Denyne Designs Founder Opens Up About Her ProcessKristen Dettoni
Denyne Sanville is the founder and luxury design specialist at Denyne Designs, a full-service, residential, interior architectural design firm. Founded in 2003, Denyne Designs is located in Dunstable, Massachusetts. An award-winning design firm, they specialize in kitchen and bath design and remodeling. Yet their service offerings don’t stop there. With over 40 years of combined experience in construction and design, they also provide solutions for any home renovation project. From creating the design concept and building plans, to specifying and sourcing all the materials, all the way to coordinating contractors, they are a one-stop-shop.
I first met Denyne through our volunteer work with the Building on Hope renovation of the Nashua PAL. Her belief in the power of good design to transform the way a space is experienced has been inspiring to see in action. I just had to learn more about her design philosophy, process, and also hear about what she’s currently working on at Denyne Designs.
Tell us a bit about your design process.
We have a very detailed and documented process we follow on every project from start to finish. To do our job properly we need to learn as much as possible about who our clients are, how they live, their design preferences, and what they want from their new space. Using intake forms, digital ideabooks, state of the art measuring tools, and in-person meetings; we build a customer profile. With this profile, we create a comprehensive scope of work. Next, we craft our design and select and recommend the best materials.
What type of information do you need to know about a client before you work together?
We ask a lot of questions at the beginning of our process. For example, who will be using the space, and when and how they will use it? What are their personal preferences on colors, patterns, and overall “mood” for their home? Also, what is their family composition now, and will that change in the future? What is their 5 to 10 year plan for the home? Our goal at Denyne Designs is to understand whether there are any specific challenges we should address. All this information helps direct and shape our design, as well as the materials we select. We want to meet the clients’ needs both in the short and longer-term.
Can you describe what “interior alignment” refers to and how it informs your design process?
Interior Alignment is a form of Feng Shui. In a nutshell, it is aligning the clients’ home design and decor to their innermost desires and goals in life. It takes into consideration the 9 Life Areas of Feng Shui:
- Inner Knowledge
- Travel/Helpful People
Describe how you use the science of evidence-based design and color psychology in your work?
Evidence Based Design and Color Psychology directly relate to how the exterior environment affects an individual’s health and psyche. Color, light, green space, positioning of spaces and furniture, as well as material selection all come into play when considering what will have the most positive effect on the occupant’s health and well-being.
What are you currently working on?
We are currently working on a very exciting renovation of a 1950’s ranch home. We were asked to transform the home to make it more appropriate for our client’s modern lifestyle. At the same time, creating a space with a definite wow factor. Our client wants a sophisticated, contemporary aesthetic. The end result will be a total transformation.
We’ve created an open concept floor plan which emphasizes some of the home’s unique features and incorporated new interior architectural details for additional visual interest. A long feature wall will have a recessed area for tv viewing, and also an electric fireplace, custom built-in storage, and two art alcoves. We’re retaining the floor to ceiling windows that frame a stunning water view and painting the original custom woodwork to give it a fresh new look. Wood flooring, custom cabinetry, lush upholstered pieces, exotic wood veneers, and statement lighting will give the client the stylish, beautiful space she desires.
When working on a period house does it involve a lot of research?
If the homeowners wish to remain true to the period of the home, then we research materials and finishes and create a design to pair the historical elements with the homeowner’s desires for functionality. However, when working on an older home it’s more common that the client wants a more updated look. For example, the home may have wonderful features and great architecture but needs to be updated for a more modern lifestyle and aesthetic. We always work to preserve the elements of the home that the homeowner feels are important in order to retain the home’s character and integrity.
Do you ever create one-of-a-kind, custom pieces for a space?
Yes, we work with many talented artisans and craftspeople from cabinet makers to makers of custom soft furnishings such as drapery, cushions, and pillows. We’re grateful for these partnerships. Their professionalism and attention to detail help us add beautiful bespoke pieces.
What advice can you give us for our own homes?
Incremental changes make a big difference in being happier in your home. Also, they are often more achievable than taking on a big remodeling project. Having a plan you can tackle that is realistic about time & budget goes a long way towards creating a cohesive look and feel in your home. Updating paint, lighting, and hardware are some of the easiest and lowest cost changes. Yet they can have the biggest short-term impact. Eliminating clutter and having an organized home (a place for everything and everything in its place) also makes a home feel and function better.
Do you have a favorite design tip?
Adding unexpected design elements is one of my favorite tricks to personalize a space while adding a bit of fun and whimsy. Here are a few creative examples:
- Use paint to add an unexpected design element on doors, ceilings, or a soffit.
- Add a pattern or color to stair risers.
- Use wallpaper to jazz up the back of a bookcase, add a feature wall, or bring a wow factor to a small powder room.
- Swap out boring cabinet hardware for something fun or colorful.
What is your best piece of design advice?
Don’t sacrifice what you truly want in your space! In the long run, you’ll be much happier that you went with what you really wanted, even if it takes a little longer to get there or costs a bit more. There are many ways a designer can help achieve your end goals.
Thanks so much to Denyne for sharing her insight and telling us more about Denyne Designs. Learn more about Denyne or see examples of her projects here.