Interior designer Reem Sami, started her design studio, Tasmeem, in 2004. With almost two decades of experience under her belt, her studio has made its mark in the wide range of design services it offers, which incude interior, exterior and landscape design, as well as in construction services. eniGma’s Ezz Al-Turkey sat down with Sami to find out more about her journey with Tasmeem and her plans for the future.
How did you start in interior design?
I’ve loved designing since I was young. It started when I would rearrange the furniture around the house and have arguments with my mother about it. After I graduated from the faculty of engineering at Cairo University, I began implementing changes to our small apartment at the North Coast, and by expanding the rooms and changing the design to use the space more effectively. Then I did some of our neighbours’ houses, and this was my start. After that, my husband was doing his PhD in Spain so we moved there for almost two years, then we moved to Scotland for another year. These travels really helped me grow as a designer. When I got back to Cairo, I opened my first studio called Fine Line with a partner. After Fine Line grew a bit, I wanted something on a larger scale so I opened my own studio. I started Tasmeem in 2004, and my first project was at City View, and as they say, the rest is history.
How did you balance work and being a mother of four?
My mother was always very big on women working and having careers, so she helped me out a lot when the kids were young. I was also very lucky that my kids were always very independent. Even when they were children, they knew how to look after themselves. They were also super happy to see their mother following her dream and doing what she loves. There is this mutual support in our family; we help each other, and support each other on any journey that we decide to embark on.
How would you describe your personal style?
I think the world is shifting more towards modern, yet I really love contemporary design. I also subtly merge classic within these two styles. I think simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. The thing is, we all have very different styles and when it comes to being a designer, my personal style doesn’t matter as much as the clients’. I do really like to blend, though, without making it too obvious.
Tasmeem specialises in a lot of different fields like construction, landscape, interior and exterior design. How do you manage to deliver the highest quality in all of these fields?
Personally, I’m more into design, both interior and exterior. That’s my main part. We have different departments and people handling different sections. They’re also very professional and great at what they do. They’re also very experienced, as I’ve been working with some of them as early as 2004. They’re really like family to me and we all depend on each other. I think we maintain such a great balance in all departments because we believe in development and we constantly learn and grow together. My team knows well how we work. They have studied our techniques so well during the years and we really cooperate well. That’s very necessary, since we do sometimes build homes from scratch.
What do you personally enjoy working on more, interior or exterior design?
I really love both, but recently I’ve loved exterior design more, just because it has become a challenge and is very rare now. Most compounds now come with an already-done exterior that can’t be changed, so we can’t play around with the outside anymore. It’s also a lot more challenging, which I adore!
Does Tasmeem focus more on residential projects than commercial?
I wouldn’t say we purposefully focus more on residential; it’s just that we get more residential projects. We did do some commercial projects like shops and office spaces, but what I really love doing is houses. I love tailoring homes to fit needs and to give each house design its own distinct personality. Personally, I love working on houses more because they’re really fun to design. And one thing that I want to point out is that clients don’t have to spend a lot of money for a good home. It doesn’t work that way. We handpick our clients, yes, but it’s never about financials. We can deliver a gorgeous design, without needing a huge budget.
What are your plans for Tasmeem in 2021, as well as for the long-term?
We really want to start having showrooms for some pieces of furniture that we manufacture and design ourselves. We already create custom pieces, but we want to start actually presenting them for sale without designing an entire house. For the long-term, we want to start a sister company specifically for maintenance. We want Tasmeem to keep growing and doing bigger things. By bigger things, I mean more beautiful, better and different projects. That’s really how I define success. Quality is very important to us and we hope to keep this quality on a consistent uphill journey.