Meet 3A: A Little About Dana

If you follow us regularly, you’ve probably heard us express how much we value having three individual designers and with unique views towards design. We really do! When our design careers crossed paths a few years ago, who knew we would all meet up again one day to talk about starting a business that would combine all our talents and experiences into one as 3A Design Studio.

We each bring a balance of talent and style that makes each project work. There may be ones where one of us is more drawn to a project than the other two of us, but I think that’s what makes it work. We each have the opportunity to connect with a client in a different way.

We know it works, our clients know it works, and hopefully you do, too.

So you may be wondering how we are all unique. We came across a design questionnaire recently that had a great list of questions that we will each answer for you in our posts this week to give you a better feel for who we are individually as designers.

Which leads me to…

Hey! I’m Dana.

That’s my {growing} family this past Easter. Currently I’m about 4 weeks from popping out our second child (so if you stop seeing posts from me suddenly, it's because I'm in newborn land). Big sister is of course the distracted little curly-headed 2-year-old not looking at the camera. She keeps us moving, laughing, and up with the sun. My husband, Jeremy, practices architecture in our small town. Being married to an architect is actually just as ideal as everyone assumes it is—for us anyway! We love to dream and plan in notebooks, on the back of napkins, over the latest issue of Dwell or Southern Living—just about anywhere. It's probably one of our favorite past times! 

So who am I as a designer? Well, on with the questionnaire, I suppose!

When did you first discover your love of design?

Probably much earlier than I realized! I’ve been a visual artist my entire life—always drawing, creating, painting, etc. I actually came very close to attending an art college so that I could do nothing but live an artist’s life. But my high school art teacher recognized my eye for color, spatial arrangement (I always hung the art for our shows), and detail. So I ended up in a {more practical} interior design program, and here I am!

How would you describe your design style?

Ehh…that’s a hard one! My favorite design style era is mid-century modern, but I hardly ever design that way (unless we get a client who loves it as well, and in that case I would more than happily oblige). I tend to be more eclectic—cottage coziness mixed with iconic design pieces and rich colors. I love paying homage to the great design styles while blending in a lot of personal touches and a dash of the unexpected. It’s important that my rooms look not only livable, but lived IN. 

What is one thing you think every good design needs?

I can’t pick just one! For me, I think there are two and you’ve likely heard me harp on both of them: natural wood and live greenery.

By natural wood, I mean unpainted, not overly stained or lacquered, and not purposefully distressed (so basically, not shabby chic wood pieces). Whether brand new or a weathered heirloom, there’s a richness about wood that can’t be recreated.

And plants, well that’s just my personal favorite touch. I think they make a room look less sterile, and studies show that plants give us health benefits as well! Plus they’re a great inexpensive piece of décor.

What’s your favorite part of the job?

As cliché as it sounds, I have to say the end result. I started my career in commercial work and project timelines were years from start to finish. I saw very little of my work completed…and even that usually got changed around by the contractor by the end of it. Residential is so much more personal. Not only do I get to see something I put my hand in come to life, but the satisfaction of the client makes everything worth it! We still get giddy receiving positive feedback. It never gets old. 

When you find yourself uninspired and in a slump, how do you fix it?

I forget about it. Spend time outside. With my family. Tending to my garden. Catching bugs with my two year old. Design brains are so hard to shut off! It’s easy to get burnt out, and I don’t want to fall into the trap of repeating myself or relying on trends just for the sake of cranking out a project. I think rest is the most essential part of any job, and I think our culture values it way too little. Rest is seen as a time-waster, and not a re-charge. So not true!

Why is design important to you?

When done well, and for the right reasons, good design makes life easier. It creates space for more function--space for more living and less worrying about the walls around you. In college, my design program was part of the School of Human Sciences. At first it baffled me (not to mention everyone else), but now I totally get it. It’s so much more than creating a beautiful room—it’s understanding human habits, and creating spaces that make them easier.


So now you know a little more about me!

Stay tuned to hear Jessica’s and Mallory’s responses later this week!

Until next time…