TURNING DESIGN DREAMS INTO REALITY FROM THE GROUND UP

by CAROLINA RAMIREZ HERRERA / photography by HOLGER OBENAUS

IF THERE IS ONE THING THE CURRENT STATE of the world has taught us, it is the importance of making your home your sanctuary. When it comes to home renovations, ideas, Pinterest boards and screenshots are always fun and exciting until it comes down to the actual logistics and execution. While choosing and hiring an interior design team can be a nerve-wracking task, the right designer can help make your dream home a reality, especially one that ticks all the boxes.

Husband and wife power couple Betsy and Rich Glass, the team behind the Charleston design firm The Flippin Designer, have been in the business for more than 20 years and go far beyond just interior and exterior design. The Flippin Designer offers a 360-degree approach all under one roof, ranging from custom furniture design, planning and managing renovations to historic restoration and architectural design planning for new construction projects, both residential and commercial. “My husband and I started designing and renovating our own homes when we first married, 22 years ago,” says Betsy Glass. “We always have had a passion for restoring the beauty of existing homes or designing a new home from the ground up. We’ve never looked at it as work, but more as a way of turning our passions into a dream business.”

Unlike your traditional design firm, The Flippin Designer has the expertise of an architect and designer. “We do floor planning for renovations and new construction planning, just like an architect. We pick out all of the selections that go into a home, from flooring to tile, kitchens and appliances, bathroom fixtures, etc. We are, in some cases, the only person who talks with the builders,” says Glass.

One recent project, The Charlestonian, is a true testament to The Flippin Designer touch. The project consisted of a main level renovation, including the kitchen, family room, living room and powder room. The entire home was repainted, the floors were redone, and two load-bearing walls were removed to open the kitchen to the family and dining room. “They wanted this house to resemble the Charleston charm,” says Glass. “I added recycled brick to the kitchen backsplash and carried this on both fireplaces to really pull in some historical charm. Walking in from the entry, I wanted to grab the eye to this vintage-inspired home, so I painted the entire stairwell handrails and banister black and left the rest white to match the walls.” The floors are reclaimed pine, which is very popular in Charleston, but were missing the current style and design. To keep costs in line, Glass sanded the wood down and worked with one of their hardwood companies to achieve a more natural, coastal vibe.

What truly sets the company apart from the competition is its unique process of working with 3-D renderings and CAD floor plans, which makes working with clients remotely a much less stressful process. “My husband and business partner, Rich, works side by side with me, planning and budgeting every project we do. Rich works with our clients by supplying CAD services to improve floor plans, full construction plans for contractors to follow, and he helps each client with budgeting, whether you are renovating or building a new home,” says Glass. This 3-D visualization literally brings their clients’ dreams to life far beyond the average mood board.

While many designers offer similar services, many must outsource architects or a draftsman to do the drawings, while the team at The Flippin Designer handles all of this in-house. Regardless of a client’s aesthetic—modern, vintage, bohemian, industrial, farmhouse or urban cottage, to name a few—the team at The Flippin Designer excels at helping clients pull together a mix of designs, making it unique to each individual.

Thanks to the 3-D offerings, the recent pandemic has only increased the firm’s remote services. “We have been working virtually for the last few years with clients in Chicago, Michigan, New York, New Hampshire and all over. Then COVID hit, and the service began to blow up in a good way. Since we have accounts at countless vendors worldwide, we can help clients virtually anywhere. If clients need a new layout for a kitchen, bathrooms or
a master, they send us their house plans or measurements via email, and we can design what they are looking for. Once they approve the design, we start gathering all the materials and furnishings to purchase and also start communicating with their contractor abroad or locally,” says Glass.

Renovations can be a stressful experience both for the seasoned pro or the first-timers. Working with a team of experts who can walk you through from beginning to end, from design to construction to furnishing, is key.

“Building a dream space should be exciting and not stressful. I love to ask my clients, ‘What makes you smile? And what do you call a home that you want to escape to?’” says Glass. “Bringing that vision to life,
that’s what we live for.” *

Carolina Ramirez Herrera is an art- and design-obsessed travel and lifestyle writer, who often contributes to blogs, city guides and lifestyle publications, sharing a page from her little Black Book of personal travels. Based in Miami but usually on a plane, follow her on @Lacarolinda.