Finding a niche in the field of interior design can be daunting. Since interior designers are fast becoming a household name, finding a specialization and your own market is paramount to success. With Sophia Ojeda-Llige, this came early.

From the time she graduated with a degree in interior design from Assumption College, she knew that her strength was in interiors that convey style coupled with sensibility. Realizing that her degree in interior design was not enough to make it in the business, she took further studies and finished the basic course in interior design from the Philippine School of Interior Design (PSID). Sophia understands that in such a dynamic field, continuing education and striving to better yourself for the craft are musts.

Sophia also recognized that training is going to be part of that formula. From 1997-2000, she worked for Recio and Casas Architects. In that span of time, she honed her skills as an interior designer. That experience gave her the necessary confidence to venture out into her own and establish Sophisticated Interiors. With the establishment of her own firm, Sophia realized her dream in having a venue for her creative juices to flow. She specializes in residential design and admits that there is no greater fulfillment than having clients appreciate your work and love having to come home to your design. Sophia added another feather to her cap when she went to New York for further studies. She believes that one should never stop learning. With design, there are a lot of avenues that a professional can pursue and eventually add to her belt. She finished Kitchen and Bath Design, Arts and Antiques Appraisal and Lighting Design form the New York School of Interior Design and describes her experience there as well worth the time and money invested. Now, as part of the academe, being a professor at PSID, her knowledge, experience and desire to give back allows students to learn and benefit from being in her class. She describes herself as a strict teacher but with a sense of purpose. Her students in Restaurant Design attest to that fact when she takes extra time to go through their plates and criticize constructively. “They feel bad at first, but they appreciate the comments in the long run”, she comments with a smile.

Sophia enjoys teaching and claims that teaching presents a welcome break from projects and clients but she confesses to another love. Sophia also dabbles in writing and media. She is a regular segment contributor for Momworks seen on the Lifestyle Network since 2009. She has also contributed articles to myHome, Bluprint and other interior design magazines as well as lifestyle sections of broadsheets such as Philippine Daily Inquirer, The Philippine Star and Manila Bulletin. She believes that media is an all-too important tool for design to reach people from all walks of life. It also serves an inspirational and aspirational function in the lives of people.

Today, Sophia enjoys a balance between her careers: designing, writing and teaching and a very fulfilled family life with her husband, Jigs and son, Mio. Sophisticated Interiors is doing very well as an interior design firm that believes in a dedication to high standards of design and the utmost commitment to customer service. She oversees all of her projects with a passion that lies in creating an environment that is as warm and beautiful as they are comfortable and functional. Since most of her projects are residential, she builds a long lasting relationship with her clients that leads to more projects and referrals. Almost of all of her projects include repeat clients. By ignoring the “designer signature look”, Sophia says that she hopes to create a setting that reflects each client’s taste and their definition of personal style.

Sophia also recognizes that the success of an interior designer is not achieved alone. She shares, “Design is a collaborative experience between the designer, client and our dependable suppliers and vendors to create the final product. We cannot live without our support group in the design industry, such as our contractors, furniture makers and other people in the industry. They are the backbone of our work.”

Written by Jie Pambid

Photos Courtesy of Sophia Ojeda-Llige

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