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Q&A WITH MOBUS PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT CONSTRUCTION PROJECT MANAGER: Tiemaah Dougan

Tiemaah Binfoh Dougan (A.G.I.A, MArch) is a Chartered Architect and an Associate of the Ghana institute of Architects. She has a Masters in Architecture from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and technology, and Diplomas in Interior Design, Commercial Interior Design, Home Staging and Property Styling from The Interior Design Institute, UK. She comes highly recommended and is experienced in Pre and Post-Contract Management in Architectural Design Projects. She has worked on design projects for the UNHCR, was the Facilities Manager for CCML, one of the fast growing Micro Finance Companies in Ghana. She has previously worked for Albert Essamuah & Associates, a Built Environment Specialist Company as a Senior Architect and Project manager.

Q: Tell us a little more about your experience in the interior design industry.
A: It’s been an interesting and eye opening experience for me. Working for corporate institutions to individual clients and deciphering individual tastes, creating designs that speak or translate the essence of personal and professional brands, all within a limited budget and materials definitely puts you on your toes and makes you think fast in improvising yet aim at getting the best for ones client.

Q: What has inspired and informed your interiors style?
A: Living and working in Ghana and studying different styles around the world as well as my travels has taught me the importance of mixing styles and eras. My style hasn’t changed so much but rather refined and edited down to suit every space and client.

Q: Is there a particular period or style that appeals to you?
A: Modernist. This helps balance out the massiveness of our concrete and moulded architecture and the uniqueness of natural elements of materials that are in abundance here.

Q: Which designers, architects or interior designers (living or dead) do you admire and why?
A: As an Architect first, I’d say Frank Lloyd Wright and Zaha Hadid. They both had a unique fluidity in their designs that translated from the design into the internal space and the individual elements of the design. They simply represent the eye for detail to me.

Q: Can you remember the first space that really made an impact on you?
A: Oh yes! I was supposed to be meeting a client for a design she wanted me to do for her daughter and she wanted me to see her house so I would know what she liked. We had a quick stop over at her brother’s house and she invited me in… oh my, I loved the level of detail and the use of natural stones, timber and earthy tones of paint. Everything was in its raw form yet refined in a way that had not touched the natural character of the materials. It was just beautiful.

Q: How would you describe your own style?
A: Rustic and timeless, with a focus on functional space planning and beautiful as well as natural materials.

Q: What’s been your career highlight to date, and what do you still dream to achieve?
A: Amazingly, its one that was done for my twin sister’s home. I guess it was because she gave me free reign of the design and that it was done out of love.
I want to extend my business to not just putting spaces and elements together but then create or manufacture those design elements myself.

Q: Creating spaces that are both beautiful and comfortable is something that’s inherent to your entire portfolio. What’s your secret to achieving liveable luxury?
A: The client should be at peace with the space that I design for them. Irrespective of the size of the budget, I have to touch the soul of the client and make them fall in love with the design. I could furnish an apartment with outrageously expensive items yet the client would not be content. I could do the same with a low budget with the same client and he will be ecstatic.

Q: What household items couldn’t you live without?
A: My comfy sofa. That’s where I sit and think through designs, and spend quality time with my husband and my son also.

Q: What’s the best interior design lesson you’ve learnt?
A: You can’t be indecisive or procrastinate when making decisions. It causes financial loss to the client, wastes your time, and makes the project difficult and less enjoyable.

Q: If you didn’t live in Ghana, where else would you call home and why?
A: Spain first then South Africa. Their architecture especially the fine ones, makes me want to try living there.

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