“Go big or go home” is this interior designer’s mantra, so is it any surprise that she’s from Texas? Denise McGaha may be based in Dallas, but her colorful, sophisticated designs are often spotted nationwide, in designer showhouses as far-ranging as Palm Springs, New Orleans and the Hamptons, or projects all over her home state. Denise began her career in the corporate offices of Neiman-Marcus, so in addition to her interior designs, she’s also a business-savvy influencer and designer for big-name companies like Miele, Kravet and Silestone.
We caught up with the designer to find out more about her style (and how we can get a little of it in our own homes).
When did you decide you were destined to be an interior designer? What do you love about the business?
I left my great-paying corporate job to start a design firm (with no prior experience), and that was when I knew it was my destiny. I mean, who else does that!?! But, I love the people! Some of my best friends are interior designers. We speak a language all our own and I wouldn’t trade this tribe for anything.
What are your favorite features in your own house?
I love our kitchen and dining room. This is where the magic happens with kids, friends and family. We entertain often, and I love cooking and laughing the night away with friends. I love to set a table, and I might have a “dish addiction.” Shhhhhh … don’t tell anyone!
Is there such a thing as a “Denise McGaha” look? What makes up your design aesthetic?
I’m told I have a “look,” but really it’s a combination of must-haves in a room. There has to be original art, collections, comfort, down-filled pillows and cushions, and dogs. My look invites you into the space, and there has to be a drinks table or surface at every seat. I love color, and each room I design has a bold color statement, even if it’s neutral.
Who are some of your own design crushes?
What’s been your favorite project to date, and why?
A project we completed last year for a family of six who moved to Texas from Connecticut. We remodeled the entire home in four short months and fully furnished it in six months. I love creating spaces that no one can imagine from the onset, and “before and after” images are always my favorite. This home was a dark and dingy old-world style, and we infused it with light, clean lines and durable fabrics. When four children and two dogs are welcome on any piece of furniture, I consider that a success.
What are some of your favorite sources for projects … companies that always do you right?
What are some design trends you wish would go away? Any you’d like to see come back from the past?
I’m growing weary of white everything. I want color everywhere, even if it’s oh-so-subtle. I love colonial-style architecture and wide entry halls with a center stair. I also love a dish pantry — everyone should have one.
What are some of your suggestions for easy-ish ways homeowners can update their own houses?
Wallpaper the walls and paint the cabinets. It’s life-changing.
What celebrity would you like to be the interior designer for?
See more of Denise’s work on her website. Click here.
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