Carol Guest of Carol Guest Interiors provides services to help homeowners who want to give their existing spaces a new look. That's a popular choice for many homeowners when houses are tough to sell. Despite low mortgage rates, sales of existing homes remain at a low level. According to Realtor.org, existing home sales were 8.8% lower in June 2011 compared to June 2010.
Yet to best understand and appreciate the service offering from Carol Guest Interiors, one needs to view the entire breadth of the service offering. It's not just another interior design firm. The services also include a retail store for furniture and accessory purchases, general contracting management for remodeling and completion of unfinished spaces, as well as interior design and consulting. Customers can use the service offering for a complete turnkey solution for design and furnishing or just to provide guidance to fill that one missing piece for a room.
Guest's work covers commercial and residential clients. She is licensed in general contracting and through the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) for structural and design remodeling. Guest has over 25 years of experience in her field and has received recognition and awards from various groups, including a design a award from Better Homes and Gardens.
Originally from Michigan, Guest's early work included the Amway Grand Hotel. This experience motivated her to look for more commercial work. So she left Michigan to work with ClubCorp in Texas. That role afforded Guest opportunities to work across the country and with many high profile clients in the country club industry.
Her work in the commercial area created and expanded network of contacts, which opened the doors to more business in the residential space. After some careful thought and consideration, she decided she could do her work as her own boss. It allowed her to slow travel and work on her own schedule.
In 2002 she opened a store in Cumming, named The Guest House. Guest's style is influenced by Southern and European tastes and it was the Southern style that drew her attention to Atlanta during her travels. She fell in love with the South and particularly the Atlanta region.
It was not her original intention for the store to be focused on retail sales of furniture and accessories. But she had so many new customers walk in from the street and through word-of-mouth that the Guest House became a retail space. The name Guest House was a natural reference to an extra room for guests in a home. Because of her name and how the store was designed it quickly became a customer favorite.
In 2007 she opened the , in the Suwanee Station Shopping center, under the name Carol Guest interiors. Many of Guest's clients lived in Suwanee and surrounding areas, so it was a natural location for a store front. The Suwanee location is a full retail studio that allows Guest to sell merchandise as well as guide clients through design options for custom interior design work.
Guest is definitely well matched for the life as an entrepreneur. She creates, builds, and explores with her clients. But it's the people aspect of her job that she enjoys the most. “I don't ever stop learning from people” Guest says. “My goal is to get to the emotion that is driving the client need. I want to understand why the client is trying to update, change, or build in a space.”
Guest has a long list of awards in her career. But she says now that “My awards are my clients. My business is not about getting an award, it's about helping people.”
The retail store merchandise at Carol Guest Interiors in Suwanee is sourced from multiple providers. It's focused on custom and high quality furniture. Many of the pieces are custom made to Guest's specifications.
Guest does offer package pricing by grouping multiple items together. This helps for clients that are working on set budgets to complete a room or house. A package could also include design work or other services.
Guest's best advertisement is word-of-mouth referrals. But she will also advertise with monthly postcards that list new items in the store. Additionally she advertises through staging model homes, open houses, and by refreshing the web site every six months.
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