Andrea Slater is not new to the area she has had a finca in the Natural Park for nearly 20 years but she now feels it is time to slow down her work in Germany and focus on building a business here in Andalucia. Andrea is an Interior designer and as she talks, it is evident how passionate she is about her work, her own finca demonstrates her natural talent and she talks excitedly about how she would love to help people transform their homes and revamp local bars and restaurants.
Andrea is originally from Germany and since she was a little girl she was always interested in nice things. She drove her parents mad with constantly changing her bedroom, having found new pieces of furniture, lamps, material or just bits and bobs! Her love of getting a bargain and serious trawling of car boot sales means she is a great believer that Interior design does not have to be expensive. Often she finds a beautiful piece such as a silver platter or a large glass lamp and then creates a picture or story in her head and then shops to make the idea a reality. In her own home she pointed out various items she had bought for less than 10 euro, some for as little as 1, which she sprayed, cleaned or painted and then created a design around it, with amazing results. Areas of her own home and garden have been transformed into something unique and beautiful.
What was a hobby in her teenage years soon became a passion so it was natural to study Interior Design in Germany. After further education it was easy to gain employment using her skills in a photo studio where she learnt more about the importance of light and staging sets.
Employment was never a problem and she worked for 2 big catalogues where Andrea gained experience in both indoor and outdoor shooting. In 1999 she set up her own business, becoming self employed which was successful from the start as she worked for many of the same clients as before.
Around this time Andrea was planned a holiday to Andalucia, she had chosen the area of Frigiliana and drove from Germany with her dogs and a previous partner. They had a wonderful holiday and loved the area and relaxed way of life. She explained this is very different to Germany where there are restrictions on their lives such as no mowing the law on a Sunday due to noise pollution and no washing of cars due to water contamination. They looked at buying and saw pictures on the internet of a lovely remote finca in the Natural Park that was up for sale. They viewed the property and that that was it. They immediately put a deposit down and Andrea called her father from Spain to say put my house on the market in Germany immediately! They drove back to Germany and 3 days later their house was sold. However, as often things are when buying in Spain, it wasn't straight forward after this. They were informed that the price included only 51,000sqm of land and now it wasn't possible to split the plot the house was on which was 25,000sq meters. This meant the price rose considerably but Andrea was not deterred. She wanted the house so she put everything into it and lived from client to client. At the time she worked across the country for various bars and shops that paid her travel expenses and put her up in hotels. Eventually she earned enough to pay off the house and start renovation.
For the last 17 years Andrea has split her time between Germany and her home in the natural park. In one year she flew back and forth 36 times. In more recent years she has taken things a bit easier and is trying to spend more and more time in Andalucia. She has another partner since buying the house and they have now been together for 11 years and they both want to spend more time in their home in the Natural Park. This doesn't mean Andrea wants to stop working, quite the contrary, she is always working if it's not for clients its making changes to her own home, renovating, restyling, decorating and sewing. The ideal plan would be to have enough clients in the area in order to reduce the amount of time working in Germany. Andrea has already worked for a few people in the area for example she did a quick make over to a town house that had not been sold for 2 years and then 4 weeks Andrea had revamped it, the house sold. There are many areas where Andrea can help from when a house is bought give new ideas for the whole concept of a new home, make an existing home or room nicer or help sell homes.
Initially, Andrea meets with the client, usually at her home as this provides a great platform for clients to see what she can do. They look through catalogues for colour schemes and ideas. As ideas are formed together a concept board is created that can consist of colour charts, pictures of furniture and fabrics and this board will form the basis of the whole redesign of a room, garden or entire home. The consultation can end here or Andrea can go shopping with the client and then follow the concept through to the end redesign result. Throughout our conversation Andrea kept pointing out the service needn't be expensive a redesign doesn't have to cost the earth and employing an Interior designer isn't only for the rich and famous. She loves her job, she loves helping people and creating their ideas and the best reward is seeing the pure pleasure her clients have when they have completed the redesign together.