One thing you ought to know about professional interior designer Tom Bakker is this: he's very proud of where he comes from. Born and raised in the Netherlands, Bakker - who today owns internationally acclaimed Tom Bakker Design, LLC, which caters to the Greater Seattle, WA and Greater Vancouver, BC markets - may have left the Netherlands about three decades ago, but his heritage is still a very important part of who he is and what he does.
Having grown up above his parents' home furnishing store, Bakker went on to study interior design and furniture design in Rotterdam. When the budding designer felt he needed to "bust out" of his hometown, he packed his bags and moved to Vancouver, BC, as one of just a handful of students in his college program to complete an international apprenticeship.
Bakker returned to the Netherlands to complete his education, and, following that, worked in corporate, retail, high-end hospitality and yacht interior design. Gaining experience in all those areas, he says, was critical to his current status as an award-winning interior designer. "I see all those elements combined in my clients' homes. When a client wants a new bathroom, I want to give them that holiday experience, like in a five-star hotel. That's where hospitality design comes in." Yacht interior design, he adds, taught him "to work with a lack of space," while designing the interior of Saudi Arabia's Minister of Defense, HRH Prince Khalid, exposed him to high-end corporate design.
Back in the Pacific Northwest, now located in the Greater Seattle area, for over fifteen years, Bakker has been building his design firm and gaining international repute for quality and excellence among clients and industry peers on both sides of the border, and beyond. Among his many accolades: The Georgie Awards' top prize for "Best Kitchen Renovation over $ 100,000" as well as a finalist spot for "Best Outdoor Living Space." Bakker also received a prestigious Heritage Renovation Award for a whole-house remodel.
His secret to success is simple, and based on a principle that a client from New York once shared: "If you can't do it right, don't bother." Bakker, who feels that involving each client in the design process is paramount, says, "I like to defy the norm. Almost nothing I do is typical. That sets the bar really high end stretches my imagination to the limit every time. Top quality, creative and successful interior design is about my client's dream, not about mine. It starts with listening, so the journey we embark on is fun and can be enjoyed."
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