Even as a little girl, Bridgett Mazer had an eye for design. “My mom knew at an early age that’s what I wanted to do,” Mazer said. “I used to ask for furniture for gifts as a kid.”
More than a quarter century later, Mazer runs her own design company, Bridgett Mazer Interiors, and provides services for Tongue & Groove Custom Builder. She’s spent the past decade developing a roster of high-end residential clients while also earning a reputation for elegant commercial work.
Some of that work will be on display next May when the 2017 Wells Fargo Championship tees off at Eagle Point Golf Club in Porters Neck.
With a projected economic impact of between $40 million and $60 million for the Wilmington area, the May 1-7, 2017 event will bring tens of thousands of golf fans to the course, and some of the today’s best players to the clubhouse.
The tournament is moving from its usual site at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte to Wilmington for one year only to give the Charlotte course time to prepare for hosting the 2017 PGA Championship.
When the club put out a call for applicants, Mazer earned a recommendation from an Eagle Point member who was familiar with her work at other clubhouses in the region.
Early in her career, Mazer landed a job designing the interiors of the clubhouse at Waterford in Leland.
“I was in charge of all of the furnishings, in and out, all of the selections, tile cabinets, everything,” she said.
Mazer also worked on clubhouses for the Palmetto Creek and Arbors neighborhoods.
Eagle Point hired her first to renovate the locker room at the club, an expansive space with large fireplaces, dining tables and bar.
Now Mazer has moved on to the “dormitories,” six upscale guest suites and a shared common area and dining space.
Her goal is to finish those rooms by October.
Like most exclusive clubs, Eagle Point takes its privacy seriously, so the details of her design choices will be left for members to enjoy, but Mazer would say that most of the materials she’s using for the project are made in North Carolina.
It’s a choice she’s passionate about.
“We are in a state that started the furnishing industry,” Mazer said. “We have people from all over the world in High Point for that reason.”
As with any client, Mazer started her discussions with the club officials by trying to understand their tastes and personality.
Mazer was a psychology minor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where she earned an education degree before getting her design credentials at Cape Fear Community College.
That ability to get inside people’s heads is at the heart of her business.
“People say they don’t know what they want, but when you really listen to them, they do know what they want,” she said. “They just don’t know how to facilitate it.”
Or how to verbalize it. When clients tells her they like things sleek and modern, she’ll reply, “Show me your idea of modern.”
Those visuals can help her understand if they want South Beach or Southport. “Sometimes it just takes digging a little deeper,” she said.
Next, Mazer pins images and samples to a presentation board. Well, three presentation boards, actually.
“I like to give people about three options,” she said. “More is too much. Fewer makes them feel trapped.”
Once clients start going through those distinct but coordinated designs, perhaps selecting one look from one board, one swatch from another, the final vision comes together.
Technology has become a key part of this process.
“It would be super hard to do the job without it,” she said.
Many of Mazer’s clients are out of town, having hired her to design a vacation home on Wrightsville Beach or a second home in Landfall.
So many meetings happen over phone and computer, with both her and her clients going through physical samples she’s mailed to them and digital presentations simultaneously.
Of course, sometimes all the technology Mazer needs is a good search engine.
She often has to play detective, trying to find a specific piece her clients are excited about.
When a client told her she wanted the same rug as Kris Jenner, all Mazer had to work with was a paused screenshot from a reality show.
Technology has even helped clients see the final product before it’s done.
Mazer and Tongue and Groove offer 3-D digital renderings from a local artist that are so lifelike it can be hard to distinguish them from actual photos of the finished product.
The renderings, and Mazer’s friendly presence, can help calm the fears of nervous clients worried they’ll regret their choices and be stuck with them for years.
Obviously, the expense of redoing something is a factor, Mazer said. But ultimately, “no decision that you make is forever.”
First-time clients, she said, can sometimes be nervous right from the start.
“They feel like I’m going to come in their home and tell them I don’t want to work with anything they have and that I’m going to control the entire situation,” she said.
But unlike TV, where designers swoop in, transform someone’s world and disappear, Mazer forms long-term bonds with her clients.
And with projects like Eagle Point added to her decade-long client list, it can be hard for her to find time to work on her house, a “fixer-upper” she and her husband bought in October.
Plus, when she’s constantly falling in love with the new pieces and designs she discovers every week, she can be as indecisive as some of her clients.
“It’s hard to make decisions when there are so many beautiful things out there,” she said. “And I see it all.”
Johanna Cano - Jul 16, 2018
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