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Choosing the Right Designer For Your Dream Home: Featuring Dawn Hearn Interior Design

By Kristen Bosse

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

As a little girl, I always knew that I wanted to work in interior design. After high school, I enrolled in the interior design program at Abilene Christian University. ACU was a great experience and provided me with formal design training to serve my clients in a professional and ethical manner. I've been an interior designer for over twenty years now and I still love what I do. I started Dawn Hearn Interior Design in 2005.

In your opinion, what are three qualities that every interior designer should possess?

An interior designer should be a good listener. If you don't listen to the clients' wants and needs, you have no way of helping them achieve a truly personal vision for their projects.

Have an eye for design. A designer should be skilled with the elements and principles of design, such as balance, proportion, texture, color, line, and shape to create well-designed spaces.

Be an ethical and well-run business. Designers have enhanced access to a client's home or business that many other professionals do not have. We also run expensive merchandise through our companies and are relied upon to manage projects. For these reasons, an interior design firm must be an ethical and well-run business.

If you could describe your ideal client/interior designer relationship, what would it be and why?

The ideal relationship starts in the planning phases and is based on open lines of communication, rapport, and trust between the designer and the client. Efficiency and savings are gained on the backend by allowing enough time for a thorough planning before the project starts rolling. The entire process should be a creative and fun experience for both parties. I especially enjoy working with clients that are open to suggestions and trying something new.

As an interior designer, how do you make sure you're understanding of what your client wants?

Again, I'm going to emphasize listening and communication. I like to ask a lot of questions from the very beginning. What is your budget? What is a desired timeline? What don't you like about the spaces we are working on? What do you want, or need, to do in the space? How do you want to feel in the space?

I ask clients to show me magazine pictures or create a Pinterest or Houzz board that we can share ideas on. With these photos, I can usually get a good feel for what is appealing to them even if the client can't quite put their vision into words.

What are at least three questions every homeowner should ask their interior designer before hiring them?

Do you have time to take on a project like mine?
You want a designer that stays busy. This is a good sign that he or she is a professional with a steady stream of business. However, there should be adequate time in the designer's schedule to address the needs of your project.

What is your education and background in interior design?
I think it is important for a client to know if their designer/decorator has any formal education. Are they members of any professional organizations? Do they take part in any continuing education? What is their history in the field? Have they worked on projects like yours in the past?

How do you charge for your time and merchandise?
This is the big question! Designers work in many different ways and you need to find one that works in a way that you are comfortable with. Some work on an hourly consultation basis. Others might offer a fixed rate, or a per square foot price, for their design fees. When it comes to merchandise it can get a little complicated. Some designers offer DIY packages where they offer you a complete design and specifications and the client can then purchase everything and implement it in stages that fit their budget and schedule. Others might sell merchandise to you at a cost plus rate. Some designers might pass on their discount to you, split it with you, or retain it to cover their overhead to run this merchandise through their company and manage it through to delivery.

Are there any legalities that homeowners should be aware of before working with an interior designer?

Homeowners should understand how their designer charges for services and merchandise and should thoroughly read any contracts.

What is your philosophy behind creating dynamic, yet balanced spaces for your clients?

One way to create a balanced space with dynamic interest is to invest in some classic pieces that will stand the test of time (such as cabinets, counters, sofas, dining furniture, and so forth) and then have fun with accents like rugs, paint, and fabrics. There are wonderful areas throughout a home that naturally call out for something special (think of the amazing possibilities that exist for a front door, fireplace area, master bed, or child's bedroom).

How important is it to find a company that stays with you from design to completion of the project?

One of the hallmarks of a good designer is to keep every single selection and detail for your home in mind throughout the project. The best results are obtained when designers and clients work together from initial brainstorming to the last accessory being placed.

What are some minor building renovations that can really improve the appearance of my home?

Painting is the easiest and least expensive home improvement you can do. New colors can really transform a space.

If you don't have trim, or have minimal trim, adding taller baseboards or introducing crown moulding can really make a difference in a home.

Light fixtures
There are some truly amazing new light fixtures available. They are the jewelry of a space and can change a room from ordinary or extraordinary.

What is the best way for people to get in contact with you or your company?

Web: www.dawnhearn.com
We have a client contact form that you can send our way any time from the website.

Phone: 512-930-0250

Email: dawn@dawnhearn.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dawn-Hearn-Interior-Design/147595495308805?ref=br_tf

Houzz: http://www.houzz.com/pro/dawnhearn/dawn-hearn-interior-design

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DawnHearn

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Kristen has written impressive content including press releases and feature stories...

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