Client Knows Best

From area rugs to countertops team Ivonne Ronderos and her team at DKOR Interiors work closely their clients to find out the styles and designs they like most.


Thanks for joining us, Ivonne. Tell us a little bit about how you got started in interior design and how you ended up in design?

I started DKOR Interiors about ten years ago because I recognized that there was a real need for more client involvement in the interior design business. I have enjoyed establishing and developing relationships with our clients over the years that in turn have produced both enriching experiences and beautiful designs.

You live and work in Miami. What are some themes you carry into your design that might have originated in the city? 

Rather than focus on set themes, we like to cater to our client’s individual style and expectations. But we are aware of where we live and may of our clients bring the beauty of the city indoors. It’s really just a balance.

All spaces are unique, but with a green concentration you must find that there are items you tend to repeat. What would they be? Which are most dependable?   

Quartz countertops, white satin finishes, lacquers, and unique pieces are all items that we tend to repeat right now. They’re dependable and beautiful.

What are your first priorities when meeting a new client in a new space? How much are you matching their needs to your education and inspiration? 

Our concepts stem from the aesthetics of our clients that makes designing fun and new every time!

Miami is known to have a few hardwood floors, which of course means more area rugs. Tell us how you use some of these in your designs.  

Area rugs are a great resource to show texture in a space and are used to define an area more than use out of function.

Do you have a type of area rug that you lean on most? Or is it a case-by-case basis? 

Case by case. Some properties require that you account for children, or high-traffic, while others don’t. Really have to just take a look at your needs.

How much is too much when it comes to rugs? 

It’s never enough! II think it all depends on your budget and what you feel comfortable spending.

Any final words of design advice? 

Stay true to your style! Don’t follow the temptation to go with the trends. Trust your instincts and let your designer know what you like and more importantly what you don’t like.

Where can readers see your work, or make an appointment for consultation? 

Check out our portfolio on our website or email us at

Thanks for your time!

Thanks to you!

From Inspiration to Installation with Jenny Velasquez

Jenny Velasquez capitalizes on South American influences to design comfortable, elegant and simple rooms her clients can enjoy.

Tell us a little bit about how you got into the design business.

Originally from Peru, growing up I was always exposed to art and music, it was most likely due to my Spanish and Italian background. I remember when I was around 16 years old my parents got my brother, sisters and I involved in the decorating process of our beautiful Spanish colonial custom built home. What an amazing experience, it seems like it was yesterday when my sister Patty, a designer as well and I couldn’t wait to move in, we actually did a few days before the move in date, we didn’t even have a phone line connected yet.

It was 10 years ago when I decided to step out of the corporate world and embrace my passion for design professionally. With an MBA, Bachelors in Hospitality, Sales and Marketing work experience and an Interior Design education I was confident and ready for my new journey and launched my Interior Design business through Décor and You.

What are some of the first things you try to notice when meeting a new client at their space? Do you have a checklist?

The first things I try to notice are how my potential client feels about their current space and why?  How is this affecting them and how they would like to feel after the job is finished? I believe in order to serve my clients and understand their needs the key is to ask as many questions as possible, take notes and most importantly LISTEN.

Your job is filled with challenges. Which do you face most often? Do you have a method to work through those problems?

Sometimes dealing with the subcontractors and making sure they are on the same page to prevent costly mistakes can be challenging.  Having a great team of professionals and good communication is the key.  The good news for my clients is that this is a behind the scenes challenge. My job besides designing an enjoyable beautiful space is to manage the whole project from Inspiration to Installation and to make this process a great experience for my clients so they are able to enjoy the ride and share it with their friends and family.

Describe to us the project you are most proud to have designed. What did it look like before? After?

It is hard to say, since I enjoy most of my projects and they are all unique in their own way. I will say one of the best ones was a full Master Bedroom and Bath renovation. The clients were a retired couple looking for a warm, yet elegant and modern design. The design reflects simplicity and elegance. The bathroom space went from outdated pink white tiles, to a beautiful polished porcelain tile with Italian glass mosaics and river rocks accents, rain shower, polished chrome faucets with Swarovski crystal handles bringing elegance and a warm relaxing feeling. Vanities were custom built on maple solid wood, medium tone finish with a gorgeous onyx countertop and a Swarovski crystal door knob.  As for the bedroom, we changed the flooring to Brazilian cherry wood floors, custom built headboard with silk fabric panels to coordinate with the custom design bedding, 100% wool modern area rug to bring comfort and unique accessories.  As a designer it is such a rewarding feeling when the end of the project comes and you see your client’s smiles and your design ideas come to life. It makes me realize how blessed I am that I get to do what I love as a living.

