For our style issue, we put together a panel of successful interior designers working in Central Florida, each with their own area of focus, and asked them to talk about what's going on in the world of interior design.
Inspired Home Renovation
With 25 years of experience in interior design, Sam Baker it's an independent, boutique firm specializing in renovations of luxury homes. She works throughout Central Florida and is based in Winter Park.
There’s a lot of focus on LEED-certified homes that are designed for wellness and embracing nature. Sustainable design is something a lot of people are looking for. Selecting materials that are sustainably manufactured toward not putting off toxic gases. Also, we use a lot of recycled materials. There's a lot of focus on smart technology and battery backups or battery power walls. I wouldn't call it a trend. It's more been a buildup to something that’s going to be around for a long time.
I'm seeing more natural colors coming in, more natural woods versus white. People want their homes to be relaxing and calm, kind of an oasis for themselves. That's where the “design” part comes in. For example, Cambria manufactures quartz used in countertops. Their factories, which are all in the U.S., recycle their water, and they use a lot of water to create countertop slabs. It's better for the environment and a lot of my clients are specifically looking for that.
Stones Design LLC
Stones Design was founded by Marilou Stones. She is an award-winning and international designer with 36 years of experience and is licensed in the State of Florida and a member of the American Society of Interior Designers. Marilou's main area of focus is working with new construction.
For a while now, people still prefer clean lines that have a simplicity to their look. Old world, ornate décor – "goopy," as I like to call it – very decorative architecture, furniture, and window treatments are not what people want. It's been cleaned up to be just straight lines, with gray and white still the colors of choice.
I tell my clients, though, just because the popular colors are gray and white doesn't mean that that's what you need to do. Not everybody starts with a clean slate. They have to work with whatever they have. And I tell my clients they have to be comfortable in the home or they won't be happy with the results.
After working as a realtor for several years, Shalea Madorin discovered that her true passion was in staging homes to be put on the market. In 2017, she started a business dedicated to home staging called Stage and Style Orlando. She joined DeVore Design in 2020.
As a real estate agent, I always found the negative feedback buyers had on properties very interesting. Usually, it involved easy fixes that they could have done before we got there. It always surprised me that a lot of people didn't know how to accentuate the features of the home itself. The buyer's eyes were going to things that were more personal in the home and not actually what the selling features are of the property. So I started having those tough conversations with sellers and found that I enjoyed it. Before long, other agents started asking me for help.
For example, big vacant houses feel cold and it's hard for buyers to connect with that. So you want to bring in textures and furniture that they can see themselves sitting in, watching TV. And sometimes there are weird floor plans that a buyer will walk in and say, “I have no idea. What do we do with this space?” Staging the home properly helps them see themselves in it.
"I'm seeing more natural colors coming in, more natural woods versus white. People want their homes to be relaxing and calm, kind of an oasis for themselves."