Great Design Advice by the Hour

Although some interior designers work only on big projects, here are two dozen—including well-known names and promising up-and-comers—you can hire for just a few hours.

By: Denise Kersten Wills

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Great Design Advice by the Hour

Denise Wills wrote about her experience with three interior designer consultations in the August issue of The Washingtonian, on stands now. 

Barbara Hawthorn Interiors, McLean; 703-241-5588. Hawthorn strives for “timeless, trend-resistant design” in a wide range of styles. She does in-home consultations for $300 an hour, with a two-hour minimum.

Camille Saum, Bethesda; 301-657-9817. Saum, who has a strong sense of color, has been in business more than 20 years and charges $150 an hour, with no minimum.

Celeste E. Davis, Northeast DC; 202-526-1349. Davis does a lot of transitional and contemporary design; she charges $250 for a two-hour consultation.

Cole Prévost, Northwest DC; 202-234-1090. Sophie Prévost works mostly with modern designs; she offers in-home color consultations for $225 an hour. “Color is something that can really make a big difference in a space and can be done in a small amount of time,” Prévost says.

Design Partners, McLean; 703-242-0886. Nancy Colbert, who likes to mix styles and periods, does consultations for $150 an hour. She designed a soothing, spa-like master bathroom in last year’s DC Design House.

Draza Stamenich, McLean; 703-448-5901. Stamenich, an up-and-comer whose laundry room was a hit at the DC Design House this spring, charges $160 an hour for consultations.

Drysdale Design Associates, Northwest DC; 202-588-0700. Mary Douglas Drysdale, a prominent Washington designer, charges $250 an hour for short consultations. “I love problem solving,” she says. “That’s what drives me.”

Emily Bishop, Northeast DC; 202-232-4161. Bishop, who does a lot of clean-lined design, offers a three-hour consultation for $500. Two hours are in your home; she then spends an hour putting together a packet of resources. She also teaches continuing-education design classes at the Corcoran.

Frank Babb Randolph Interior Design, Northwest DC; 202-944-2120. Randolph, the self-described “old dean of the Washington design crowd,” has been in the business more than 40 years. He charges $200 an hour, with a two-hour minimum. During that time, he’ll generate “big picture” ideas for a room. “It’s all about finding the priorities, not the curtains and carpet,” he says.

Gary Lovejoy Associates, Northwest DC; 202-333-5200. Lovejoy favors clean, modern designs and neutral earth tones. He offers one-time design advice for $250 an hour, with a minimum of two hours.

Gunter-Hatch Design Group, Great Falls; 703-444-8899. Partners Tami Hatch and Pattie Gunter do a lot of transitional designs, but they can also work in traditional and modern styles. They charge $135 an hour.

Houseworks Interiors, Old Town Alexandria; 703-519-1900. Owner Dee Thornton offers general design advice for $250 an hour, with a minimum of four hours. “This service is typically for clients who want to downsize or work with what they have and plan into the future,” Thornton says.

Iantha Carley, Silver Spring; 202-285-2374. Carley creates rooms that are classic yet comfortable. She’ll come to your home and create a plan you can implement over time. She charges $100 an hour, with no minimum.

Justine Sancho Interior Design, Potomac; 301-765-6034. Sancho, who has done work for some of Washington’s wealthiest families, offers design services for $200 an hour. She says, “The goal is to give someone a sophisticated, warm environment they can be comfortable with.”

Liz Levin, Northwest DC; 202-333-5386. Levin, who specializes in high-impact modern interiors, charges $300 for two hours. A consultation with her associate designer, Heather Safferstone, is $225. For both designers, it’s $500.

Material Differences, Sterling; 703-404-3327. Jennie Curtis and her staff offer two levels of consultations—advising on just paint colors, or paint colors plus textiles and floor plans. The latter includes fabric swatches. Curtis’s style leans toward the traditional. A consultation is $175 an hour.

Matt Costigan, Southwest DC; 202-488-9787. Costigan owns the Michael Cleary furniture showroom at the Washington Design Center, but he draws from other resources for his design practice. He likes to incorporate what clients already have. “Your home should speak of your travels and who you are,” he says. Costigan charges $125 an hour.

Sally Steponkus, Northwest DC; 202-237-9872. Steponkus, known for putting a fresh twist on traditional interiors with bright colors and geometric patterns, is offering a “recession special”: $250 for 90 minutes with either her or associate designer Heather Safferstone (who also works for Liz Levin).

Sandra Meyers Design Studio, Rockville; 301-929-9788. Meyers’s elegant designs range from traditional to contemporary and often incorporate subtle colors. She charges $140 an hour for consultations.

Sarah Wessel, Northwest DC; 202-337-1910. Wessel favors soft colors and pretty patterns in her mostly traditional rooms. She offers paint consultations and furniture placement for $100 to $150 an hour, depending on the job.

SCW Interiors
, Alexandria; 703-549-2449. The child’s room Shazalynn Cavin-Winfrey did for the Washington Design Center’s spring showhouse had a cozy built-in bed and storage, a smart solution for a small space. She does mostly transitional designs and focuses on creating a long-term plan for each room. A consultation is $350 for up to two hours.

Susan Thompson, Northwest DC; 202-537-3954. Thompson, who worked at Bethesda’s Urban Country before striking out on her own, charges $125 an hour and tailors her style to fit clients’ personalities.

Tracy Morris, Bethesda; 240-482-0586. Morris favors neutral colors and a clean, tailored look with a modern edge. She’ll spend two hours picking colors and arranging furniture for $350.

Weiss Designs, Bethesda; 301-881-2610. Marlene Weiss Alexander has been in the business 25 years and works in styles from traditional to contemporary. She charges $175 an hour.

The Well-Furnished Garden & Home, Bethesda; 301-469-0268. Marjory Segal likes to mix French and English country styles with pieces from other periods. She designs both interiors and outdoor living spaces and charges $125 an hour for consultations, with a two-hour minimum.