We love rugs. Can you take us through how you use area rugs in your business?

I love rugs too! An interesting rug transforms the floor into a focal point. From a fine antique Persian rug to a relatively inexpensive braided rug. There is a design and price to suit every decorative scheme. I always tell my clients the importance of including an area rug in their design, especially for the main areas. It is a plus for many reasons no matter what style they like, area rugs help you to tie all the colors together, define the space, and bring warm and comfort to the room.  In fact sometimes I start my designs by selecting the rug first as an inspiration for the rest of the room.

Which type of designs do you see yourself using more? Less?

Interesting question but it is hard to say. Very often I get asked by prospective clients if I have a specific style I like or prefer to design, my answer is always no, since I find every style beautiful and inspiring. In the end it’s about my client and not me. Each of my designs is unique and reflects my client’s personality and lifestyle. I see every space as an empty canvas ready to become my masterpiece and my client portrait.

Which area rugs do you find most durable? Least durable?

I tend to prefer a natural fiber, hand knotted or hand tufted but it all depends on my client’s budget and the area that we are working on. Most often I prefer to use 100% New Zealand wool and the least are Polypropylene or Olefin.

These things can be expensive. Any assistance on how to cut down on the initial price?

I think it is important to have a plan before anything else. The budget discussion is an essential part of the initial consultation. Once we agree on the right budget for the project, I will look for the best choice of products and finishes from the 100+ preferred vendors and suppliers I work with. By hiring a designer to help you with your project, you will be saving time and money and best of all you will end up with a beautiful space you can enjoy and be proud of.

Thanks for your time today! Any more hints for our readers!

Have fun with the process, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, when working with a designer first make sure you feel connected, that there is chemistry and trust, then be open minded to their ideas even if they sound crazy, you just may be surprised what you discover about your own taste.


Dawn Hamilton Understands the Keys to a Brilliant Room Design

The most important decisions in every designer’s day comes from inspiration and Dawn Hamilton has an eye for the needs of her clients and their spaces.


Thanks for joining us, Dawn! Tell us a little bit about how you got started in interior design.

I studied art history in college and thought I wanted to be a curator.  After working in several art museums in NYC, I realized that the path to curator wasn’t for me. I ended up in restaurant management which also didn’t  fit, so I went to a career counselor.  She helped me arrive at interior design and so I went and studied at the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale and worked for a restaurant design firm after graduation.  In 2006 I went out on my own and began to focus more on residential projects. Now I work in residential and commercial interior design as well as product design.

Miami and South Florida definitely has a vibe that is all its own. What elements of the city’s personality do you try to add into your work? 

Color, sophistication and incredible outdoor spaces – that’s what the lifestyle is all about!

Describe some of your most challenging spaces? Does a more unique layout always benefit the designer? Hurt?

I think the most challenging spaces are those which are not architecturally well-suited for their purpose and must be somehow converted. There is value in bathrooms with windows in the wrong place, bedrooms with no good wall for the bed or family rooms with no wall for the TV.  I would say, unique layouts often benefit designers because they inspire homeowners to call us for help!

The idea of flow is huge in design. How are your designs patterned to help the occupant feel that the space is stress-free?

By paying lots of attention to functionality! If the room works well for the purpose intended, stress will be minimized.  That’s important to keep in mind not only in space-planning, but in material selection as well.

Area rugs are versatile and since Miami has plenty of loft space and hardwood floors, I’m sure you see a bunch. Tell us how you tend to incorporate them in your design?

Oh, absolutely and even more prevalent in flooring than wood down here, is stone which almost always requires a rug!  Area rugs the anchor and are often the springboard for the room’s overall color scheme.

Do you have a type of area rug that you lean on most? Or is it a case-by-case basis?

Case by case s the only way to design! Every one of my designs is specific to the room and the people that will be using the room. When you specialize that much you need to make sure that the rug is also personalized.  In general I’m partial to wool rugs, because they tend to be durable and soft.  Honestly, I feel like I use more wool rugs and carpets than any other material.

How much is too much when it comes to rugs?  

There is no such thing as “too much” when it comes to rugs. The trick is to adjust the surrounding design accordingly, especially if you choose something really over the top.  Always be sure that there aren’t too many competing elements

Any final words of design advice?

