Check out our curated list of Orange County’s top interior designers in 2022.
When it comes to making a house a home, you look to someone who you can trust to bring your vision to life. That’s where an ICONIC interior designer comes into play. With contagious energy and passion that translates directly into their work, a blank slate becomes a masterpiece. ICONIC LIFE selected the top designers of 2022 who inspire us with the magic that they bring into homes across Southern California. A good interior designer changes the way a space feels, but only the best designers can change how a space makes you feel. Check out who made our curated list of the best designers in Orange County this year.
Courtesy of Barclay Butera
BARCLAY BUTERA | Barclay Butera Interiors
For almost two decades, Barclay Butera has been the creative force behind his renowned design firm and showroom in Newport Beach, California. Because of his immense success, Butera eventually opened showrooms in Park City, Utah, and Corona del Mar, California as well as ventured into licensing.
His glamorous and chic interiors landed him some of the most respected partners in the industry including Lexington Home Brands indoor furnishings, Eastern Accents bedding and luxury down, Napa Home & Garden decor and accessories, Jaipur Living area rugs, Castelle outdoor furniture and Bradburn Home lighting. Barclay’s impeccable talent, undeniable good looks and humble but confident disposition are what catapulted Butera into the limelight. He’s appeared on every major television network, including NBC, ABC, Fox, CBS and HGTV, plus has been featured in House & Garden, ELLE DÉCOR, Architectural Digest, Esquire, Coastal Living and other major print publications.
Courtesy of Barclay Butera
Barclay can also add another project to his resume: author. Over the years, Barclay has released six books, most recently, The New Traditional, where he presents homes that showcase his passions and tells the story of the new traditional style. If you want to add a little more Barclay flair to your home in addition to his book on your coffee table, you can head over to his e-commerce site and bring a little Barclay Butera design into your every day.
ANITA DAWSON | Dawson Design Group
Something you should know about Anita is that she loves talking about all things design! She could go on and on, bragging about different projects that she and her amazing team have worked on over the years! She and her team of eight at Dawson Design Group have received quite a few accolades during her almost two decades designing modern new homes, but what Anita is most proud of is the long-standing relationships she has developed with architects, builders and contractors. Anita believes that ultimately, it is your experience, the team beside you, and the relationships in your field that make the biggest difference when you’re in the thick of a huge design project.
Courtesy of Anita Dawson
Before becoming the designer she is today, Anita trained in the performing and fine arts, with previous career highlights as both a professional dancer and an arts administrator. Drawing on a multidisciplinary background in the arts, she understands how bodies move through space — which has translated to creating not only beautiful homes but places you want to live in.
Within minutes of meeting Anita, her sense of humor and approachability will draw you in. Her clients know she has exquisite taste and vision, which, paired with the integrity you expect to see in the principal leading a major design project, makes for a beautiful working relationship. What Anita loves most is teaming up with gutsy clients who see the joy in making modern spaces feel like home.
Courtesy of Dawson Design Group
She sees client engagements as a partnership with kindness, respect, and trust at its foundation. This approach has been fundamental to her success and is what the team looks for when committing to new projects. And their clients? “They inspire us at every turn,” she says. “Bringing to life the things that they love and keeps us motivated at every step in the process.”
Courtesy of Fullen Enany Design Group
MICHAEL FULLEN & OMAR ENANY | Fullen Enany Design Group
Founded in 2003 and most recently known as Michael Fullen Design Group, Inc. has now rebranded as Fullen Enany Design Group, inc, the latest iteration is the result of the collaboration of Michael Fullen and Omar Enany. Omar has been an integral part of the design team since 2015 and Michael Fullen started the firm in 2003. Together with their team of design professionals have designed and collaborated in the build of more than 100 homes along the coast of Southern California. In recent years the firm has spread its wings on many occasions and has now designed homes in New England, New York, Arizona, Washington, Idaho, Mexico and Kuwait as well as Southern California.
The duo will continue to follow the principles and practices that have made them a standout in the design industry, no matter how large they grow. At their inception, as a small company, they were able to adapt and meet the needs of every client, architect and builder on every project, and now, through all of their success and changes, they have vowed to keep these core values to best serve their clients.
The firm’s fresh esthetic and exclusive designs have landed them features in Robb Report, HOOM, California Homes, Luxe in addition to other reputable publications. Their work appeals to luxury homeowners with an appreciation for the distinct designs and high-quality furnishings that the team is known for. The homeowner is the firm’s top priority when creating an aesthetically pleasing space that caters to their lifestyle and needs, resulting in the home they’ve always dreamed of.
