The Mind of a Designer, Part I

What is it about interior designers that enable them to work wonders on the environments where we live? How can they choose colors and pair patterns that we amateurs would never imagine on our own? For this two-part post, we asked several designers who have just won top awards in their craft this fall about what motivates them to do such great work.

Our first two interviews are with Bethesda designer Kelley Proxmire of Kelley Interior Design and DC designer Trisha Huntley of Huntley & Co. Interior Design. They got the top nods at Home & Design magazine’s 2016 Designer’s Choice awards.

Kelley Proxmire
Kelley Interior Design
Hall of Fame Designer designation 

Kelley Proxmire
Kelley Proxmire

How long have you been in business? WHY are you in this business?
25+ years in business. My passion for design and my aspiration to beautify are why I’m in business.

Why do you think people choose to work with you? What do they tell you?
My experience, style, sense of color, and ability to unify a scheme are among the reasons homeowners contact me to design their homes. My clients like that I make each room pretty, yet practical.

What’s your “sweet spot” — the perfect project or client for your style?
My preferred client is one who puts trust in me to design spaces he or she will love. A client’s trust is essential to being able to work well together and for my designs to come together in the best way possible. Clear communication is important, as is the client’s openness to my suggestions. A client’s budget matters, but not as much as the ability to agree on taste, style and overall design aesthetic.

As a designer, where do your skills overlap with those of an architect or a remodeling designer who specializes in kitchen or bath design?
I believe interior designers and architects/remodelers can be complementary to one another. I’m often asked to source, select and/or narrow down options for flooring, countertops, cabinets, and furniture for kitchens. On the other hand, I also rely on architects’/remodelers’ experience and knowledge of up-to-date appliances and fixtures, as well as codes and technical drawings.

Kelley designed this living room in a client’s guest house to be multi-functional, where the dining table folds down and the sofas pull out into beds: 

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Tricia Huntley
Huntley & Co. Interior Design
Up & Coming Designer award

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Tricia Huntley

How long have you been in business? WHY are you in this business?
I founded Huntley & Co. in 2006. We celebrated our 10th anniversary in January! I’ve worked as a designer for 19 years total.

I was born to be an interior designer. There are other things I could do, but nothing that requires all my talents like design does. I am highly creative and craft a strong concept with every project, but I am also disciplined and organized. An inspired and beautiful project requires the right side of the brain, but executing it successfully requires the left side.

 

Why do you think people choose to work with you. What do they tell you?
What draws clients to Huntley & Co. is our striking and inviting style. Each project has its own signature, but the underlying theme is one of thoughtful, relaxed glamour.

Clients love that I tap into the most compelling parts of their personalities and am able to translate that into an interior. I truly am inspired by my clients and love crafting homes that reflect their best selves.

What’s your “sweet spot” — the perfect project or client for your style?
I love confident, busy professionals with an independent spirit; they’re great clients. My best projects have been those with “patrons.” Individuals who love our style and trust me to craft a comprehensive, one-of-a-kind design package — everything from millwork to hardware to custom lighting and furnishings. This type of collaboration allows me to flex my design muscles and give my clients the most inspired and fully fleshed out results.

As a designer, where do your skills overlap with those of an architect or a remodeling designer who specializes in kitchen or bath design?
Dividing the design workload in kitchens and bathrooms is fairly easy for my office. I like to meet and collaborate with the other members of the team so we are on the same page from the start. We will work with the architect’s drawings and generate detailed specifications and additional drawings from which they will purchase and execute. We sometimes buy materials, but we always leave appliances, plumbing and cabinet interiors to the contractor and/or specialty sub. Working with other pros at the top of their game is one of the true pleasures of this business!

Tricia puts her skills to work in this Bethesda home, where she selected lighting fixtures everywhere that can easily double as sculpture:

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