Building a new home, renovating an existing one or just refurbishing a room can become a daunting prospect when it comes to the interior design.

This is where Tara Rountree says a "fresh pair of eyes" can help people who might be feeling overwhelmed with the process.

Ms Rountree always had a hankering for design and took care of the interior design elements of homes she and husband Antony have lived in, including two they built.

"Once I started doing it I thought I didn't want it to end."


She had studied art at Whanganui UCOL then after a break gained her diploma in interior design with the Interior Design Institute in April this. Fast forward to August 1 and she launched Tara Interior Design.

Ms Rountree has worked for clients around Whanganui in homes ranging from the minimalist modern to the older weatherboard villas.

"All the elements and principles of design are the same no matter what you're working in."

She said a perception that getting an interior designer on board means major financial outlay was misconstrued.

"I really encourage people to be honest with their budget because the choices out there are so vast. If I don't know their budget I might be suggesting things that are beyond what they want to spend."

That's why she has organised price packages for her design services, so people know precisely what her services will cost.

"It's tricky pricing interior design services but I've done a lot of research. What I've found is that people like (price) packages because they know what they're going to get and how much they'll be paying rather than an hourly rate.

"I want people to feel that they're getting a value out of my service."
Every client is different and Ms Rountree said it was a "very personal" to get involved with a client.

"You're helping them create their surroundings. I think it helps that I'm a great listener because it's about bringing their ideas to life."

Her skill comes from being able to gather all the information a client may have, adding her own and then distilling it into something meaningful.

She said people often overlooked the interior design element, such as when someone is bulding a new home.

"I believe the project can be enriched by including an interior designer in the initial design process in collaboration with the architect, draughtsman or builder."

At the moment Ms Rountree's breaking into the Whanganui market, meeting with builders to make herself known. But already she's done work for inner city retailers, redesigning one store and overseeing an office makeover.

She said sourcing design product locally was not such a big issue either.

"If you spend time asking the right questions you can pretty much get anything. My initial advertising has made reference to local suppliers to make people aware you can get almost all you need for your home here.

"They might not be on the shop floor but there are plenty of businesses in Whanganui who can source things for you as long as you ask the right questions. There are some really skilled people here and great stores," she said.

"I know how good it feels to walk into a well-designed room and I want my clients to feel the same way when they enter their home. My passion for natural elements and love of pairing worn and well-loved pieces with the shiny and new, creates unique, warm and interesting spaces."

Contact: or phone 021 246 9463.