition we did for the sweetest clients ever…who are sweet potato and almond farmers. The bathroom design was super glamorous and it was such a treat to be given this award. 

Do you think entering design competitions is worth it? I believe that entering your work into design competitions is worth the effort. You have to develop an eye for imagery, learn how to write in a captivating way and keep track of key details … all of which translate to other exciting opportunities.

Our benefits to investing in professional photography and writing with the audience in mind is that I am able to share project images with magazines. Our Earthen Elegance project was awarded the July/ August cover of Kitchen & Bath Business (KBB) Magazine alongside a beautiful feature articleTo be given the cover of KBB is honestly one of the highest honors we’ve ever received. This is the first time our firm’s work has been on the cover and we would have never got this opportunity if we hadn’t prioritized the photos to enter into this year’s design competitions. This publication is by industry professionals for industry professionals so the bar is extraordinarily high. Honestly, I am on cloud nine. I am so grateful. I’m planning a lunch for all of the craftspeople who worked on that project to thank them. We make a great team. 

How do you feel about Design competitions submission fees?

 Do you know the old saying you can’t win the lottery unless you buy a ticket? I place photography and design competition submission fees in the budget under advertising and marketing. In this industry, and in the world of social media,  you’re only as good as your last photographed space. It’s just part of being an interior designer. I also find great pride in our work so for me I love the process of chronicling our projects. I work with a publicist who helps me to weigh which design competitions are the right fit for my design style and projects. For some design competitions, we only enter every other year and for others we budget to enter a certain number of projects each year while staying within our firm’s quarterly advertising budget.

How do you know you will enter a project for a design competition? 

I usually know in advance if a project will be going into the queue for a design competition or not. I did have one surprise though this year. I was really excited to submit a beautiful kitchen we did with incredible metal sculptures but it just didn’t photograph well. The cabinets had a shine and the light was too reflective. I was so disappointed. 

How has entering design competitions changed how you design or take photos of your projects?  

When I think about projects now, I do consider which ones may be appropriate for competition. Not every project is competition level…although every project is expressly tailored to each client. For those that may be competitive, I think about “the money shot.” That’s the main photograph that will make the biggest impact. Often It’s the space where the most resources are spent, hence, “the money shot.” The investment has to make sense for the client and their design objectives but it doesn’t hurt if it’s also next-level design.

Can you share with us the details of your most recent awards? 

For the Best of 209 competition, each company is awarded Gold or Silver awards based on the most popular vote. The rules are that each distinct IP address is allowed to vote only once a day…so in a way, it’s kind of a popularity contest but it’s equally rewarding to win based on people in your area who really appreciate your work. We are so grateful that Wendy Glaister Interiors was awarded, GOLD for Interior Design 2023 and SILVER for Kitchen/Bath Remodeling 2023. 
California’s Most Attentive Full-Service Designer by Lux Life Magazine is a prestigious and coveted award offered each year by Lux Life Magazine, which does a complete analysis of design firms throughout each state. Their judging process weighs their work, client reviews, project photography, website, online presentation and social presence before bestowing each award.

I am grateful to have been awarded California’s Most Attentive Full-Service Designer by Lux Life Magazine for two years running. Similar to Lux Life Magazine’s analysis of a design firm’s project which they judge based on your website’s recent project portfolio, social presence, and a big part of City’s Best Awards is the client testimonials and reviews each company gets online.

We are extremely proud to have been awarded City’s Best Awards for three years running.ASID California / Central Nevada’s ANDYZ Awards is a juried design competition and each submission is judged with strict criteria by leading industry experts and selected judges that are fellow ASID Designers. Each project has to submit 8 professional photographs, plus a single “before” photo, to articulate the project’s budget, challenges, products, problem-solving and aesthetic value. Wendy Glaister Interiors was awarded 2023 Best Individual Residential Space Over 3,000 sq. ft. and 2023 Best Showroom Design.

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What do you think made these projects stand out to the ASID judges?

 I think our Earthen Elegance Residential Project won because the tones and textures are very up to date and the lighting design is next level. Lighting Designer, Carrie Arnold, worked with us on this project to perfect the effect. I was awarded Best Showroom Design for Kristopher Winter Direct Appliance in Modesto CA, I think that home media rooms are a real need, and experiencing them as a consumer before purchase can be a very powerful tool. The two different modes for the experience: “family room” and “movie room,” were also helpful as they showed what could be possible in a regular family room or in a dedicated movie space.  

Do you have a signature way that you stage a home for the best photos? 

I have this goofy saying, “Ferns make it friendly.” I make certain that my produced images have fresh greenery or very convincing faux greenery. I always use greenery and I try to use flowers somewhere. Different, unusual objects or accessories that establish a sense of scale are also important. Interesting decor, patterned wallpaper, and statement-making art are also really helpful in making your projects stand out in photos.

Do you have a secret way you light the space for the best photos? 

I work with the same photographer for all my projects and really believe in the synergy we have created. We have grown and evolved together over the years and we have a rhythm we’ve developed that works. My photographer Mark Verschelden shoots each space with all the lights off for natural lighting and with the lights on to demonstrate the power of an artistic lighting plan. Mark also uses more light filters and bracketed exposures for my projects. He does “regular” real estate photography but it’s nothing like the work he does for me. He can shoot a whole home for real estate in 45 minutes. We can get 1 or 2 shots in that amount of time. I also have a formula I try to follow. Straight-on shots, angle shots, feature shots. For example, in a kitchen, I would shoot straight on the hood, at an angle across the island, and the organizational features in drawers or inside an appliance garage. I try to get 8-12 exceptional photos out of each project. 

About Wendy Glaister Interiors 

Wendy Glaister is the founder of her namesake interior design studio and has been designing luxury residences throughout California for 17 years. Her firm’s award-winning residential and commercial projects have been published in numerous magazines, won countless awards, and she afforded her the opportunity to travel the country speaking about the business of interior design, overcoming obstacles, and fulfilling your calling through creative entrepreneurship. As a  member of ASID, NKBA, and IDS, Wendy immediately sets clients and colleagues at ease with her warmth and engaging personality. She is an intent listener and a decisive problem solver.

Collaboration with her patrons and craftspeople to produce stunning results … built environments tailored exclusively to each client’s residential or commercial space.Wendy regularly donates her time to supporting the design community and has served as the chapter President of the Central California Nevada region of ASID. Each year she produces exclusive design tours where she hosts fellow designers for SF Decorator’s Showhouse, The San Francisco Design Center, and the SF Fall Show for ASID. Most recently she hosted the IDS Designer Experience at KBIS in partnership with NKBA in 2022 (Orlando) & 2023 (Las Vegas). 

Wendy also works as a contributing editor on design for KBB Magazine, Furniture, Lighting & Decor, Home Accents Today, Stanislaus Magazine, and Las Vegas Market. She regularly highlights trends, brands that are friendly and responsive to designers, and best practices for business particularly in the areas of collaboration, branding, and luxury design. To experience her work visit her Design Portfolio.

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