Designer Series: The Energy and Passion of Interior Design with John-Williams’ Terry Davey
Terry Davey is passionate about a lot of things, but perhaps nothing tops her enthusiasm for her designs, clients, and employer. She joined the team of expert interior designers at John-William Interiors over two years ago and has enjoyed putting her heart into her work every day. We sat down with Terry to talk about her career and the love she puts into on every design project and client.
- How long have you been an interior design professional? My father was an architect so I feel like I’ve grown up Frank Lloyd Wright around my dinner table. I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with an interior design degree and have over 30 years of professional experience. I’m registered with the Texas Board of Architectural Designers and a member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). Most people don’t realize that registered interior design professionals are required to undergo continuing education. It’s serious business.
- What, if any, would you consider your specialty? I consider myself a well-rounded designer who specializes in luxury residential interior design. That’s my sweet spot. I learned to bridge theory with practical application, so my designs are accessible and comfortable for my clients to enjoy living in.
- What is your design philosophy? I understand what makes good design work and I apply those concepts to every client and their home. My design philosophy is based on heart-centered design practices. I developed to create supportive environments that are beautiful, functional and a great place to come home to. I tell my clients that the look and feel of their homes should ‘speak their language,’ that it should be their safe haven and sanctuary, and a relaxing place to recharge their batteries. I listen to what my clients want and ask them what they need. By starting with a mindset around how my clients’ want their home to feel and how they want their space to look, I can transform the way they live in their home.
- What’s your favorite thing about being a designer? I wake up every day energized knowing that I’m going to make a difference in my clients’ lives. I feel like Sandra Bullock in the movie ‘The Blind Side,’ in which she starred as a very lively interior designer. I wake up feeling ready to go. But even more important than being passionate about what I do is knowing that I’m going to make a difference in peoples’ lives. There’s so much satisfaction in designing spaces to hang out, entertain and sleep in.
- How do you work with your clients to ensure a positive design experience? My clients invite me into their personal space, which is an intimate experience. Building trust is extremely important. In order to achieve the results both my clients and I want, our personalities, belief systems and approaches to working together need to both mesh and complement each other. I design my projects so I can provide my clients with the best finished results. We’re a good fit if they’re open to creative and sometimes unexpected solutions, participate in the design process, and willing have a professional make the best decision.
- What are your favorite types of projects? I like to start at front door. The foyer should say ‘welcome home.’ The colors, the type of furniture, and the layout are extremely important. I then move to the public spaces, such as the kitchen, great rooms, and entertainment spaces. Then I look at the private spaces, like the master bedroom and library. There are considerations for each room but one of the most important considerations is designing a color palette that flows from ones space to the next, seamlessly weaving the pieces, fabrics, and colors from one area to another. It’s important to create these transitions, paying particular attention to how new pieces work with existing furniture, and how fabrics and colors factor in. It’s all so much fun. I have several clients who have moved from large estate homes to luxury high rise apartments in downtown Austin. More than a few who have sold their estate homes include their furniture with the sale, then work with me to furnish their new space. It’s important because they’re starting over and they rely on me for my expertise, which includes knowing my clients’ tastes, personalities, and where they are in their lives. We’re seeing a lot open spaces these days – so people are investing in things like swivel chairs and other pieces that allow them to converse with everyone and interact with the entire space they’re in. That’s what’s happening and it’s exciting.
- What questions do you ask your clients when you begin a project? Sometimes I ask them what they don’t I also ask them how they want their home to function and make them feel – do you want to feel happy in your home? Or relaxed, elegant, whimsical, romantic, exotic, bold and confident?
- Any thoughts on collaboration as part of the design process? First, Austin attracts clients from all over the world, which makes work interesting. And I love teaming up with another designer. One of my clients moved back to Austin after living for many years in Singapore. A colleague and I worked together to blend new furniture with their extensive collection of pieces from overseas, essentially taking two cultures and making them work together. I also work a lot with artists and have learned to combine original oil paintings into unique spaces. The best projects, however, are those that end up not only being stunning, but result in new friendships. I’ve become so close to some of my clients that they would not buy a table cloth without asking me for my professional opinion. I enjoy that.
- What are the top three traits to being a successful interior designer? You’ve often heard the phrase used in real estate, “Location, location, location.” For interior designers I believe it’s “Listen, learn, and lead.” First, I listen to my clients’ wants and needs. Second, I learn, which means that I work hard at staying on top of what’s happening in the furniture market, trends in the industry, colors, and design. Every day is the chance to learn more. In fact, when I’m not working directly with my clients I’m doing a lot of research because my clients count on me to keep up with what’s going on in the interior design industry. Lastly, I lead my clients toward styles that suit them – not just now but for years to come. They rely on me to look at any and all design decisions with a critical eye.
- What sets John-William Interiors apart? While we sell high-quality fine furnishings – including lighting, drapery treatments and wall coverings to area rugs and accessories – we’re a full-service interior design firm that’s been around for 34 years. Our longevity and level of service have generated a lot of repeat clients. Plus, our products, which range from traditional to modern, continually evolve. That means we always have something unique to offer our clients.