Never lose site of the fact that form follows function.  All good design must follow this rule!

Where can readers see your work, or make an appointment for consultation?

I’m featured in the current issue of “Fort Lauderdale” magazine and I have a Japanese style master bedroom showcase on display at dcota.

Thanks for joining us!



Barbara Ann Holmes Knows it’s All in the Approach!

With her Lintels and Lallies design business in full swing, Barbara All Holmes shares some secrets of interior design and how to pick the perfect area rug.


Thanks for joining us, Barbara! Tell us a little bit about how you got into the design business.

I began working professionally with color and design in 2000 within the art & framing industry. I started as a residential art consultant, which means that I spent time in client’s homes helping them find art and translate it into their space. While in that role, everyone kept asking me for interior design advice as well. My passion for helping people and love for their stories grew, leading me to go back to school for Interior Design. As my hobby grew, it became a business. I love every minute of it!

What are some of the first things you try to notice when meeting a new client at their space? Do you have a checklist?

With my background, the first thing I tend to notice is art. Art can be very revealing; it is an easy way to identify a client’s style and favorite colors. Then, while getting a tour of the client’s home I notice architectural elements, and room challenges. The client really points out what they need in each space, so the checklist changes based on the client’s needs. It is all about gathering the right clues and listening to each unique dilemma.

Your job is filled with challenges. Which do you face most often? Do you have a method to work through those problems?

Since opposites attract, I’m often brought into a home to help solve design disputes amongst partners. Giving each person time to talk and state what is most important makes the world of difference. When left alone, the gloves come off and people can’t hear each other, but when I’m the mediator, with my experience, I can usually find a common denominator that represents everyone.

Describe to us the project you are most proud to have designed. What did it look like before? After?

I love all my projects. Each of them requires the same amount of energy, creativity, and planning. But if I had to choose something it would likely be my own kitchen. My husband and I built our home, and as a design that I spend the most time in, I’m kitchen proud. Fortunately the “before” was on blueprints, so to change the floor plan on paper was much easier than knocking down physical walls. The original design was very closed off from the rest of our home and very ordinary. I used vintage magazine covers (art) for my inspiration to build the room from. My husband’s love for baseball is featured in our baseball diamond-shaped island. Just like the work I do for my clients, every last detail evokes the homeowners personality.

We love rugs. Can you take us through how you use are rugs in your business? Which type of designs do you see yourself using more? Less?

With hardwood flooring in most homes, rugs are one of the key elements I use to warm up a space. The moment you place a rug in a room, it *feels* like home. It allows you to get comfortable, barefoot, and rest on the floor. Just as I mentioned with art, a rug can also be a source of inspiration to build a space from. If you find a design you love, you can pull colors from it to build the rest of your room from. I also have custom framed rugs& carpets as art for the wall. The possibilities are endless. The designs I use vary per project. It does seem we are on a trend of “anything goes” right now. Clients are no longer identifying themselves by “Victorian, Country, Contemporary, etc,” which can be too limiting. So, I’m finding the focus is more on balances such as: feminine & masculine; casual mixed with formal; bold graphics paired with simplistic lines, etc. Rugs are an easy way to achieve that balance.

Which area rugs do you find most durable? Least durable?

It really depends on the room, if there is high foot traffic, or an area with children where there may be spills. The pile of a wool rug is very durable for foot traffic, but I tend to use synthetic blends more because of their resistance to stains. Also, we try to select a pattern with different colors in it because it is more forgiving and hides flaws better.

These things can be expensive. Any assistance on how to cut down on the initial price?

As far as interior design goes, the best way to keep price down is to plan. The more planning the better your selections & the happier you’ll be long term. I offer hourly services, so my clients can choose upfront how much they’d like to spend. If you are working with a designer, I always recommend writing out all your questions before you meet, so you get the most of your time together. As far as rug purchases go, again proper planning. Know where you want the rug and make sure all key furniture in the space overlaps the rug. Then, think about what you will use the rug for. Is it decorative, or will the function & durability be a main factor? *Planning* is always the best step towards avoiding expensive mistakes.

Thanks for your time today! Any more hints for our readers!

Don’t be afraid to try new things! Try new colors.  Select fresh, new focal points – move things around. Also, don’t hesitate to contact a designer in areas you feel less confident in. Most of us love our jobs and are happy to help in any area you need, no matter how big or small!