Signature Designs was set up by Charmaine Bowas in July 2020, so they’re just one year old, and yet they’ve already completed a number of prestigious and successful projects. Some of Signature Designs’ work was seen in the last issue of S&D where they designed and installed the reception desk and coffee bar at the new BYD showroom on the Airport Road. At BYD, Signature Designs also fitted out the main kitchen and the two kitchenettes, the bathroom vanities, the pine door frames, the mahogany desk and office storage units and the wall panelling in the main boardroom. A few of their other most recent projects include the interior design for the Skylake Boreholes branch along Samora Machel and shopfitting at Supreme Panel Beaters’ head office in Msasa. In addition they’ve completed work for a number of private residences that includes kitchen design and fitting, bar counters, study areas or home offices, bathroom fit outs and built in cupboards.
Although Signature Designs is quite a new company Charmaine has over 11 years of hands-on experience in design, custom manufacturing, installation, and property development and improvements. In addition to her vast hands on experience,
Charmaine studied at the Interior Design Institute of South Africa.She started out working for a kitchen design company and gained practical experience in planning layouts and creating 3D renders for clients to approve or adjust. Apart from the aesthetic side of the design field, Charmaine learned about the more practical side of drawing up quotations for materials and timelines. She learned about the range of different materials which are available and which are best suited to a client’s design ideas and budget. Charmaine is comfortable working a number of different software packages for drawings and renders, as well as programmes which can generate cost and time saving cutting lists, materials lists and quotations.
Her experience in seeing her projects through from the initial plans to the end product has given her an excellent grasp of the installation process – how each stage follows on, and is dependent on, the previous one. She has a good understanding of the skills involved and the necessary time schedules for each stage.Charmaine also worked for a number of years for the Homelux Group of Companies – for Homelux Property Development as an Interior Designer and Homelux Properties as a Realtor/Property Sales Consultant. Both roles were done concurrently.
She gained valuable skills in the design and layout of kitchens and bathrooms, built in cabinetry and custom made furnishings, whether for a single luxury home or a series of cluster homes or apartments, and the necessary details of installation. She also learned how interior design can add value and appeal to selected properties.
One of Signature Designs’ main assets, that sets them apart from other design companies, is Charmaine’s customer liaison skills. She pays close attention to the customers’ brief and is able to add her own input, suggesting different materials, different looks and solutions to difficult problems. Once the initial designs have been drawn up and presented to the client Signature Designs is adaptable and flexible and willing to continue refining their design details until their client is completely satisfied.
Charmaine’s hands-on work experience has allowed her to set up a network of the best suppliers for a wide range of materials to suit different designs and budgets, from the exclusive top end of the market to more modest projects. Charmaine also ensures that Signature Designs remains right up to date with modern design trends, new and innovative materials and the latest technologies. In addition she has a well-established directory of tried and trusted artisans and sub-contractors so no project is too big or too small.
She’s very experienced in budget management ensuring projects never over run on finances or time limits. Charmaine personally supervises and oversees every aspect of the manufacture and installation right down to the finest details. For bigger projects she can facilitate and organise sub-contractors like plumbers, electricians, painters and tilers, and installers of ceilings and partitions for commercial projects. She can even recommend and work with suppliers for soft furnishings like carpets, curtains, cushions and bespoke furniture makers.
In fact, although Signature Designs specialise in cabinetry design and manufacture, their skills encompass just about every aspect of interior design. Charmaine is comfortable working with individual home or business owners directly as well as with architects and other interior designers. For homes, offices, shops and showrooms, hospitality facilities, schools and other projects – Signature Designs offers a complete interior design solution.
text by Michael Nott
photos by Structure and Design