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Courtesy of Fullen Enany Design Group
Fullen Enany Design Group, Inc. is dedicated to outstanding customer service and the relationships built with the homeowners, architects, builders and craftsmen on every project. Their unwavering commitment to every project is what makes them stand out in the industry.
RONA GRAF | Grace Blu Design
Because of her vision for her design studio to be a “collaborative of creative,” Rona Graf made a conscious decision to not use her own name when launching Grace Blu in 2007. The combined experience and skills between Rona and her team paired with their client-centric approach allow them to consistently create fresh and unique spaces.
The Grace Blu team strongly believes in collaboration and attributes their limitless success to their ability to build and establish long-lasting relationships with not only clients but contractors and other design professionals that they meet along the way. These important relationships continue to inspire the team to provide cutting-edge designs for their clientele, allowing them to create distinct, extraordinary designs.
Rona and her team are committed to juxtaposing modern and classic elements to create timeless yet contemporary spaces for each and every client, in both the commercial and residential space. You can credit her midwest roots and love of world travel for her unique and sophisticated approach to design.
Courtesy of Grace Blu
Grace Blu has made its mark on the design world and has been featured in both regional and national publications like HGTV Magazine, Better Homes & Gardens, Orange County Register, Arch Digest and Modern Luxury. In 2020, Grace Blu even won HGTV’s Designer of the Year for their work on their Balboa Cottage project in the Lido House Hotel in Newport Beach, California.
Grace Blu is based out of Orange County, California but has recently taken its creativity to the East Coast; the team now has another office in Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina.
DONNA JOHNSON | Luxe-Design
For over 40 years, Donna Johnson, principal at Luxe-Design, has been taking the design world by storm. You can tack on even more if you count the work she did for her dad, a developer, starting at the age of 12. Helping him with his projects helped her develop a love of design and architecture, and the rest is history.
Donna is now a leader in the international design world, working with high-end commercial and real estate clients across the spectrum. She finds inspiration from incredible architecture from coast to coast, high fashion runways and her worldwide travels. Donna loves using her creativity to put a smile on a client’s face, and her dedication to every project has not gone unrecognized. She has been featured in many digital and print publications including Luxury Magazine, Luxe Interiors + Design Magazine and GG Magazine.
Her team at Luxe-Design practices collaborative design and uses their expertise to tailor spaces to their clients’ personalities, lifestyles and demographics. Their impressive client list includes top A-Listers in the entertainment world, athletes and Fortune 500 executives and their design portfolio has taken them all over the world.
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Courtesy of Luxe-Design
The firm creates relationships with developers and architects on every project, serving as a liaison when developing floor plans, selecting interior architecture, specifications and furnishing the homes. Oftentimes Donna will design the furniture herself. From the first blueprint to the last finishing touch, Luxe-Design is a full-service design firm ready to help you every step of the way.
Luxe-Design has full-service showrooms located in both Orange County, California and Las Vegas, Nevada.
MINDY LAVEN | Mindy Laven Home
Southern California-based interior designer Mindy Laven has it going on. Known for capturing the quintessential old-school surf aesthetic of California beach towns through many of her unforgettable projects, her eye for design has led to features in House Beautiful, Domino, Rue, American Farmhouse Style, Cottages and Bungalows, and many more.
Upon meeting her, you instantly feel her love of aesthetics and her desire to help clients create warm, inviting spaces. Laven says, “A house becomes a home when you breathe new life into it. Whether it’s a new build or a renovation, it’s a fresh opportunity to contribute to the soul of the home.”
Courtesy of Mindy Laven
Rooted in the hearts and souls of the people who live there, Laven’s projects are inspired by both what has been and what is to come for the homeowners. “Good design values the history of the home while creating a beautiful space for future memories to be made,” she added.
Each project is tailored to reflect the spirit of the homeowners. Laven says that getting to know her clients is the most important part of her job. “Far beyond the brick and mortar and the case goods is the intrinsic nature that the house will embody. I take my projects to heart. When a house is complete, it should rise up to meet its owners in a way that unequivocally says “We’re home!”
EMERGING TOP DESIGNER
ALI FAULKNER | AEF Interiors
Like many designers, Ali Faulkner believes that the process of designing and remodeling your home should be a fun one. She is committed to making every project collaborative and as stress-free as possible while bringing fun to every experience!
Before she officially launched her interior design business, Ali worked in luxury hospitality and consulting for 13 years. Through this experience, she discovered and held on to the importance of customer service and creating unique experiences for every client.
AEF Interiors is a full-service interior design firm bringing modern interiors for a California lifestyle. The firm offers design services from furnishing your home to remodeling your kitchen. Maybe you will be inspired like Ali was and start a passion project of your own!
Courtesy of AEF Interiors