What an interior designer and organizer does in a workday


Welcome to The Work Day, a series that charts a single day in various women’s working lives — from gallery owners to stay-at-home parents to chief executives. In this installment, we hear from Valerie Brot, an interior designer and organizer who recorded a workday in June.

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Job title: Owner, Purposeful Space

Previous jobs: My past work experience is primarily in the tech industry with roles in quality insurance, project management and compliance.

What led me to my current role: I love helping people who are struggling with clutter in their lives by streamlining their belongings and their interiors. We work together to create a peaceful, inviting environment that best supports their lifestyle.

The transition to starting my own business in organization and design happened naturally.

I enjoy the process of organization, and have a natural eye for and enjoy all design disciplines. I had been organizing and designing spaces informally for some time before formalizing my work by starting Purposeful Space.

I have been lucky to work with great local clients. I find the work very fulfilling, as I see my clients’ living space transform and their enjoyment of it evolve.

How I spend the majority of my day: My day is spent in part researching solutions and items to apply toward a client’s space. Part of this time may be spent on-site working side-by-side with a client.

It also may consist of office work to prep and design the flow of a space and acquire related organization and design pieces as well as on-site work: collaborative work with clients.

6:30 a.m.: First order of the day: Coffee. Loads of coffee! Then I do a floor mat exercise routine for 30 minutes.

Last fall, I started sculling two times a week in the morning and I love it, but I wasn’t able to fit it in this morning. I live near the San Francisco Bay, which I enjoy whenever possible.

7:30 a.m.: In the last couple of years, I have streamlined my morning routine. I use minimal makeup and go for a more natural look. It is liberating. Lately, we have been enjoying great weather in San Francisco, so I’ve decided to wear a flowy dress for the day.

Today I have calls from my home office in the morning, on-site work with a client for ongoing work, and later tonight, plans to eat out with a friend.

8:30 a.m.: I catch up with client correspondence on email and Trello and set the agenda for the first part of the morning. Calls, placing orders, research and sourcing various items such as furniture, organization pieces, light fixtures and art.

10:30 a.m.: I have a call with my web designer about my upcoming website and social media marketing.

After years of staying away from social media, I am about to take the plunge to expand the business.

Today’s agenda: Select images to use across online platforms.

11:30 a.m.: I have my weekly recurrent volunteering call for Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly SF.

I speak with Diana, whom I have been in touch with for the last two years via LBFE. It’s partly a tech support call, and partly to catch up. Today we troubleshoot an email issue and discuss today’s “Wordle.”

12 p.m.: Lunch usually consists of a large mixed salad, whether at home or on the go. I also use this time for personal calls and emails.

2 p.m.: I have a client meeting on-site. We have a few organizational items, including the installation of pullout drawers.

Drawing up a list of items for the building management: Change lightbulbs to warm light, installation of dimmers and smart light switches.

These details are important — they improve the flow of the space, and consequently the harmony of one’s living quarters.

We also go over various design options for the apartment and select and order sconces and floor lamps for the living room. We look into the color scheme of the main living space and talk about art options — likes and dislikes. We have not been able to decide on new pieces yet.

7:30 p.m.: Dinner with a friend in town. I enjoy socializing, whether it’s seeing an art exhibit or trying a new restaurant. This evening, we have a bite down the street at a nearby Mexican restaurant.

9 p.m.: Time to wind down. Typically I spend the evening listening to podcasts, reading a few pages of a book or magazines, or catching up on shows.

Tonight I read “How to Buy a New Mattress Without a Ph.D. in Chemistry” in the New Yorker. Could not let go of work altogether!