The family room is not only a comfortable space enjoyed on a daily basis, but it’s a great reflection of how people live and who they are. For that reason, it’s the most fun room to design for interior designer Doreen Avila, whose own room reflects “casual beachy”—natural fibers, breezy looks, with soft colors and textures.
“I enjoy helping someone reflect their own identity in spaces,” says the owner of Design Partners in Highwood.
For more than 20 years, Avila has helped form or rejuvenate personal spaces by drawing on her own creativity to draw out a client’s personality and express it in their homes. Having built an extensive library of vendors, products, and professional relationships, Avila recently moved and expanded her studio.
Now located at the corner of Highwood and Waukegan Avenues in Highwood, with the green awning, her space showcases her specialties. The first floor spotlights the diverse options for custom window treatments and offers vintage furniture all redone with Chalk Paint® for sale. Since its expansion, Design Partners collaborated with Hunter Douglas for its blinds and has hired Window Treatment specialist, Judy Ricci. Ricci and Avila’s personal service and window treatment expertise combines creative ideas with technology advances to deliver a range from simple blinds to elaborately designed motorized treatments. The possibilities are endless and they make designing for windows fun and affordable.
Springboarding the expansion was Chalk Paint®, a decorative paint line by Annie Sloan for painting and re-doing furniture. Avila’s personal design style blends existing pieces and new pieces, and Chalk Paint® allows her to redo vintage finds and give new life to quality furniture. The paint is designed to stick and adhere to just about anything, allowing users to simply clean and paint immediately. “I just re-did a vintage chair that was discarded, and now it’s going to be a showstopper,” she adds.
With more furniture originals and the extensive fabric and design resource library, the studio’s second floor is a creative space where dreams come true. Design Partners hosts three levels of classes for using Chalk Paint® as well as custom paint for clients.
One of Avila’s favorite design projects was redoing the floor plan of a living room. She upholstered all of the furniture to a new, updated color palette and made a newly painted piece of furniture the focal point of the room. She removed the old, heavy draperies and simplified it to a few textural sheers. “It gave the entire room a whole new look, and it was quick. The room just sings now.”
Whether you’re starting from scratch or simply looking for a change, Avila always asks clients to first look through magazines and Pinterest and start an “idea file.” Things that have caught people’s attention—for better or for worse—give designers like Avila a starting point. “Sometimes, people have a hard time verbalizing what they want, and images speak so quickly.” Clients can view Design Partners’ online portfolios on Facebook and Pinterest to get started.
Design Partners is located at 259 Waukegan Avenue in Highwood, 847-770-4922, dphomedesign.com.
– By Angelika Labno // Photography by Robin Subar