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What to Expect From an Interior Designer in Cleveland

I moved from Philadelphia to the Cleveland area more than 27 years ago, and as I reinvented my interior design company, I soon noticed some differences here from working as a designer on the East Coast.

One of my first consultations was during the late afternoon. The homeowners had set out cheese, crackers, and wine for us to enjoy while discussing their project – not exactly a common experience for me. During our meeting, I began to notice a different vibe than I was used to. Something I could only describe as a Midwest Vibe.

I’ve noticed that in my experience, people in Northeast Ohio seemed more relaxed and open to sharing their personal stories. People in the luxury markets here are typically pragmatic and unpretentious, which isn’t always the case in other areas. These sensibilities are very important when an interior designer is invited into someone’s home because it often gets personal.  

There is also a real craftsman and maker tradition here; many people in the area like to work with their hands and create. As an interior designer, I love all things custom. If we can dream it, there is someone who can build it or make it.

Another aspect I fell in love with when I moved here is the concept of “lake life,” including not only relishing in the scenery itself, but also literally boating out on the Great Lakes. Most of our work is not necessarily themed on lake living, but the presence of Lake Erie is always there, I’ve noticed. The lake brings cloudy days, winemaking, and lake-effect snow, which have been reflected in local design trends. For example, there were a few years when it seemed like all the home furnishings were gray. I remembered asking one representative at the High Point Furniture Market if they had anything else but gray. We live in the vibrant, lakeside city of Cleveland, and as much as I love living and working here, I want to be able to reflect that in how I design.

The biggest challenge when it comes to being an interior designer in Cleveland is that this area somewhat lacks diverse furniture and home furnishing resources. In general, there are many furniture styles and options in the world, but many residences in Northeast Ohio are limited to more regional tastes. Exposure to a plethora of furnishings and design trends is important to creating beautifully designed, unique spaces.

That said, it’s not that everything in a room needs to be upscale or on-trend, but some strategically placed pieces can raise the caliber of the design aesthetic. This is where an interior designer can be very valuable.

Professional designers are basically product superfans. We thrive on looking for new pieces and resources at places like High Point Furniture Market, Vegas Market, KBIS, New York shows, and more. That mental bank of eclectic design ideas helps us create a unique, personalized vision for our clients’ homes and spaces.

Is a Cleveland Interior designer any different than an interior designer from another part of the country? Not really, though designers can specialize in certain styles based on regionality. For example, designing homes in a warm oceanfront area will bring a different aesthetic than designing a mountain home.

Many designers, like myself, love to design in a variety of aesthetics. We go where our clients go. A good relationship is always the cornerstone of a successful interior design project.

It’s important to have exposure to a plethora of furnishings and interior design trends.


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