We had the good fortune of connecting with Reya Duenas and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Reya, what’s something about your industry that outsiders are probably unaware of?
Interior Design is more than just picking paint colors and fluffing pillows – we, as designers, really get into more of the nitty gritty behind the scenes AND then some…. We’re ensuring peoples well-being by selecting materials and finishes that are healthy for the client, not harmful to the planet and appropriate for the application. Sometimes we’re touring a factory to see how a product is made….As well as, ensuring that the work being done on your project is up to our expectations; that all the fine details; the wall reveal or that light cove is being executed to showcase your space as intended.
On the flip side we are also working on the “pretty” with the client. There are so many choices out there – so working with someone who has relationships with trusted trade partners that know their products and capabilities can really help save time. We leverage our relationships with the our vendors to curate all the items that are going to elevate the space. We may not know everything but we have some for that!
What should our readers know about your business?
I’m an NCIDQ certified designer and the road to certification was not easy. There are strenuous requirements of the NCIDQ Exam to give clients and employers added confidence in the caliber of work from NCIDQ Certified interior designers. Passing this exam was important to me because not only do I have experience in the field, now I have the certificate as proof that I’ve taken the time to fully understand and apply current codes to ensure the public health and safety.
I started out in residential design, then moved to Catalina Island where I worked in hospitality design, developing several projects on the island. My move back to the “mainland” brought me into multi-family design; which combined my experience in residential and hospitality. From there I moved over to healthcare design, for more of a challenge – then the pandemic hit! See “My ShoutOut!” The road to starting a business has been about me gaining the experience and confidence to put myself out there and share my passion for materials and finishes. I’m the girl walking into a cool hotel looking for an experience and looking to see how it was made. If there’s a unique lighting element – I’m going to go look for that lightbulb and see how the design intent was executed. Fun curtain? – I’m going to tough it and see what material that is. I want to know how its built because the execution make the design, the materials don’t have to cost an arm and a leg to quality to look high quality.
At Reya Duenas Design, we use inviting contemporary style to deliver interior spaces that express our clients’ unique style. We work on commercial, hospitality and residential projects. We strive to share our expertise of visual storytelling by delivering distinct interiors that are driven by our client’s vision.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m in Orange County – so the beach is a must and if they have kids then we’re going to Disneyland! My itinerary would be loose because I plan so much for work – that on weekends or days off I’m very go with the flow and rarely make actual plans; I wait for friends to do most of the planning and I’ll throw in with a few suggestions here and there. My go-to for a date night would be sushi – Sushi on Fire in Huntington Beach has a KILLER refreshing roll! For girls night or cocktails – Lola’s Gaspar or Chapter One in Santa Ana. Puesto in Anaheim has an amazing Interior Design. There’s a ton of local breweries in the area as well!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My shoutout is awkward but the honest truth; I’m going to ShoutOut the Pandemic, Grocery Stores and Designer, Stacey Garcia! Weird combo – so let me explain. The Pandemic really gave me the push I needed to start my own business. I’ve always worked with or managed a team with my previous employers and fortunately I was always busy at work that by the time I was home I was too tired to work on any other side projects. I’ve been in the design field for 10+ years and I was pretty burnt out. By 2020; I had been bouncing around different fields of design to gain new experiences.
When the pandemic hit, I was forced to stop work, take and break and figure out how where my career was going. That didn’t last long. Four (4) weeks later, I was bored out of my mind so I looked for work because working is what I was used to. I hopped on LinkedIn and saw an email for designer Stacey Garcia- checking in on how we’re all doing with the state of the world. I thought it was random but decided to write back telling her my thoughts of starting a business. Shot back my response and went about my day.
A few weeks later I was doing grocery design because they were “essential”, which was definitely a shift and not my forte- especially for someone who orders online. Debating what to do I went online again and found a response from Stacey checking-in and asking me to schedule a call with her assistant. I was beyond surprised! I didn’t expect a response let alone asking to schedule a call.
That call was literally the call I needed to get started. We talked for over an hour and came up with an action plan for me to get started. She held me accountable and asked me to check-in so I had to get it done. I wasn’t going to just “talk the talk.” A few days later I posted an ad and found my first client!