Corine Maggio: The Best Idea Always Wins

Some designers need to have their way, but Southern California’s Corine Maggio knows that often the client knows what’s best for them and she helps them achieve the look they want.


Tell us a little bit about your training in interior design and how you came to choose both the profession and location.

I was always meant to be a designer. I used to draft out floor plans on graph paper in grade school and I was always very sensitive to space. When I first entered college I was majoring in Marketing, Psychology, and Finance and minoring in Art. I went for a few years before I decided to quit and spend my time and money traveling. Looking back, all of those disciplines were helpful when starting my design business.

I eventually decided to go back to school, and in the time I spent soul searching, interior design surfaced as the obvious path. I enrolled at Design Institute of San Diego because of their accreditations, fabulous reputation, successful graduates and beautiful location. I graduated in 2009 with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Interior Design.

Is Southern California a challenging market for interior decorating? What are some of the major influences for the area?

I don’t find Southern California to be a particularly challenging market. I’m definitely new to the game but have yet to experience a lack of work. I believe if you stick to doing what you love, you will be the best at it and find your niche, even in a tough market.

San Diego has a lot of Spanish style architecture and interiors which I don’t find particularly inspiring but my love for coastal interiors still has its place given the number of seaside properties in the area.

What’s you design philosophy? How do you try and implement it in your work?

I love this question. I feel strongly about the importance and power of design. It can either assist in or hinder your well-being. I work to create designs and organization systems that facilitate and support the lifestyle needs and goals of my clients. Understanding how our built environment can give peace of mind and add ease to our daily tasks can give us more space in our life to pursue our best selves. I want my clients to have a space that not only functions well but actually enhances growth.

I do this by extensively interviewing my clients before I begin and then involving them throughout the process. I use my education, intuition, experience, passion and love for people congruently to produce the best possible outcome. I also try to let the design pieces come together organically. You can sit at your desk and spend all day designing but you can’t really know how it’s going to feel until it’s installed. I take pride in that I am always learning and am comfortable admitting when something I thought might work doesn’t or when my client has an idea that is better than mine. It’s more important for me that the best idea is implemented than I am ‘right’ all the time. I communicate openly and honestly with my clients and enjoy when they do the same. This type of relationship is crucial in order to finish a project well. Because of the intimate nature of creating rooms that people live in, I end up really getting to know my clients on a personal level. After jumping all of the hurdles and overcoming the multitude of challenges that seem to come with any project, my clients start to feel like family. It’s an extra blessing I never anticipated when I entered this industry.

Are your clients typically looking for big jobs, or a room-by-room type thing?

It really varies. I have some clients that are more comfortable going room-by-room and some that want everything done in one big swoop! I like doing both and am careful to manage my time so that each space is given the amount of love and attention it deserves. I also like doing small hospitality spaces: cafes, tea shops, bakeries, etc. It is so different to think about the needs of a space that many people visit for a short time and that a few people work in versus a home where generally just a few people go every day over a long period of time. The hospitality spaces are usually all encompassing which is exciting because the project can be altered in a much more holistic fashion.

When it comes to floor coverings, tell us how you incorporate area rugs into your designs.

I spent 2 1/2 years working for Aja Rugs, an Oriental rug store in La Jolla, and this solidified my belief that rugs are a crucial element in any home. They are much cleaner, sustainable and beautiful than broadloom and can make the space more interesting and inviting. I use rugs to frame a room. Just like pictures need frames, rooms do too! I also use them to add texture, balance and pattern.

Area rugs add some warmth to space. What are some other ways they can be used?

They can useful to tie together a multitude of other elements in a room.  Especially in open floor plans, rugs can visually signify one ‘room’ from another, distinguishing the separate spaces. Plus, rugs are super helpful with noise reduction!

Do you have any types of rugs you use more often than others in Southern California? Favorites for certain homes?

The coastal interiors that I tend to do use a lot of natural fiber rugs such as jute and hemp, but the handmade oriental rugs such as Heriz and Kashan look fantastic in a variety of homes in the area.

Any other tips or tricks for using area rugs?

In my own home, I use a lot of neutral tones and almost no pattern, so the rug is where I go bold. It is fun to walk into a space where the rug is the focal point with big pattern and color.

I recommend going in to a rug store like Aja because you will speak to someone with experience and see the endless varieties firsthand. Plus, they will bring them to your house free of charge, so that you can see the difference it can make right in your home!

Where can readers find your work, or make a booking for an estimate?

My website is the best place to see a sampling of my work: www.corinemaggionaturaldesigns.com

There will be some fantastic new projects added this spring and throughout the year! I also have a Facebook page:

You can contact Corine through her website, or via email at


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