Designer Q&A with Donna Guerra
Donna Guerra, an interior designer who has over 25 years of design and architecture experience, answers questions about her projects, style and, of course, interior finishings. Donna is the Principal Designer at DG+A Interiors Inc. and is a Registered Interior Designer in Texas.
The Finished Space: Your firm has designed some of the most luxurious homes in Aspen, Colorado. What do you like best about designing in Aspen?
Donna Guerra ASID, RID: Aspen is a destination location bringing a variety of people to the area. Their main agenda is to enjoy the beautiful setting of the mountains. Most of the homes revolve around outdoor sports, family, and friends. The projects tend to be “Dream Homes” not your average city house. The floor plan is driven by the views and the spaces are designed to enchant and excite the occupant. The design is in the detail, making all our projects in the area special and unique. It is also an amazing opportunity to meet people from all over. Every project has its own personality and elevates our portfolio.
TFS: You’ve described a style you specialize in as “Mountain Modern.” What does that mean and how important are interior finishings, including trim and doors, to that look?
DG: The mountains albeit beautiful do bring a harsh climate, dry, cold, and high altitude. Something you cannot ignore. With that in mind, we use materials indigenous to the area and in their most natural state. This adds an undertone of rustic, but once it is mixed with Modern, the two complement each other.
Our interiors will bring the mountain influence in with the use of natural wood for base, case, doors, beams, and wood ceiling treatments. We will also look to incorporate natural stone and metal. All of these are treated with a modern driven detail to keep the look fresh and new. The re-adaptation of reclaimed materials in a very simplistic approach always produces a unique story to the room.
TFS: What is the wood species you work mostly with? Do you have a favorite?
DG: Most of our projects incorporate Hemlock and Clear Douglas Fir for the interiors and exteriors. Walnut has been a favorite of recent projects and always White Oak sneaks in somewhere into every project.
TFS: Tell us about your favorite room (anywhere) and why it appeals to you.
DG: When you are designer how can you have a favorite room? This is one of many of my favorites. (Not designed by DG+A) The “Blue Room” at the Lake Austin Spa. It always makes me happy to be there. The space, the setting, the colors, materials and mix of furnishings gives you a very sense of being in the moment. Something that I think is the ultimate goal in design, taking materials and instigating emotion.
TFS: Any exciting projects coming up you can tell us about?
DG: Moving out of the construction phase into the interiors on current project in Aspen is exciting for us. It’s been a long process from paper to gyp board. As for new, we have a Penthouse in Boulder, Colorado for a former client and a luxury high-rise Senior Living in the River Oaks neighborhood in Houston. And you never know what will pop up after someone decided to make Aspen their home while being on summer vacation.
TFS: What is your favorite Metrie Then & Now Finishing Collection?
DG: This is hard to single out a favorite. I like something from every Collection, but I hope to incorporate and work with Fashion Forward.
TFS: One of our readers would like to know: “How high up the wall would you recommend placing chair rail in a dining room to make it look taller?”
DG: Of course it depends on certain elements in the room, but if you can make it taller then, I say, start around 72”.
TFS: When you design a room or a home from the start at what point do you start to think about the interior doors and mouldings? Do you ‘Finish Before You Start’?
DG: As soon as the style direction and client’s vision is established we start with looking at details, which obviously includes the doors, trim, and overall direction. This gives the project continuity and cohesiveness to bring it all together.