Paula Kotan

Head of Design and Owner at Effekt Design

Paula studied TDS Higher Diploma in Interior Design 2019-2020. Paula is a creative who strongly believes in the power of beautiful surroundings to transform daily life.

“I was very active of getting my first projects in Dubai, I set up my company Effekt Design during my studies and just before getting my Diploma I landed with my first project which was a landscape and a pooldesign project. I felt so excited but scared at first but being so interested in landscape design, I decided to take the challenge. Succeeding in this project has brought me a project after project afterwards and I am so grateful of having the best clients all the way.

“I strongly value customer-centric design, and I always try to focus on truly understanding client needs and requirements”

What do you love about being a landscape and interior designer?

It is amazing to see how the space transforms. It is almost magical.
It is always touching moment when client is so happy with your work, it feels that you truly made a difference in their life. You know that they will live their life and important moments in the space that you have designed, it is an important task to fulfill.

Why did you like learning interior design with TDS?

I loved the hands on approach. During my Diploma I did so many “final projects”, that in the end I truly felt I was “ready” and confident to start designing for the real clients.

Tell us a little about your featured projects:

I wanted to feature two outdoor projects as they are both my favorites.

The first project is a simpler balcony makeover which has an amazing sunset view. The client wanted to create cosy space to watch sunsets and relax.We mixed old and new materials in this project. It just feels so right. Also smaller outdoor spaces can become as a piece of heaven when designed right.also so different.

The second featured project is a full pool and landscaping makeover. Old swimming pool was removed and a new modern pool and landscaping was designed. This was a particularly challenging project due to the shape of the plot, which was very irregular and client wanted to have create sleek lines and symmetry. The outcome was a success and client was very pleased with the design.

What advice would you give to current students?

If you are looking to work for yourself, it is very important to study and polish your design skills, but it is as important to understand how to get a client, how to handle the project and how to run your business overall. Also there is no shortcuts, just be brave with your first projects and never give up, you will get there.

What is your signature style?

I like to use neutral color tones, marble look, natural materials and symmetrical lines. My own design style is good mix of Nordics and Mediterranean vibes, I want the designed spaces to feel fresh, luxurious but still cosy.

What does a typical day look like ?

Typical working day starts at 9 after I have dropped my daughter to the nursery. In the mornings I usually go around my project sites to see how the work is going or I meet the new clients to discuss their briefs. Evenings I usually design and draw my projects. Browsing materials, creating contracts and admin tasks are also big part of the day when you are running your own business.

Fast four

I can’t live without… My daughter and my husband. They keep me on the track and pull me back to reality when I am diving too deep in my design world. I love my work but family is and will always be most important.

I’m passionate about…My own home. Nothing is more relaxing than gardening and styling my own home and garden.
Words to live by…Never stop trying! I am a very action oriented person and I believe I can do anything, just never give up on your dreams, keep going.
I’m listening to…Latin Music, keeps my mood up and high, puts a smile on my face and gives that extra groove on the gardening.