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Inside The World Of Interior Design With Tawna Allred

My next design guest is quite the artist - literally! As a fine art painter turned interior designer, Tawna Allred brings a unique experience, not only to the design industry but also to rural interior design. Surrounded by beautiful Wyoming nature, Tawna often finds herself inspired by the calm mountains near her Star Valley town, just outside of Jackson, which she so artistically expresses through her designs.

Image Source : Tawna Allred Interiors

As someone who fully embraces and understands the beauty of the countryside, Tawna is able to translate this pastoral lifestyle into her clients’ homes. With her strong formula of harmony, balance, value, and composition, Tawna merges modern and traditional elements, creating homes that she describes as Modern Farmhouse. Her designs promote healthy, peaceful, clutter-free living that exhibit a rustic romance with a modern, minimalist twist.

Tawna’s clients are often professionals who appreciate art and creativity, but don’t know how to create it themselves. She helps pare down to the essentials and introduces clean lines, artistic beauty, and harmony with a specialty in vacation home design, remodels, and new construction.

So, without further ado, please welcome Tawna!

Tawna, it is so great to sit down with you! I have so many questions, but I guess we should start from the beginning. You first began as a fine-art oil painter -- how did that help tap into your passion for design? Tell us about the moment when you decided this is the way to go- that you wanted to be an interior design pro.

Tawna: Interior Design found me. I am a fine art painter by trade, but little by little I developed a love for design. It started when my husband, a general contractor, was building our first home. He was relying heavily on me to make the design decisions, and I wanted them to be excellent. I also love learning, so I put myself back in school for interior design (it was a Christmas present). Once I had my degree and national certification, I realized I might as well open a business. We had small children, so I wasn’t working full time. However, when more people started asking me to help them, I started asking myself, “What if?” I was energized by my “new” art form, realized I had a unique point of view, and at that point I jumped in 100%. I’ve never looked back.

Q: Wow, design really did find you! Interesting how that happens, huh? Since your husband is a big part of your journey into design, can you tell us about his work? How does his contracting firm further benefit your clientele, such as having your husband’s building company available to execute your designs?

Tawna: My husband is a General Contractor and owns a company (along side his business partner) called Viking Development. He builds luxury custom homes. His work is impeccable. He started in the construction industry as a trim carpenter, so his homes are built with exactness. He goes above and beyond to make his homes top quality. People don’t realize it, but he is the yin to my yang. Together we are a powerful team; he needs my creativity and I need his practicality. If we work together, the project is 10X what it would be if we work separately. Not all contractors like working with designers, but he knows and appreciates what I bring to the table. We’ve worked on our processes together so there is little wasted time, communication is easy, and results are maximised for our clients. Design ideas are one thing, but if you don’t have a good team to execute, they don’t matter. My husband, his team, and his trades are the “A” team that can execute.

Image Source : Tawna Allred Interiors

Q: Sounds like you two offer the best of both worlds! Apart from your collaborations with Viking Development, how would you describe your personal interior design style and how do you see that play out in your designs?

Tawna: Personally I would call my style “Modern Farmhouse.” I love white mixed with natural elements, and I have a great need for clean lines. At my core, I am a minimalist. Then there’s the artist aspect of me, where I see rooms as paintings. I filter every room through the lens of harmony, value, balance, and composition, and wrap it in the practicality and needs of my clients. Of course, when my views combine with a client’s taste on a project, the result doesn’t always say “modern farmhouse,” but the designs will be uncluttered, cohesive, beautiful, and liveable.

Q: Can you elaborate on how being a fine artist influences your interior designs?

Tawna: It’s everything. I believe when people hire me, they want their home to be unique and for it to exceed what they could do by themselves. They want more comfort, functionality, and beauty. They want to love their homes! To do that, you need someone who sees into a world that doesn’t yet exist, and who can take that abstract idea or hope and turn it into a reality. Who better to do that than an artist? Not only are we comfortable with the abstract, we know how to package it up and bring it back to our clients in the real world, in a way they can touch and feel it. It’s a huge advantage for anyone using my services.

Image Source : Tawna Allred Interiors

Q: That’s a really interesting and beautiful point you made about turning something abstract into a reality for your clients. Are there other aspects of your life that you find inspiration from?

Tawna: Master painters, running in the mountains, riding my horse, my kids. I love seeing when people are good to other people. Great design, a good book, and authenticity.

Q: Seems like nature is a large part of your life. How influenced are your designs by the majestic nature that surrounds you?

Tawna: I don’t even know where to begin to answer this. If you know me, you know I am an avid trail runner and I love spending time in the mountains. The more time I spend in the mountains, the more I change. The mountains humble you. You don’t matter out there. You are much smaller than the majestic peaks or the wild animals that call it home. All you can do is breathe the fresh air and appreciate, deeply, what you saw. I have yet to find or create an interior that comes close to what Mother Nature has already done, but I strive to bring that feeling of peace back with me and put as much of it as I can into my designs.

Image Source : Tawna Allred Interiors

Q: And what about other designers, who are some interior designers that inspire you?

Tawna: Darryl Carter and Barbara Barry are my favorites.

Darryl has mastered the mix of modern and traditional in with a neutral palette. His designs never get old. He knows when to put a sculptural piece of furniture in, how to maximize its beauty against a modern palette, and then he leaves it alone. There is nothing extra.

I like to think Barbara is my soul sister. Her brand doesn’t shout. There’s a sense of feminism and calm with everything she does, and I love that.

Q: Yes, great designers - I completely agree. What are some design resources you are most inspired by- such as your favorite book/magazine/websites on interior design?

Tawna: Milieu, Veranda, and Southern Home put out the best magazines. I love anything by Darryl Carter, Vincente Wolf, and Lauren Liess’ “Pure Style Home” is wonderful. I am a voracious reader, so we may be here all day. We’ll leave it at that!

Image Source : Tawna Allred Interiors

Q: To end in a dreamy way, if you had no limits (money, resources), what would you create?

Tawna: The cool thing about my life right now is that Dave and I have decided to live our dream. We are currently building a new home, one that has been refined through the fire of experience and a purging of materialism, on a piece of property that includes the ability to realize a childhood dream of living with horses. We’ve dubbed it Lost Creek Stables. Follow along on Instagram and Facebook to see more! The only thing that would be different would be that we could do everything all at once if money were unlimited. Right now, we are putting a lot of sweat equity into it and it will take longer to finish, but I’m fine with that.

Image Source : Tawna Allred Interiors

Yes, make sure to follow Tawna on Facebook or Instagram to see behind-the-scene images of her own home renovation! I know you also write blogs about your renovation, so I’ll make sure to add all of these links at the bottom of the interview.

Thank you so much, Tawna, for sharing with us about your life as an interior designer, painter, outdoor enthusiast, and so much more! It was really a pleasure to get to know you.

Follow Tawna on Facebook or Instagram!

Read about her home renovation process, here: Laundry Room Design, Kitchen Design, & Master Bath Design.