Christopher Brown is a design consultant at the Ethan Allen Design Center in Birmingham. He is responsible for field measurement of clients’ rooms or homes; helping clients choose upholstery, case goods, accessories, wall coverings and window treatments; and designing custom window treatments and bedding. He recently completed a whole house remodel in Shelby Township and is currently working on an historic home in Birmingham, Michigan.
“Ethan Allen offers so many options with their upholstery and case goods,” said Brown. “Most are handcrafted in the United States, and I can often take the same piece and make it completely unique for each client with the many options offered. Selections must be made in regards to the client's budget, intended use (Do they have dogs or children? Is it a room that they will use every day?), and, of course, taste and lifestyle.
“My favorite part of this job is how I can directly improve a client's daily life— not just aesthetically, but functionally as well. A well-designed home environment makes living there easier and more enjoyable.”
One of Brown’s greatest achievements so far is becoming a National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) certificate holder. In the field of interior design, this credential is evidence that a designer has at least six years of experience and has passed a rigorous two-day exam that covers information based on NCIDQ's independent, comprehensive analysis of the profession and the daily practice of interior designers in a range of settings.
“As a client, your greatest assurance of high qualifications is the NCIDQ certificate,” said Brown.
Brown began building the foundation for his successful interior design career as a student at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit where he gained an expansive background in drafting and rendering techniques, both hand-drawn and computer aided.
“My clients are always impressed when I use Photoshop renderings to give them an idea of what their space will look like; it's a very valuable tool!” Brown exclaimed. “I also received a broad education in color theory and perception, historical styles and identification, and lighting science."
"The College also prepared me to speak to people, present my ideas and take criticism of my work. That has been a huge benefit.”
Although Brown credits several professors for preparing him to become a professional designer, the influence of one instructor in particular continues to influence his passion for preservation.
“When I was a student, I took every course I could with Dr. Dorothy Kostuch,” said Brown. “What an incredible instructor and person she was! I learned so much about Detroit, history (one of my passions) and furniture from her. She truly influenced how I see and talk about interior design.
“In addition to my career as a designer, I am a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Historic buildings, spaces and furniture are my passion. Dr. Dorothy really influenced this part of my creative life.”