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Episode 55: Honoring Architecture Through Luxury Interior Design with Claire Ownby, of Ownby Design

Today Ted speaks with Scottsdale-based interior designer Claire Ownby. Founded in 1998, her award-winning firm Ownby Design serves clients primarily in the greater Phoenix area and the Hawaiian Islands. Claire specializes in modern minimalism aesthetic, with a keen eye for detail.

Listen in as Claire reflects on over two decades of experience in the industry. She talks about her approach to interior design, with a commitment to honoring every structure she is tasked to by adding to it, but never taking away from it. Claire also explains how she is able to manage a business with 22 employees while taking care to interface with all of her clients directly.

Ownby Design. Scottsdale, AZ

Finally, Claire speaks of her love of travel and absorbing little nuance she can from the various cultures she immerses herself in, explaining that she derives inspiration not so much from existing designs themselves, but from the culture that surrounds her.

Topics Discussed

  • [05:01] Italian versus American design
  • [08:40] Why Claire chose interior design
  • [15:51] Claire’s most valuable lessons learned
  • [17:34] What Claire looks for when designing an interior
  • [22:10] What excites Claire
  • [25:29] Navigating market downturns
  • [32:01] Expanding Ownby Design’s office and studio spaces
  • [36:10] Keeping up with trends
  • [41:42] Juggling her role as a creative and as a business owner
  • [45:20] Drawing inspiration for designs from cultural experiences
  • [49:35] Claire’s message to young aspiring or budding designers

Connect with Guest

Key Quotes from Episode

  • I’ve made a lot of expensive mistakes; but, those mistakes have formulated who I am as a designer today, and where I chose to take my path. I wouldn’t take them back for anything because they really helped build my character: what I stand for, how I want to represent myself and my firm, and how I want to build my brand.
  • Our first inspiration is almost always taken from the architecture. For us, it’s really important that we’re finishing the story—we’re not telling a new story.
  • I’m much more driven by cultural experiences than I am by design. Design is just a byproduct of what I’m experiencing while I was there.