THE PROCESS OF DESIGN

BY DOUGLAS KING

After consistently being voted one of the best interior designers in Dallas, it is no wonder Debra Stewart was also elected to be the chair of ASID’s Dallas chapter, for the second time. An award-winning interior designer who begins every project with architectural concepts and details, Stewart’s success is rooted in her education, experience and the highest quality design, resulting in complete client satisfaction.

As proud publisher of the ASID Design Ovation and Industry Partner Awards, we wanted to get to know Stewart and her vision for ASID.

What do you wish the general public understood about interior designers?

The process of designing a space has many levels of complexity. It doesn’t magically happen as some in the media would lead one to believe. Interior designers interpret clients’ dreams and visions while they are designing the concepts. Then the process of making that vision a reality has many details and a vast level of commitment from the designers. We wear many hats, which requires a broad base of experience and education. This profession is not for the faint of heart.

What is the number one misconception people have when working with interior designers?

Many do not understand the value of having an interior designer on their team from the onset of their project, which can save money and time in the long run. Projects that begin without an interior designer on board often do not have a true understanding of the budget required to finish out a project. Many details are often overlooked as well, such as proper space planning for furnishings or specifying electrical and lighting systems for special needs in a space. There is a long list of why every project should include an interior designer at the beginning of a project. While there are many important professionals needed for a project, having an interior designer helps complete a team.

Please explain the benefits of working with an ASIDaffiliated designer compared to non-affiliated.

Members of ASID have a lengthy background of education and continued training to support the work and spaces we create. Our education and experience help us avoid the pitfalls that someone without proper training might fall into. We must complete annual continuing education that deals specifically with the health, safety and welfare aspects of designing projects. Additionally, our Industry Partners help us stay current with new products and stay ahead of trends.

How does a designer benefit from being part of ASID?

The national presence of ASID provides members the opportunity to work with a vast group of vendors, craftsman and artists through our Industry Partner Program. We also provide resources to assist in running a business, continued education, support and networking opportunities for our members. The support and sharing of information among our peers in ASID is unapparelled.

How does one get involved with ASID?

The first place to start the process is on our website: asid .org. Education and experience requirements are described to assist in finding the right level of membership for individuals. The application will be directed to the correct design community.

If vendors or showrooms want to become a member of ASID, there is a place on the website for Industry Partners.


How does a client make sure they are working with an ASID designer?

Be sure to ask about the designer’s credentials, education, years of practice, etc. Specifically ask if they are an ASID member. The ASID website has a link to find designers throughout the country and many have portfolios on the site. If they have already decided on a designer but want to confirm their membership, that is possible on the site as well.

As chair of ASID’s Dallas chapter, what initiatives will you be preparing for this coming year?

We are working on ways to engage and support young interior designers within the ASID Dallas design community as our priority for this year. We recognize they will become the future leaders of ASID. We are in the process of organizing specific groups for the Dallas community where the young designers would meet on a regular basis with an experienced professional member hosting an event. This provides a place for them to meet other young designers, create a lasting network and support group, as well as the opportunity to have a one-on-one with a professional member. Many of our veteran professionals in Dallas have participated in similar groups for years. The experience, knowledge and friendships are invaluable in making sure our design community stays strong in the future.

You are an award-winning designer as well as chair of ASID, what type of projects do you focus on?

My career has evolved to working with a variety of project types. I work on residential projects, new construction, renovation, and providing new furnishings and staging. Additionally, I have worked on multifamily, commercial and hospitality projects throughout my career. I enjoy a mix of projects, as I believe the knowledge and products that can cross over make each project unique.

What is your favorite type of project to design?

My favorite projects are the ones that I begin as an initial part of the team. Working from the vision to the completion is exciting. Those projects are the most successful and rewarding, regardless of the type—residential, multifamily, commercial or hospitality.