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!



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