CharmHouse Interiors is an interior design studio based in South Florida. Its founder, Alabama-born Farah Downs tells us about the essence of her work: helping people be happy. She does this not only as an interior designer, but also as a psychologist. Learn more about her work in this interview for byDesign!
What is your favorite part about being a designer?
My favorite part about being a designer is having a hand in helping people feel happier in their everyday lives.
Who or what would you cite as your most important influence?
My most important influence is twofold– my upbringing in Alabama, and my Persian heritage.
Can you tell us about your personal brand?
My brand is a little bit boho, a little bit modern, and a whole lot of charm.
What is your favorite color palette to work with?
I love to start with a neutral palette and build interest through texture, and then add pops of color inspired by the client’s personality.
If you could travel back, what advice would you give yourself as you start this career?
If I knew then what I know now, I think I would have opened CharmHouse Interiors much sooner. The growth and happiness I have found just in the past few years has been incredible. I’ve created a business I am very proud of and have worked hard to build from the bottom up.
Please give us an overview of the more personal side of your business, how did it come to be, any interesting stories about the origin you can share?
My story starts in Alabama, where I was born, raised, and attended college/graduate school. I moved to South Florida about seven years ago for a job as a School Psychologist with Broward County Public Schools, and during that year I met my husband. (Fun fact — I am actually still a full-time school psychologist with BCPS! Helping people has always been my calling, and now I get to do that in different yet equally satisfying ways.)
Growing up in the south, you could always find me “oohing and aahing” over brick homes with history and character (think wrap-around porches, ornate fireplaces/chimneys, and that inexplicable southern charm). Fast forward to house hunting for my first home in South Florida, I realized that my dream “southern” home didn’t exist here. The typical middle-class home in South Florida is pretty limited to cookie-cutter Mediterranean-esque exteriors with stucco walls, tile roofs, and terra-cotta color schemes. Though there is much beauty to be found in this aesthetic, I found myself homesick for the character and indefinable charm of southern homes.
We ultimately bought a cookie-cutter-Mediterranean-style home, but I began to transform the interior in a way that made my southern soul happy. As I was doing this, friends and family gushed over my personal style – so much so that they began asking me to help decorate their own homes. A few referrals and “word-of-mouths” later, CharmHouse Interiors was born. I think the reason CharmHouse has had the success that it has is because it was born as a passion project and grew fairly organically.
Do you have anything you can share about how you and/or your firm have been affected by COVID-19, and any tips for other designers on how to navigate and cope?
I’m trying not to look at this time as a negative for my business. As of now, things are still running at a similar pace– we’re just navigating things differently. I’m using the extra time to push projects forward, but also get on top of business systems, marketing, and general processes. Being able to regroup and focus on how we do things is key to improving how the business runs and will only benefit us once we regain normalcy.
What do you like most about DesignerInc?
I love the convenience of having so many to-the-trade sources in one virtual platform, but my favorite feature is that you can upload an inspiration photo and DesignerInc will try to source the item for you.
What sets CharmHouse Interiors apart from other design companies?
CharmHouse Interiors specializes in curating the essence of you into bespoke spaces. In other words, we aim to turn the cookie-cutter houses of South Florida into custom homes with charm and individuality. Though the inspiration for each project differs, one theme remains the same – our interiors radiate with authenticity, character, and of course, charm.
What sets us apart from other interior design companies is that we focus less on nailing particular design aesthetics and more on making people feel happier in their everyday lives. When you purchase a design package with us, you are giving yourself the opportunity to actually ENJOY the life you are living and focus on creating memories in your home (rather than wasting what little free time you have worrying about which dining table will both impress your in-laws and accommodate everyone you are hosting for the holidays).
Follow her on Instagram: @charmhouseinteriors