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Understanding the Home Design Process: An Interview with Dawn Elise Hamilton of DawnElise Interiors International

By Dawn Elise Hamilton

Tell us a little bit about your experience, company and the services you offer.

I have a degree in Art History and worked in several museums in New York before moving to Florida. Upon moving here, I went to the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale to study interior design and in 2006 I launched DawnElise Interiors Inc. We are a full-service design firm working on both commercial and residential projects. Most of our work is in South Florida but I have been fortunate enough to have had projects in Colombia, New York, Atlanta, Chicago and several other US cities.

What are some of the most common design features that homeowners request in the Florida area?

Comfort above all. The Florida lifestyle is very casual. People want to let their hair down here. Most Florida clients also want their homes to feel open and airy, light and cool in color.

What's the most important thing you do when you first meet with a homeowner about a new design project?

Listen. The key to a successful project is having a clear understanding of what the client's goals and expectations are.

What are the basic phases in the design process?

First is the initial meeting, preferably at the job site, and the exchange of information with the client. They tell us what they want and we assess the scope of work necessary to make it happen. Next, is programming/research and pulling together the design. Third is presentation and reselection where we review the design with the client and lastly, we implement the approved selections.

How do you help people balance what they want for their home with their budget?

I try my very best to help my clients avoid financial surprises. I try to lay out all foreseen costs for a project out before beginning any work so that we don't find ourselves in the middle of a situation that the client cannot or does not want to pay for.

What advice would you give to homeowners who don't want to have any regrets when their project is finished?

Go slowly and do it right. If your budget is tight, break projects into smaller pieces and go for the best quality you can afford. Small budget and FAST don't mix. Take your time.

What's the best way for people to get in contact with you and your company?

Please call me at (954) 609-7113 or email me at dawneinteriors@aol.com.

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