WAVERLY — Julie Meyers has taken one lesson to heart in her 20 years in the interior design business.
Whether Meyers is helping a client furnish their first home, create a dream kitchen, find the perfect window treatments, selecting artwork for an empty wall or choose the best sofa for plopping down and binge watching a favorite TV show, “it’s about so much more than just good design.
“It’s about creating a space that makes someone feel good,” she says.
Meyers is owner of Design 360/Decorating Den Interiors, 221 E. Bremer Ave. The storefront is part retail, part design studio. Customers can shop vignettes and displays for furnishings, accessories, window treatments and much more, while Meyers and interior designer Brandy Reisinger work on project plans for residential and commercial clients in the studio.
Meyers started Design 360 as a home-based business in a 400-square-foot office next to her house, specializing in window coverings. It was a leap of faith, Meyers says, and a 360-degree career change.
“I was a critical care nurse. I loved working with patients, but I was burned out working 12-hour night shifts. When we moved to Waverly, I decided it was time for a change. I had dabbled in interior decorating and loved it, then I had an epiphany — I wanted to be creative and express that creativity,” she recalls.
Meyers became a Decorating Den Interiors franchise business. The company provided Meyers with the tools, education, training and support she needed to run an interior decorating/design business. After seven years, her small office was bursting at the seams. Meyers decided to raise her profile and moved her business to Bremer Avenue in 2005.
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“Everything worked out perfectly. I wanted higher visibility, and this location has given us that,” says Meyer. Now it is one of the area’s busiest full-service interior design firms and assists clients on large and small projects.
She has seen technological advances such as 3-D rendering and internet access impact the design industry. “Not so much in the creative process itself, but in how we visualize it for our clients,” Meyers says. “Today’s clients are more sophisticated about styles and products, too, thanks to HGTV, Houzz and Pinterest.”
But Midwestern sensibilities are still in style. “We’re different than other parts of the country — we’re always going to have honey oak in Iowa, and we’re OK with that. We find most clients haven’t worked with a designer before and think we’re too expensive, too bossy or won’t listen to their ideas and concerns,” she says.
Meyers decided long ago that “I am not that designer.” She is dedicated to listening to her clients, sharing her experience and expertise and guiding clients in making decisions that are right for a client’s project and within budget.
Her Decorating Den connection gives the independent designer access to a large network of suppliers and customization options, as well as colleagues “all over the country to collaborate with and bounce ideas off of,” she explains.
Meyers has no regrets. “I’ve never been happier or worked harder at anything before, and I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat.”