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Interview with a Design Consultant

February 28, 2014


Operations manager and design consultant Crystal Pinkston has been with American Tin Ceilings Company for over ten years. With countless stories and advice, we caught up with her to get the skinny on home renovations and remodels.

Where are you from?
I am from Palmetto, Florida. I was born and raised here, and I have never lived anywhere else. I had never seen snow for the first time until I was 21 years old — definitely a beach girl. I love anything that involves sun, sand, and salt water. Ceilings are often overlooked in home design, but with the right pattern and color your room can instantly transform into a modern, beautiful area.

How long have you been with the American Tin Ceilings Company?
I have been with American Tin Ceilings for almost 10 years. On a daily basis I oversee the day-to-day operations that include customer service, sales, production, shipping, and purchasing. We are a small company, only six people in the office, so we all wear many hats- taking orders, consulting with customers on color selections, installation, and general questions. This is a fast paced office and there is never a dull moment. We all work really well together.

What are some of the biggest mistakes homeowners make before beginning a home renovation?
The biggest mistake that someone planning a home remodel can do is forget the ceiling, of course! Years ago, the ceiling was left untouched, which is really a shame because there are tons of ways it can be showcased. In reality, I talk to customers everyday who are doing renovations. Some of the worst mistakes that I have had customer confess include: setting an unrealistic budget, trying to be cheap with materials (you get what you pay for), inaccurate measuring ( a few feet can make a difference when remodeling), and the biggest one of all, failure to plan for the chaos that comes with it. There are people who come to us who have literally had their kitchen or bathroom torn apart for weeks, and they are just frazzled and ready to get the renovations over with.

What are some of the best tips you have for a homeowner about to embark on a home renovation project?
I would recommend that anyone considering a home renovation should keep two things in mind. First, It’s going to take longer than you think, and it’s probably going to cost more than you think. Second, put great thought into the major things that you would like to have done, like replacing the ceiling, adding a small bathroom, finishing a basement, etc. What it the priority on your list? Also, find a reliable contractor. Never be afraid to ask for references!

Why do you think tin ceilings are so popular for home renovations and remodels?
Tin ceilings are so popular now because people are discovering them aga in. They are inexpensive, attractive, and will last a lifetime. They also cover ceiling flaws, which make them appealing to both homeowners and business owners alike. People remember tin ceilings from their childhoods, especially in places like New York and Chicago. They may see them again in a neighborhood restaurant or bar that sparks their imagination. They are found in many Victorian-style homes, which people seem to be restoring to the original beauty of their time. Some of the more unique installations have been on walls, in lofts, floating ceilings, staircases, and in restaurants. I love when customers find unique projects for tin like in inserts for cabinet doors and bookshelves.

What are some common questions you get when trying to help a customer plan a redesign using tin?
Some of the most common questions concern pattern selection, color, and price. Customers really look for our guidance. We are here to make the decision easy for them. It’s important that we make the customers see this as an approachable purchase. By offering design help, free room planning guides, and color samples, we really get to know our customers and their home. Many people research for months before making the purchase.

Are there certain patterns that look better in certain areas (like a ceilings vs. a backsplash)?
Smaller patterns make ceilings in small spaces appear larger. Warm colors evoke a more cozy feeling, while bright colors like silver and white tend to open a space up. For backsplashes, we recommend smaller patterns, as you will have to cut the panels to fit. Using a pattern that it too large will make the space appear smaller and pieced together. The 6” repeating patterns are visually forgiving when cut, and they will maximize the overall look of your kitchen space.

Any particular colors that are popular right now?
Hands down we sell more silver, copper and white than any other color. Since the Artisan Series was introduced it has definitely been a favorite. The unique look of each hand finished panel is too desirable for some customers to pass up. We also sell a ton of unfinished material. At a cost of only $6.00 per tile, unfinished tin makes an affordable option for just about anyone. It also allows customers the creativity to paint it and finish it as they please.

What style is your own home? Does it have tin?
I have two tin ceilings, a backsplash and a wainscoted wall in my home. My home is definitely more traditional in terms of design and I have many warm colors throughout. In my bedroom, I have pattern 8 in Antique White Satin (It’s the ceiling being installed in the Snaplock Video), in the master bathroom I have pattern 3 in Copper Tuscan Bronze, my backsplash is pattern 3 in a Burgundy Wine color, and the wainscoting is a Burgundy Wine color, with a Green Patina overlay that artisan painter Brian McQuillan made just for me. I have a wine and grapes theme going on in the kitchen and breakfast nook, and it is a perfect fit!

Is there anything else you would like to add as a design expert?
I would just advise people to make the space their own! Go with the colors and styles that appeal to them, but if they need some direction we’re here to help!

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