An Interview with Linda Baker of Baker Design Group

When it comes to professionalism and creating spaces that mirror the personality of the home owner, nobody in the Dallas-area is doing a better job than Linda Baker of the Baker Design Group. Their interior design business is not only top-class, but like us they love rugs!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into interior design.  

I actually got into the industry about 20 years ago because I had hired an Interior Designer for my Master Bedroom and fell so in love with the process and the overall finished product that it captured my heart.  Shortly after that, I began to do some remodeling projects and slowly moved into the Interior Design Industry.  My years of Marketing Experience and passion for design made for a great combination that I have been able to flourish in and really enjoy!

What would you describe as your style?  

I personally like mixes of Transitional and Modern.  This has changed over the years as beautiful new product is coming out that has very clean lines, unique designs and so many great accent colors to make a room come alive.  It is always fun to work with each client and see their style and how we can improve on that to update their spaces!

Influences? Designers you emulate?  

I can’t say that I have one personal influence right now.  I love so many different designers and how they are mixing fabrics or creating unique art installations on walls and wall features. I am particularly drawn to designers that lay a room out well but in an unpredictable way as it is probably one of my biggest pet peeves when I see a room that is either predictable or could be so much more fun and functional but, instead, they go for the safe route.  Rooms are meant to be enjoyed and inspiring.  Your living spaces should also be relaxing and easy to entertain in.

When you enter a room can you tell if it has been professionally decorated? What are the tell tale signs?  

If I see sofas and chairs backed up against walls and windows, that usually is not a good sign to me.  If I see well-designed layouts and interesting mixes of art and accessories, I tend to think a designer has been involved.  Some clients are very creative and intuitive too so I can’t always tell right off the bat and offer kudos to them.  The other issues I notice in a lot of homes is poor lighting and many homes are visually cut off right in the middle of the room and your eye has no other place to go and get energized.

Which project are you most proud of and why?  

Our latest project, which we have almost completed now, in Uptown Dallas.  We were excited to have our hands on everything from bare walls on, including tile, custom cabinetry and vanities, all the way through to the furniture, art, and accessory finish out.  The client was extremely enjoyable to work with and she and her husband turned over many of the creative aspects to us and we were able to do things that were cutting edge.  When it all came together, the entire home truly looked like a work of art, bringing a marriage of form and function that literally changed the way they live.

Describe how you decide whether or not a space needs a rug. 

I like rugs in most rooms with hard surface flooring.  They ground the space, bring color and texture to the base of the design and also warm up the entire space.  Rugs also absorb sound and give a room a cozier atmosphere, on top of delegating function to help a space plan work.

Why do you rely on area rugs? What is the biggest addition they make to a room?  

The biggest addition is color and texture.  It is also an easy way to delegate spaces for specific functions, which is specifically helpful in great rooms and open spaces. Rugs really pull your eye to enjoy the room and seem to bring all the design of the room together, uniting colors, patterns, and styles.

Do you have a particular type, size or color rug that you like to include in your work?  

I like a simple rug with some graphically interesting design that sets off the room but doesn’t drown it out.  There are so many amazing rugs out there now and you have the ability to create soft areas, architectural spaces or a more traditional environment.  My favorite rug lines are Surya, Feizy and Loloi.  One thing most consumers don’t know is that through a design firm there are endless rugs to choose from.  Most clients only get exposed to the limited amount of retailers offering rugs and never have an idea of what truly is out there through a professional Interior Design firm. There is no cookie cutter answer to a favored rug type, as they suite each client specifically, in a wonderfully versatile way.

Any that you avoid?  

Only use nylon when you have either an outdoor area or something with super high traffic.  It is much better to work with wool rugs, as they maintain their life and quality and give you intensity in the design and use of the rug.

Final thoughts?



An Interview with Interior Designer Sharon Flatley

The design community is filled with creative individuals looking to capitalize on their ability to decorate a living space. However few are as naturally talented, or as driven as 30-year veteran Sharon Flatley, whose design business is one of the most respected in Texas!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into interior design.

I have been in interior design for almost thirty years now. I started as an art major but switched to interior design sense I have loved design since I was a child. I was the only kid who redecorated her Barbie house every few months! I would change wallpaper, add new rugs and even made some of my own homemade cardboard furniture.

How would you describe your style of interior design? 

My style is more classic and tailored. I love timeless designs, looks that incorporate classic lines and defy time.

Time can be fickle! What are your influences? Designers you emulate?

The major influence in my life was my mother — she was the trendsetter!  She loved to change the wall colors on a regular basis. It was not unusual to go to school in the morning with the living room would be green and then return home from school and it would be transformed into a pale soft dove grey. Even the furniture would be arranged in a totally different way!

Speaking of individual rooms, can you tell if one has been professionally decorated? 

YES!!! They all have the signs that remind me of professional work. Things like proportion, balance and a sense of arrangement that few people understand unless they’ve been professionally trained.

Which project are you most proud of and why? 

I did a kitchen for a client that was in the Biedermeier style. It was beautiful and very well-equipped with two dishwashers, two sinks, a 60″ gas range, wonderful refrigeration and the beautiful classic lines of the Biedermeier style. It was breathtaking!

I want that kitchen! Are there any rules you must follow when decorating your own space?

Scale and proportion and a sense of balance are always rules to follow no matter what you are designing.

When should you call in a designer? 

When you can’t decide what style you like or what color to paint or what furniture to keep and when you are totally confused. Sometimes, it can be as simple as hiring a designer for a short two hour consultation to get you back on the right track.

Bet you could get some of those people to use rugs. Tell me a little about the various ways your incorporate them into your designs. 

