“You’ll die on the vine if you don’t use it,” Debbie Stanford stated. Since she can remember, design has always been her passion. Even as a young child she was obsessed with colors and textures. She would find bark, leaves, anything from nature, and analyze how it looked and felt. Today, Debbie Stanford is the owner of Deb’s Interiors in Corpus Christi, Texas. With an A+ rating on Better Business Bureau (BBB), and glowing customer reviews to back her, Debbie is the best of the best when it comes to interior design. Amid her creativity in full bloom, we are taking a glance at her inspirations, process, and style through one of her most recent projects.
How did your career in design begin?
I have been working in design since 1995. I was an art major in college, and I have a Masters’ Elementary Ed. Method and Materials Degree. I taught art in all levels for 12 years, but in my time off I would design. I started teaching art at San Marcos High School and then Crain Elementary School in Victoria, TX where I taught 4th, 3rd, and 2nd grade. In 1992, a health issue arose, and I had to take a year off teaching. During that time off, I got certified by the Texas Architecture Board of Interior Design. I worked several years for builders in Victoria, and soon after, I opened my own office. However, my husband started a business in Corpus Christi and during the transition of moving, the realtors I worked with started referring me to their clients. I am deeply grateful for my experience in teaching. Although designing is my passion, the skills I learned through teaching have made me a better business owner and designer.
Do you inspire your clients, or do they inspire you?
Keeping my clients in mind is vital to me when designing. We examine their needs and existing features and utilize those to inspire our design. For example, for this recent project, I wanted their space to feel like they could age in style. My clients were having trouble getting into their garden tub, so we designed a space that is catered to their needs but is still aesthetically pleasing. A space can be functional and beautiful.
Everything has a purpose in my designs. The windows, niches, and grab bars, in this design, all serve a purpose for my clients. Natural lighting is essential in a space, and even more so when you get older. Due to this, we made sure to have large windows that would provide plenty of natural light. The niches were placed strategically so they would be functional to use, and provide a focal point when they are trying to relax in their space. Grab bars were necessary for my clients so they could feel at ease when utilizing their shower and bath tub. However, just because we needed grab bars in this space, does not mean they had to have a handicap look – anything that is functional can still be attractive.
It is also important to keep your clients in mind when making changes to a space. It can be aggravating to be unaware of what changes have been made to a room, especially when you are on the go. For this reason, whenever light switches, doors, or heating/cooling features are moved or added, I make sure to label everything. I want my clients to have an easy transition into their new space. Organization is a huge part of designing. If you keep your clients needs in mind, and provide them with a space that is organized, functional, and beautiful, your design will be a success.
How do you stay inspired?
Every week I try to educate myself with something new. I try to stay current by taking design courses online. The world is always changing and evolving, and each client’s needs are different, so I research constantly. If an element is not working in a space, I research for a solution. This often involves taking an ordinary object and reinventing it for a new function. Occasionally, after extensive research, I find that if there is no solution to a problem then that leads me to inventing a new solution. Inspiration can come from many places, your surroundings, research, and even clients. My clients become my friends and it is a sheer blessing to meet new people that inspire you.
What is your favorite part about designing?
My favorite part about designing is helping people. A home is such a personal space for everyone. My clients trust me with their haven to turn into a beautiful and practical space. You not only transform the space but transform the functionality of that space in their home. It is incredibly rewarding knowing that you are improving the lives of your clients. You can walk away knowing they are happy with the end result. I have confidence that I could call any of my customers to show their home to potential clients. You develop a special trust and long-lasting friendship with them.
How would you describe your design style?
My design style changes based on my client’s needs. Your style must evolve as materials and textures change every day. What is available to us now is different from what we had 5, 10, to 26 years ago. There are more innovative and beautiful materials introduced to the market regularly, and along with these materials new techniques and technologies are pioneered as well. As your world expands, so do your inspirations and your style. Overall, it is important to be open minded to new ideas to grow your design style and to grow as a person.
Do you have a favorite project you have worked on?
My favorite project would probably be the design I did for a client that is a lawyer. We remodeled her bathroom, hallway, and kitchen. By the time we finished her design it looked like a completely new house on the inside. We raised the ceilings two feet and did all custom cabinetry. It has been one of the most rewarding projects I have done. Our design for her house was truly one of a kind.
What are the most challenging parts about designing?
There are many challenges when it comes to designing. Working with what is existing in a space can also be quite challenging. For the recent project, the client wanted to keep the existing marble floors. You want all aspects of a design to look like they belong and have always existed in that space. There is a difference between designing and construction, and often it is difficult for the construction part of a project to match the design. Bringing your vision to life can be one of the most challenging parts of designing but it can also be one of the most rewarding.
When creativity is ingrained deep within your roots it is essential to exercise your passion. Debbie Stanford is as passionate about interior design as she is about helping people. Not only is her work exceptional, but it is unique to the coastal bend area. Through getting to know her as an interior designer, we uncover the vibrant passion she spreads to all her clients and loved ones. We can be certain that anyone who works with her will experience the grand fruits of her labor.