Q&A with DuVäl Reynolds
Casaza: How did you get your start?
DuVäl Reynolds: My start in design began at California Closets. I started my twelve-year career as their Receptionist, ending my time there as the Design & Sales Manager, covering the entire DC Metro region. During that time, I went back to school to get my Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design. And while taking classes, I started working on small projects here-and-there, learning the ins-and-outs of full interior design, rather than just casework. Honestly, like most, I fell into this, not realizing I would eventually create a career and business in this industry.
C: How would you describe your style?
DR: My style is ever-evolving. Because I am still newer in this particular industry, there are so many expressions of design that I’m still learning about, like new techniques, material applications, and product capabilities that influence how I create a space. Because of these changing elements, I have not landed in one category that I feel best represents my current state of design. However, I do believe each of my projects offer only one point of view, with a clear directional focus, that I’m confident represents each client individually.
C: Where do you get new ideas and inspiration?
DR: My ideas and inspiration comes from any imagery that fits the brand of my client--whether it relates to interiors, fashion, travel, etc. I’m inspired by distinct textures on a single product yet also how they work with others. I’m inspired by the moods--in paintings, in artwork, in the work of other amazing designers. I’m inspired by the client’s requests, obviously, but also by their intentions. Inspiration comes from each element but also how that particular element will enhance the concept of the space.
C: Favorite room in the house?
DR: I do not currently have a favorite room in the house but if I had to pick, it may be the basement. This is generally the time we can be most creative and think outside of the box. Additionally, it can often be the space that the client will use most frequently, demanding multi-functional purposes that we have to plan for. I also think I like the idea of creating a room that an entire family can enjoy, rather than just a space for one or two of the members.
C: Design rule you don't subscribe to?
DR: That you must love everything you buy. I’m not sure if that’s a ‘rule’, per se, but this is definitely not my approach. I tend to tell clients, before we start our design processes, that we will probably make selections for them that they just do not “love”. However, my job is to create a concept where all of the pieces fit together, not just throwing furniture into a room. I also think this is a hang-up for many clients--there is a tendency to buy furniture and art that they love, without considering a conceptual thread that ties everything together. If you’re reading this and that’s what you do…stahp it!
C: Recent project that inspired you?
DR: Earlier this year we completed a home for a recent divorcee. His intention in hiring us was to create a space for his kids to want to come visit, and bring over their friends. Shortly after installation, he sent us a note stating, it’s now the house where their friends want to hang out. He even mentioned how his upstairs landing, another space we completed, is being used much more often than he anticipated. He originally thought it was a waste of time to add furniture in this location but it’s now a space he uses multiple times a day. This job was inspiring because it really reminded me of the impact great design can have on anyone!
C: Favorite texture/pattern/color?
DR: I am always partial to a subtle linen texture and velvet. Linen always suggests the sense of understated class, while velvet introduces the message of luxury. Oh wait, I looovvee a good chenille. Scratch the other answers, let’s go with chenille!
C: What is “good design” to you?
DR: Good design is when a space feels inviting, tells a story, and is executed to completion--not perfection. I am most partial to rooms that calculate every inch of space, leaving no corner, material, or opening, untouched. I love rooms that feel ‘finished’. While I love classic and timeless spaces, I am fully aware that people evolve over time, so I love seeing rooms that capture their next phases in life, even if it’s following a trend. I’m not a fan of one-dimensional rooms--tell a story, create moments, show some personality!
C: Pack your bag! You're moving into a famous home. Whose is it?
DR: Oh man…I haven’t thought about this before. Hm…I think I would probably pass on a celebrity home and just move into a hotel. Based on design alone, I think my personal style would be more fitting to--and don’t kill me for saying this--the Trump World Tower modern penthouse. No, I am not a Trump supporter, so let’s be clear…but I AM a supporter of the interior designer, Mark Cunningham’s work. Oh hold up…let’s not rule out Drake’s new house!!
C: What’s your rule when entertaining?
DR: Have a plan and offer a verbal itinerary for every guest. Give directions for where to park and where the bathrooms are. Introduce people to the food/drinks area, explain the intent of the gathering, and definitely introduce guests who do not know one another. The worst thing to do is to leave guests to fend for themselves. Give clear instructions and offer them some sense of control rather than expecting them to figure it out. Everyone feels more comfortable when they feel like they’re participating, rather than from watching from the sidelines.
C: Best advice for DIYers?
DR: “Did you know someone else made that already…and you can just buy it online?!”…haha, I’m kidding--but only a little. I’m not a DIYer, so I’m probably the worst person to ask. Honestly, I think I would just say, “look it up”. haha!
C: Best advice for those hiring a pro?
DR: I actually did two videos about this, on my YouTube channel. My best advice is to meet the pro, ask for references to past jobs, and review their work. And when considering working with someone, also pay attention to their communication style--are they clear about instructions, are they fully answering your questions when in conversation, etc. Yes, skillset matters, but communication will be key! Also, work with someone who has a similar temperament. For what we do, you’re often in relationships for months at a time. You will want to work with someone you like and can work calmly through the inevitable hiccups you will encounter on projects.
C: What is one design trend you are most excited about this season?
DR: I believe that the biggest trend I’m finding with my clients, is the continued mix of styles. Before, clients were very particular about going Farmhouse or Transitional, Modern or Traditional. Now, I’m seeing much more blending of elements and finishes that we would not have typically fused. In addition, I’m very excited about the continued growth of sustainable products, used in every area of the home. Bringing back light-colored furniture is also a plus. With the advancements of performance fabrics, we can introduce more whites and creams to high-traffic areas like the living and dining rooms.
C: How do you take your coffee?
DR: Shaken, not stirred. I’m kidding…no coffee for me…pass me the American/English Breakfast Black Tea, with a peppermint, and Splenda--and I’m all set!