Coffee With… Donna Vinning

Today I am so excited to share a “Coffee With” a local designer here in Houston- Donna Vining from Vining Design Associates.  I can’t remember exactly how I first found Donna- I actually think it was from a sweet comment she left on my blog.  Since then I have “oohed and ahhed” over her design work and amazing spaces!

Amazing right?!!

Donna also has a blog – A designers Perspective  it’s full of great design tips and beautiful photos- a must read.

Here is what Donna had to say:

When did you know that Interior Design was your passion?
My mother worked with an architect and a landscape architect when I was 8 yrs old and totally remodeled our home with a new Danish modern look.  When I was 13 my Mother opened an antique shop and our home became ‘eclectic’.  Both of my parents were always ‘decorating the house for the different occasions” and our home was always warm and inviting and full of people from all walks of life.  So I would have to answer ‘from my early years’.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Everywhere.  My husband and I love to travel and that is certainly a big influence.  I think most of us just have to open our eyes and really ‘see’ and we can find beauty. My husband is a home builder so when we travel we look at all the little details that most people don’t even ‘see’.  I never look at just the surface of anything.  Most beauty is not just one thing but a sum of things.
What is your favorite book/magazine on design?
Yikes, each month I have a new ‘favorite’.  Southern Accents was my favorite but now it is probably a toss up between Traditional Home and Veranda.  I love the Texas Home magazine too and I always pick up the regional shelter magazines when I travel.  Love the Betty Phillips books and of course my friend, Bill Stubbs book “I hate Red, You’re Fired” and the Sarah Susanka books on Not so Big Houses because I so agree with her – a little jewel box is all you need!
How about your favorite site?
There are so many – My French Country Home – as I would love to live there!  And My Sweet Savannah as I want to taste everything! I have a long list on my blog.
What is the most frustrating aspect of your job as a designer? 
That I have to depend on others.
And the most rewarding one?  When the client says, “I love it!”
What decorating techniques/ideas/projects would you recommend to a homeowner who wants a quick fix to their room?
That is a tough question because it has so many things that influence that decision.  I am going to make the assumption we are not talking about a kitchen or bathroom and answer – a new wall color.  Color is the most economical way to make a change.  Sometimes it can be as easy as rearranging existing furniture or moving something from one room to another.  And fresh flowers always put a smile on your face.  And then of course, there is the plan and the ultimate goal – I hate to waste money no matter how much you have.
What’s something you should never skimp on when decorating your home?
COMFORTABLE furniture that you are going to sit on for many hours, which usually means the family room.  Followed closely by lighting and a good mattress.  I really encourage all of my clients to only buy things that they love and that will last.  Most people do not replace furniture routinely and you should make sure that where you sit and sleep are comfortable.
What’s your favorite color combination lately?
You ask tough questions!  I really don’t think I have one.  I love neutrals but I could not live in just neutrals.  I love periwinkle – that perfect shade that isn’t too blue or too purple – and then of course blue and white, blue and yellow, gray and yellow, pink and green, green and white, etc. I could go on and on – I definitely love color!
Your Most cherished possession?
Family – but I think you are talking objects and that is tough.  A long time ago, I made a decision not to buy anything that I did not LOVE, LOVE so I am going to say my homes – I love the one in San Miguel as much as I love the one here and everywhere I look I see things I love.  I buy paintings or art pieces when I travel and I love seeing them each day and remembering the trip, the people, the weather, the food, etc. I would buy a painting and go without a new purse or food!  And I try to meet the artist, even if I have to walk to a home on a small Greek isle – it makes an unforgettable memory.  There are nice people everywhere!
What would your dream project be? 
I am a very lucky woman – I work on a dream project all the time and making people’s dreams become a reality is such a blessing.  The people really make the project a dream job. 25 years ago I would have said a home in Baltimore, 20 years ago I would have said a home in Aspen, 15 years ago I would have said a home in The Woodlands, 10 years ago it would have been another home in the Woodlands and 5 years ago it would have been a home in Asheville, NC and at this moment it is a high rise in Houston and a bay home in Galveston – both of these homes are for people in their 80’s!  They are doing their final houses and making sure they can “Age in Place”.  And I am working on an office building in The Woodlands right now for a long time client and I love to mix it up!  Truly, no matter how large or small the project, if I am not enjoying it, I won’t do the project!
Thank you Donna for sharing your wealth of wisdom with us today.  Make sure you stop by Donna’s blog and say hello.


5 thoughts on “Coffee With… Donna Vinning”

  1. Donna says:

    Thank you Amanda for featuring me on your blog! I’m honored. Have a wonderful weekend!!


  2. I love this series and love to get insight from designers with a lot of experience. Thanks for sharing!

  3. What a beautiful house! Love the glorious kitchen! Have a delightful weekend, Kellie xx

  4. minerva @ park city real estate says:

    Donna is a kind of interior designer whom everybody must love to work with. 🙂 I love the fact that she wants her clients to really look for furniture or things for their homes which can really last and they would be comfortable using.

  5. Great interview, Donna and I love Carol’s blog! Love the images and your answers.
    Happy Sunday.

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