Feeling Cozy Inside and Out: Dawn Wilkinson

Dawn Wilkinson is taking the intimidation out of the interior design.

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

I started my design career in the mid-90’s at a mom & pop style floor covering store in Bellingham Washington after graduating from the interior design at Oregon State University.  Prior to my formal training, I was a young lady who in grade through high school was moving furniture around in her room, and the room of her friends just for fun!

Seattle definitely has a vibe all its own.

Seattle does have it’s own vibe, and what I really love about that vibe is people are not afraid to express their own personal interior style in their homes.  They don’t really want to have a “look” that is similar to their neighbors and they really pride themselves in making smart buying decisions that will stand the test of time, not only in durability, but in style longevity.

What elements of the city’s personality do you try to add into your work? 

We are surrounded by lush evergreen trees, tranquil blue/grey toned waters, and this time of year, crisp white snow on the mountains so bringing color cues in from is one of my favorite ways of working.

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

Our most challenging spaces are those where a client may be trying to place too many pieces of furniture in a room, therefore not allowing for proper circulation in & around the room.  Area rugs are a great way to anchor a space that a client is struggling with, creating a focal point from which to start building the rest of the room around.  These unique layouts are fun for us as design professionals because we can illustrate several different options for the client to consider prior to them making their final choice & investment in the rug piece.  Here’s an example of how we show a client layout options.

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

At Six Walls we often like to use the word transition.  As one moves from space to space within a home, we transition into another room that has a different function or purpose than the room before.  To make spaces still feel connected, but not repetitive, we suggest repeat common threads in the design of rugs.  One example; a pattern may be repeated in an adjacent room, but a new color of the similar pattern will be introduced.  Developing a pleasing color scheme with a client in the early stages of the design process are critical to keeping on track with selections along the way.  That way, we can come back to that color scheme for the project to insure a proper choice is being made for each material being introduced into the space.  An area rug can often provide a color scheme inspiration for a room, or a whole home if you find the right one!

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

With the almost 9 months out of the year being overcast and rainy here in the lovely Pacific Northwest, our team of designers incorporate area rugs into almost every project we work on—purely to add a cozy factor.  Even if it’s a kitchen or bathroom remodel design, we show area rug options for comfort on tile or stone floors, just as often as we do for wood floors.  Adding that element of softness, texture, pattern and color, is something that only area rugs can do!  I’m sure many of this blog’s readers have heard a designer say that area rugs are like artwork for the floor, and that couldn’t be truer.

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

Even though I’m a huge fan of wool and other natural fibers like jute or silks, I don’t have a style or type of area rug that I lean on most, I tend to suggest several options to our clients based on style and color needs for the room, as well as budget, and durability.  Sometimes a room calls for a high end hand knotted rug, and other times it will call for a piece of wall to wall carpet to be ordered, cut and bound to size locally!  Choosing options that best fit the client’s needs—as opposed to pushing our own style agenda helps us create long lasting relationships with our clients that have them calling us back for help on other projects in the future.

How much is too much when it comes to rugs? 

I haven’t reached that threshold yet!

Any final words of design advice? 

Go with what you love, and don’t be afraid to pay for a little bit of advice from a design pro.



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