Story by Megan Whitehead | Jun 27, 2016
Photography by Keith Borgmeyer

Designer Tina Davis works with her clients to create a home they will both love.

When designer Tina Davis, of Designs by Tina, enters a home, she already has a plan set: build a good relationship with her clients. Before color, décor, or materials are even considered, Davis gets to know her homeowners, figures out their ideas for the space, and melds them with her own.

“A lot of times, the vision is there initially, but I love to visit with the homeowner,” says Davis. “The biggest mistake that, I think, gets made in our business is everything starting to look the same, with no uniqueness to someone’s space. You pitch the ideas to them, get their ideas, and turn those into a finished result that we are both happy with. Then it is truly a reflection of the homeowner instead of just the designer’s taste. The uniqueness factor has to be there.”

This is true of the builder, Steve Brandt, of Ken Otke Construction, as well. “Steve and the homeowners got along so well that they were able to build a trust through the process, which works well for both his business and the homeowners,” says Davis. “That is so important when doing a remodel, to establish that personal connection and understand what it is that your client or customer is looking for. Because at the end of the day, this is their space.”

The owners of this 1991 colonial in Monticello Acres loved the approach that Davis took when planning. “When we picked out the hardwood, she knew what I wanted before I knew what I wanted,” says one homeowner. This synergy between designer and homeowners is evident when walking through the home. There are items scattered throughout that came from their previous house, most with a story or sentimental value. “The homeowners have a very eclectic nature to the things they put together,” says Davis. “So a little painted table in the family room matched with a more rustic light fixture, an oil painting, and leather furniture all come together to create texture. That is one of my favorite things about a lot of my clients. They don’t have everything brand new — it is supposed to be a continuation of life.”

The sewing table in the dining room is a great example. The table was owned by the homeowner’s great-great-grandmother, who lived in New Orleans. When Katrina hit, her home flooded, leaving only the sewing table.

“I can’t imagine taking a house and putting all the stuff in it that had nothing to do with your previous life and thinking that was your home,” says Davis. “If everything was brand new, it wouldn’t be them anymore. It would just be another house.

“It is very important to learn about the style of the homeowner before making decisions,” she adds. “It’s a slam when someone comes in and says, ‘Who helped you with that?’”

When the designer, builder, and homeowner all work together, the end result is a home that everyone can be proud of.

Resource Guide:

Ken Otke Construction: builder, trim carpentry, and painter
Steve Brandt (Ken Otke Construction): drafting and design
Tina Davis: designer
Raceway Electric: electrician
Keith Hayes Plumbing: plumber
Rehagen Heating & Cooling: HVAC
Jeff Barklage Drywall: drywall
Fraley Masonry: stone
Builders Screen & Aluminum: screen enclosure
Scruggs Lumber: exterior door, floor covering, and stair parts and trim
Phil Thoenen Cabinets: cabinets
Entertainer: special wiring
Lowes: appliances
Best Fire: fireplaces