Meet Interior Designer | Carla Khabbaz

Hi Carla! Can you tell us about your journey leading up to owning your own Interior Design Business?

Hi, I’m Carla Khabbaz. I have been interested in design for as long as I can remember.  As a young girl growing up in Ohio, art was always my favorite subject and I loved crafts.  My mom liked to bake, sew and crochet.  I loved going to the fabric store with her to help pick out fabrics for her projects.  I remember being in elementary school and passing time on rainy days rearranging the furniture and accessories in our home. 

Fast forward to college where I graduated from Purdue University with a minor in Graphic Design and which I used in my PR and Marketing career upon graduating.  As a young wife and mother, we moved frequently and remodeled several homes which I spent a lot of time designing and decorating.  I also helped friends and neighbors with theirs. 

I went back to school for a degree in Interior Design in 2009 and officially opened my design business in 2014.  

What areas in Colorado do you serve?

I work all over Colorado, but especially Denver and Boulder.  I have also done homes in Mass and Florida.

Can you describe your process with clients from start to finish?

We follow an industry standard method of moving a project from conception to completion.  From beginning to end, we provide a concierge level of service to our clients and advocate on their behalf.  We think creatively through the design process, work efficiently through the documentation process and help our clients see the best end results!

It all starts with an initial meeting in which we gather a lot of information on the client, their preferences, how they live in the space, what works and what doesn’t, their wants and needs.  I ask a lot of questions and take copious notes because it is so important that each design is custom tailored for each individual.  We avoid trends and focus on delivering a timeless, refined, and welcoming space that is reflective of each client.  

We take this information along with a finalized scope of work and move into the Conceptual Design Phase.  The goal here is to set the design direction, provide initial concepts, layouts and material solutions.  We continue to refine the project goals and narrow in on the design direction. 

Next is the Detailed Design Phase.  At this point, the path forward has been identified and we begin to work out specific details.  It is a time of refining solutions and gathering more information on items specific to the design. Dimensions are still in flux as exact items are being reviewed and recommended by the designer to the client. For example, a kitchen layout will include space for a refrigerator, but the exact model of refrigerator is still being determined and dimensions are being adjusted to fit exact appliance as that information becomes known. We wrap this phase up with a presentation of developed and refined floor plan and specific finish, fixture and equipment selections. 

Finally we move into the Documentation, Execution and Purchasing Phase.  Here we cross our T’s and dot our I’s.  By this phase, many decisions have been made and many options explored. This is the time to nail down loose ends and answer as many questions that can be predicted as possible. This is a time of detailed notation on a project. Communicating in words, 2D and 3D plans and images as much information as is necessary for the project to be constructed. Finalized set of contract documents ready for bidding and permitting.  Items such as light fixtures, plumbing fixtures and furniture are ordered, shipped, received and installed. 

Do you have any “Before” and “After” Photos of Projects you’ve worked on?

I love transformations and reimagining a space – making it more useful, practical and beautiful than before.

Here is a before and after of a recently completed kitchen in Boulder, CO:

 Are you from Colorado? Which neighborhood did you choose to call home and why?

I am originally from Ohio and moved to Boulder by way of NYC in 1994.  After getting married in 1996, we moved away and returned to Boulder in 2001.  I moved to Denver in 2010.  So I have lived in Colorado longer than anyplace else and consider it my home.

 I currently live in Wash Park and love the proximity to the park and all it has to offer.  My location offers easy access to the restaurants and shopping in Cherry Creek, Platt Park and Highlands.  I also love the historic character of many of the homes in my neighborhood.

Can you break down what type of services you provide?

Full Service Interior Design – Space Planning, Kitchen and bath design, Cabinetry and millwork design, Custom furniture, wallcoverings, upholstery and draperies.  Custom lighting solutions.  Decor & accessories.  Exterior and outdoor.  Procurement from unique, trade-only wholesale sources

Construction Consultation – this service is for the client who is building a custom or semi custom home and wants to ensure the design is unique, beautiful and welcoming:  Interior and exterior finish selection, Architectural plan review, Design concept development, Specifications for builder, Review Interior/Exterior finishes for builder to ensure everything works together

Buying or Selling Consultation – this is for homeowners or real estate agents who want to identify the existing pros and cons of a space, feasibility issues, updates that can instantly add value and appeal to more potential buyers, Practical but beautiful suggestions for updating an outdated home, 3D renderings

Design Consultation – this is for the client who isn’t sure if they need full-service design but knows they need something.  We will arrange a consultation package specifically suited to their needs.

Some examples include:  Solve design challenges that they’ve struggled with for years, Paint and wallpaper consultation, Expert eyes to ensure they are on the path with their vision to create a cohesive look.  Accessories packages to tie their  home together and give it an elevated, unique style reflective of their personality

What challenges have you faced along your journey?

It took me several years to fine tune my offerings and processes.  As a business owner and designer, I feel it is important to know what you do best and love to do and do just that.  Once I got clear on what my sweet spots were, my business started to run much more smoothly with less overwhelm.

What are some client testimonials you’d like to share?

How would you describe the personality or “Vibe” of Denver?

Denver is an vibrant, inclusive, outdoor-oriented city that still has the feel of a smaller town.

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