Anything but ‘small town’ would be the perfect way to describe a well-rounded design enthusiast such as Driekie Thomas
Driekie Thomas sees herself as a story teller. Her clients hire her to write their biography, which she does by using fabrics, furniture, architectural elements and personal items. “The key to a great design is capturing the spirit of the client and the essence of the space,” Driekie says.
Driekie was brought up in a family that always had an eye for style and design. So naturally she was exposed to many design elements throughout her childhood. Her mother used to work for Vlaamse Linne in Bloemfontein and she so ever clearly remembers as a little five-year-old how she used to go with her mother to see various customers. During her university days, she started working part time for her mother’s boss, Willie Grové, at Vlaamse Linne in Bloemfontein. “I sold curtains from house to house for some pocket money. That soon became a good income.” At this stage Driekie did not realise that she was developing her passion in the design industry. Later on, her mother decided to buy Vlaamse Linne and started her own workshop and showroom in Riebeeckstad, which had great success.
After her studies, Driekie decided to join the family business in the administrative section. “When I started to assist customers with quotations and installation of curtains, the light bulb went on!” This was when she realised that she would want to become more than just installing curtains for clients. She then went on to complete various design courses to improve her skills and knowledge of the industry.
After five years she decided to apply for accreditation at SAGID, which is now called the IID, the platform for professional interior designers and architects.
Driekie finds her inspiration through meeting various people.
It took her another five years to accumulate enough big projects from the planning phase up until installation before she had enough projects to submit. Driekie received her full accreditation as a professional interior designer in 2005. “This is when I realised if I would like to further my career, I will need to set up my own showroom and also start to import,” she explains. In 2007 Driekie did just that by starting her own interior company called House of Interiors in Welkom. In 2011 she made a bold move to Bloemfontein with her family and opening her doors in a new town. She is proud to say that House of Interiors now supplies everything under the décor sun.
Driekie finds her inspiration through meeting various people. “It gives me such a great sense of accomplishment when I meet a customer and I can feel and see they are starting to realise they can also have a beautiful home.” She always makes sure that she is on top of her game by travelling the world to find some of the best quality interior décor in order to keep her clients happy and amazed by what she offers.
She is much excited about the future of House of Interiors as one of her sons will be joining her team soon.
“I consider myself extremely lucky that I get to do a lot of large projects for international and other customers in the bigger cities. This challenges my way of thinking,” she shares. Some of her greatest finds come from antique shops as well.
When it comes to freedom regarding interior, Driekie advises, ”Stay true to yourself and don’t get influenced by a pretty picture.” She is much excited about the future of House of Interiors as one of her sons will be joining her team soon. And as she has said in the beginning, design runs in their blood and her son has proven that once more.
Looking back at her life, she would surely hope that she could teach her boys, who are now grown men, to have a good work ethic and to show perseverance. No matter what life throws at them, I tell them to get up, dust themselves off and move forward. “Always remember to put family first and never rely on your own strength. I can boldly say, whatever I’ve built up until today, has been by the Grace of God.”