Born in the decor trade, Carolyn Hall gladly shares her secrets
Some children are born with silver spoons in their mouths. But interior designer Carolyn Hall was born with a hutch in her house (complete with a matching set of china). Not just a hutch, either: She had a slew of perfectly-appointed interior furnishings, compliments of her father’s furniture business in Little Rock, Ark. As if growing up “in the business” weren’t enough to seal her career fate, Hall’s mother also proved an infinite fount of design knowledge, even serving as a mentor and teacher, surrounding her from a young age with professionals who worked in the store or shared stories and ideas around the dinner table.
This early training, along with degrees in liberal arts, literature, interior design and even set design for theater arts, lead to a creative career for Hall that now spans more than 30 years. Today, her company (Carolyn Hall Interiors, LLC) works with a wide range of clients — ranging from same-sex households to swinging singles and every permutation in between — to help create spaces that are artful, elegant, personal and, most importantly, that reflect a space that can truly be called “home.”
So if you’re in need of professional help, what should you look for when it comes to choosing a designer? Hall recommends starting with the basics …. and don’t be afraid to do a little digging. After all, you’ll be working intimately with this person in one of your most sacred spaces.
“Start by reviewing their design work,” she says plainly. “Do you like it? Does it speak to you? If you are able to contact their clients, that can help you, too. Ask some essential questions: Are they flexible? If not, strike this particular designer off the list quickly. Continue to snoop — do they finish their work in a timely manner? Do they listen to and address your needs? Do they have time for your job? Can they stay on budget?”
Once you’ve identified a designer who suits your needs, it’s time to decide upon the space’s aesthetic. Design ingénue instinct can be to opt for the latest trends to trick out a room in the hot new bling. But Hall warns that today’s trend can be tomorrow’s avocado refrigerator or wall-to-wall shag carpeting.
“I do not follow design trends because they will become obsolete in a very few years,” she counsels. “Then people are stuck with a house full of outdated furniture, fabrics or color. What I propose is classical pieces, be they contemporary or traditional. They will endure over the years.”
As for adding her personal flair to a place as an interior designer, Hall relies on drawing from a range of styles and eras to create a one-of-a-kind look. The end result is not only something that truly reflects the homeowner’s personality, it guarantees you won’t see the same look on page 47 of a Pottery Barn catalogue.
“I like to mix old and new, contemporary, traditional, and ethnic,” Hall says. “It enables a space to develop depth and dimension. It creates the unexpected and adds spontaneity — it gives the home a little soul!”
Of course, not every household has a budget that includes trained pros. That’s OK — there are DIY options Hall heartily endorses. She encourages individuals to invest in design magazines or watch TV on the subject for inspiration. We can’t all grow up as designers, but as the saying goes, “You’re never too old to learn … or to budget for a little professional assistance.”
To contact Carolyn Hall Interiors, call 214-679-2095.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 24, 2015.