Building Lifelong Interior Design Partnerships

Austin Interior Designer Amity Worrel Reflects on the Importance of Nurturing Client Relationships

Zilker Austin Interior Designer

I’m currently sitting in the airport awaiting my flight to Cape Cod, where I will be managing the installation of a two-and-a-half-year project that is wrapping up this summer. Now, two and a half years might sound like a long project to folks. But in the pursuit of designing a home, that is just the tip of the iceberg. Creating a home is a lifelong pursuit requiring design partnerships that span decades. As part of my desire to promote my industry and the value interior designers bring, it’s necessary for me to share the importance of nurturing client relationships. 


An Interior Design Project is a Lifelong Endeavor 

I am approaching three decades of working in the design industry, focusing on the high-end residential branch of this massive tree of services. What I’ve learned through this time is that this job is all about relationships. I have clients I’ve been working with for over twenty years. For example, the story of our Society Hill project began back in 2000 when I received a decorating inquiry for an 11-bedroom house in Ohio. This client and I forged a friendship, and I’ve designed with them through many phases of life — from the early days with young children to empty nesting. These life changes necessitated drastically different design needs. While Society Hill looks complete in the published photos, this project is still ongoing today! This client is a great example of someone embracing the slow decorating movement, choosing each piece with intention and meaning. To make recommendations like this as a designer, you have to have years of a deep and connected relationship. Every art piece, fabric pattern, and color matter. 

Society Hill - Austin Interior Designer
Society Hill project

Our homes are lifelong projects that continue to grow and shift with our changing needs and phases of life. People outside of the interior design industry (or those with different business models than myself) may not understand that there is no real project end date in any of the work we do. My work is slow and complex. The client relationships we foster as designers set the foundation for decades of work on the lifelong endeavor of creating a home. 


A Home Grows With You 

Our Zilker project is a perfect example of a growing lifelong design partnership in action. Our Austin interior designers first met this young family a few years ago when they asked us to renovate their downstairs kitchen and living spaces. The family wanted something fresh, fun, and youthful — just like them. A few years later, they decided to focus on the outdoor areas to increase their usable space. A pool and outdoor lounge were added. Needs shifted again in 2020, and we came in to design a work-from-home friendly office addition. Then, once again, it was time to upgrade the living room. The kids had grown up into teens and could be trusted with more grown-up furnishings. Plus, the family decided to invest in a grand piano, which needed a space of its own. In the next phase, the family decided to renovate the home’s three bathrooms, adding an exterior door to the downstairs bath so it could double as a pool bath and treating themselves to a steam shower upstairs. Now, we’re approaching 15 years of working together! 

Zilker project
Zilker project

Needless to say, we went through a lot and learned about each other over these 15 years. A longstanding relationship like this comes with a solid level of trust, understanding, and affection. As I have written about before, good relationships do not always come from everything going smoothly. In fact, some struggles that are recovered from can lead to even stronger ties. An opportunity to show how we respond to difficulties helps us show our integrity in times that require us to correct mistakes and take on challenges. Our team has proven themselves time and time again through the years, and trust has only grown stronger. 


Nurturing Client Relationships & Building Design Partnerships

The work of interior designers has such a strong service aspect. After decades-long partnerships, you develop solid relationships and commitments to the families you work with. This is one of my favorite parts of the work we get to do. After all, work is such a large aspect of our lives, and having the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with clients brings so much value to the experience. Our team gets so much satisfaction from having a client’s trust. We work hard to get them exactly what they want and to maintain those connections. Of course, some client relationships come and go, which are meaningful too. Some clients only need us in their lives for a season. But we are honored to grow through all the chapters of life and watch our longstanding clients grow, succeed, and enjoy their spaces.


There’s so much more to build. 

Amity Worrel

Amity Worrel is an award-winning interior designer based in Austin, Texas. She has worked on high-end interior design projects for celebrities and tastemakers in NYC, LA, and the Bahamas. In 2008, Amity decided to bring her passion for diverse design back to her hometown of Austin. Her spaces pull from timeless design concepts ranging from coastal contemporary to cozy cottage to Austin eclectic. Emotional connections, functional flow, and a touch of humor remain central to every interior design scheme. Her work has been published in national and local publications, including The Wall Street Journal, House Beautiful, HGTV Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, and Austin Home. In her free time, she loves perusing estate sales and diving into design history. Learn more about Amity.