ELAINE Cooper, an interior specialist, sees a rising demand for interior designing services in Cebu, backed by the construction industry’s robust growth.

On Thursday, Cooper opened a gallery, Elaine Cooper Interiors and Gallery, on the 12th floor of Link Building in Cebu IT Park where she collaborated with eight furniture exporters to deliver high-quality furniture pieces to residential and commercial establishments and clients.

“If you look at it, it’s the construction boom (that is driving demand for interior design). There are now a lot of developments, hotels, resorts, and condominiums,” Cooper said.

The 47-year-old interior specialist has worked in interior decorating for 10 years. Prior to that, she worked in the fashion industry for nine years, before she ventured into the making of hotel curtains and uniforms.

To succeed in the interior decorating profession, Cooper said, it is vital to have a wide network and provide top-quality services to clients.

Despite a weakening export sector, furniture exporters are benefitting from the robust construction industry locally.

For her part, while some prefer China-manufactured furniture because of affordability, Cooper hopes that through her gallery, locally-made furniture will become the preferred pieces.

“I am so hopeful that I will be able to help because there are a lot of new players who have this thinking that China is better because it’s cheap,” she said.

“It may be true, but it does not guarantee you the quality. What happens when it breaks? Where do they run?” she said.

Over the next five years, Cooper hopes to have her own line of furniture pieces through the help of her daughter, who is scheduled to graduate soon with a degree in interior design from the University of San Carlos.