Design coach lights way for the decorating-challenged

Dawn Delaloye offers help on creating spaces that are functional and attractive
By: Gloria Young Home & Garden
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Sizing up a room and making it prettier is something that comes naturally to Auburn resident Dawn Delaloye. Delaloye ran a full-service interior design company in Phoenix until she relocated to the foothills last year. Now she’s refocused her business to offer home décor coaching for the do-it-yourself homeowner. “I give them ideas,” she said. “It’s basically an affordable way to have the professional decorator look without all the high fees. We guide the decorating challenged.” She’ll provide tips on arranging the furniture, paint colors, window treatments, artwork and accessories and then deciding on the right configurations to create a good flow. “I help guide them and we also have resources they can access to complete the job on their own,” she said. “It gives homeowners a chance to work on their terms and timeline while controlling the cost.” Delaloye gravitated to the business through personal interest rather than as a career track. “I’ve always had a passion for interior design,” she said. “After I did my own home in Phoenix, I had friends and family asking how I chose my colors (and got my ideas).” As more people called, she began going to their homes to give them decorating advice and soon realized she should turn it into a business. Eventually she became the lead color consultant with Benjamin Moore Paints in Phoenix. “That was going out and selecting paint colors for homeowners, basically telling them where to start and stop colors, which walls were best for accent colors, how to get a nice flow using color palettes and adding color to complement what they already had as far as furnishings and window treatments,” she said. Delaloye takes a common sense approach to the job. “One of the first things people need to do is before starting any decorating project is to think about their needs,” she explained. “Do you need more storage space or a quieter place to work? That will give you your first direction when redecorating. It’s nice to have a beautiful home but you also want a functional home.” Then pull out the measuring tape. “This is a big one and it sounds funny and you’d think most people would do it,” she said. “Measure the space you are decorating. Then bring the measurements with you when you shop, so you will know what works in artwork and accessories. Artwork and accessories might look small in the store, but could be overwhelming in the space.” And don’t overlook window treatments. “If someone has a nice view, a window treatment works as a nice picture frame,” she said. “It’s a good way to add color and patterns to a room.” These days she’s seeing a trend away from swags, heavier fabrics and hardware. “I see a lot more cornices and simpler valences,” she said. “Long draperies are not quite as popular.” At Quality Window Coverings in Auburn, spokeswoman?Marina Trotman, said the big trend she’s seeing is for energy efficiency products such as the Hunter Douglas Duettes. “For a real beautiful line, people are buying the Silhouettes. Those are the sheer with the (S-Vane),” she said. “... As far as fabrics, right now the jewel tones (are still popular). Come spring, colors get lighter.” When choosing colors, Delaloye suggests combining neutrals with one color that pops and adds accents. “(It’s about) keeping a nice flow and consistency,” she said. “A nice way to keep that flow is to use one of the colors to pull together all the rooms in the house. For example, use red paint in one room, a red piece of furniture in another room — introducing that color in different ways throughout the house. And stick to colors you like. Don’t just follow the latest trendy fashions.” For Delaloye, an important part of guiding her clients is getting to know them and their tastes. “That’s the main criteria I use,” she said. “I try to guide them as far as what will work in the space. I see what they need and what they like and help them tie that together.” She’s currently working with a couple preparing to move into a new home in the foothills. “They like medium brown tones,” she said. “We’re doing that with granite countertops. I’m helping them select the granite to complement the flooring as well as the backsplash in their kitchen. … A lot of people, when they start looking on their own, they go where their eye goes and don’t think about movement of the granite. Big veins can really overpower a room and could compete with flooring. That’s where I come in and suggest something that would have more consistency with flecks to it and not as overwhelming a pattern.” For bathrooms, she suggests considering projects that add something special without busting the budget. “An easy way to dress it up is adding a tile backsplash and pulling in some of the other colors from throughout the rest of the house,” she said.