I love rugs. They add warmth, color and texture to a room. They can anchor the furniture and make the space feel cozier and more inviting. Rugs can add a pop of color for a modern look or use a very traditional pattern to impart a sense of timeless appeal.

Why do you rely on area rugs? 

A lot of homes use hardwood floors or tile throughout the entire space. Although they are beautiful , they can feel a bit cold. I use area rugs to warm up the space, add some color and soften the sound of walking across a hardwood or tile floor.  What is the biggest addition they make to a room? All about the warmth!

Do you have a particular type, size or color rug that you like to include in your work? 

It varies depending upon the overall design of the space, the architectural style of the home and the color scheme. The rug needs to match the interior space and they can be any size, shape or color! That’s what makes them so great to use in any design.

Any that you avoid? 

Not really. I do avoid some of the woven grass or sisal rugs if you have puppies or kittens. And they can chew up a rug or have little “accidents” that may stain the rug.

Are there times where a rug just won’t do the job? 

Only if you are creating a great mosaic floor design and don’t want to cover up the design.

Thanks for your time! 

Thanks for the opportunity!

An Interview with Interior Designer Max Jones

If you want an energetic and dedicated interior designer and furniture, then there really aren’t many companies that will outperform Jones Walker Home of Texas. Max Jones and his team know what it takes for a room, and a rug, to impress!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into interior design.

I started working for a leather manufacturer in my 20’s and really enjoyed the creative aspect of furniture creation. The passion for beautiful furnishings was my motivating factor for opening a full service showroom in 2002. When we first opened I wanted to focus on selling furniture based on the overall design of the room. Over the years, after countless projects, design is the biggest part of our business.

What would you describe as your style?

I would call my style Urban Chic. My aesthetic usually leans toward the modern but with some warmth thrown in. I also like to mix pieces in a way that is unexpected to make the space more interesting. The best way to do this effectively without looking too random is by balancing your elements. Like putting in a modern abstract painting over classic heavily tufted sofa, a feminine crystal lamp on a chunky industrial steel table, or covering an antique ball and claw chair in a bold modern fabric. For me it’s all about breaking the rules!

When you enter a room, can you tell if it has been professionally decorated? What are the tell tale signs?

I don’t know if I can tell if the design was paid for but I definitely know if a room is done well. For me it is about whether the room looks cohesive and finished. The last layer of design (art and accessories) really can make or break a space. The large signature pieces are the bones but the finishing touches are what make it feel “done”. That is usually the giveaway for me. The finishing details are so important because it is the aspect of a space that tells the story about who lives here. The little details like books, art, accessories, and lamps really convey the personality of the room.

Which project are you most proud of and why?

I think my proudest moment is always the project I am currently working on. It’s always where my current creative passion is living at the time! I will be installing a new design in a couple of days that I think will be stellar. This apartment is in a new high rise in the Arts District in Dallas. The client has really given me full artistic freedom to design the apartment from scratch. The clients decided that they wanted a clean slate and opted to only bring a couple of art pieces. The rest was up to me. I love the process of getting to know the client and really creating an environment that is their dream.  They really feel the need for professional input and let me do what I do best which is design the project in its entirety.

Are there any rules you must follow when decorating your own space? When should you call in a designer?

Yes. Be true to who you are when working on your own space. Remember that even if you don’t know all the rules of design, if you pick items that you love, you will create a consistently “you” design. That will give you at least a bit of cohesion just in the fact that everything is part of your story. If you find that you don’t know what direction to go or find it challenging to pull it all together, you might want to think about hiring a designer to guide you through the process. Like a lot of my clients, you might just be too busy or uninterested in the process of designing your space. Follow your gut! If you want to be hands on ; be hands on. If you want the process to “just happen” then hire a professional! Let us do the work for you!

We like rugs. Tell me a little about the various ways you incorporate them into your designs.

I like rugs too! I think of a rug like a tie on a man’s suit. It’s a great way to bring in some energy, color, and texture. Rugs are a great way to pull together colors living in the space. Since I like to break the rules, I often mix colors in a room that you might not normally think to mix. The rug is a great way to connect all of these colors! I will also use fabulous patterns in the rug to add energy to a space that needs a little jolt.  Remember that much of a rug will hide under furniture pieces, so go bold with your pattern to make sure you feel it in the space.  If I’m trying to create less energy in a space, I might go for something more textural in the rug like a solid-colored shag. Very luxurious! I also like creative placement of rugs. I find that if you need to purchase a smaller rug to save money, you can place it at a diagonal in the room to give the illusion that it covers more space. It’s a good trick!

Why do you rely on area rugs? What is the biggest addition they make to a room?

That’s easy! Because the rug in a room is what literally connects everything in the space! A rug grounds the area and lets you know that everything touching the rug is part of the whole. Rugs pull it all together.

Do you have a particular type, size, or color rug that you like to include in your work?

I have a tendency to go with really bold pattern with lots of color or super shaggy. I seem to use 5 x 8 and 8 x 10 a lot although each project and space is different! As far as color, I never know what I might do next! Currently, I’m really into turquoise and yellow! Tomorrow may be a different story!

Any that you avoid?

The only time I avoid a rug is if it won’t enhance a space. The natural fiber rugs are great but I find that a sisal rug on a wood floor can pretty much disappear. I want a rug to say “Hey! I’m right here! And I’m talking to the drapes and the chair and the pillows!”

Are there times where a rug just won’t do the job?

I use rugs in a multitude of applications! I guess the garage is the only room that is really off limits!

Anything else to add?

I think that’s all I know! Just have fun in the process and surround yourself with things that make you happy!