Anyone who describes their design style like a French 75 and has Frank Ocean on repeat is someone I want to get to know better. Sound like a girl you want to meet, too? Let us introduce you to Alanna Dunn, the owner of this chic Mid-century modern condo and a key player on the Reena Sotropa In House Design Group team. We sat down with Alanna to get a glimpse into the home she shares with her architect hubs, the daily routine that gets her going, life lessons and more.
Tell us a bit about how you got your start as a designer. Did you always know this is what you wanted to do?
I have loved design for as long as I can remember. Since the young age of ten, I have been giving my close friends and family unsolicited design advice. After graduating high school I momentarily considered a career in environmental science, thinking it would be a more reliable and stable career path, however, after completing one year of university, I found myself being called back to a more creative path and headed straight into design school, never looking back.
My career in interior design began with a brief stint in the commercial design industry before switching into residential work. Over seven years ago I joined Reena Sotropa‘s team as a junior designer and am still just as proud to be a member of her stellar team as I was the day I was hired! My role at In House Design Group has changed over the years, but my love for design and my teammates has never wavered.
If you had to describe your design style like a cocktail, what would it be?
If my design style were a cocktail it would be a French 75, a drink that has evolved over time, served with various twists and in different glasses before becoming what it is today.
Your husband Ryan is an architect. Do you two ever butt heads on design decisions, or is a simpatico relationship when it comes to design?
Being married to an architect is so fun, whenever we travel I have my own personal architectural tour guide who knows all the coolest buildings with an endless memory of who designed and lived in each one! When it comes to collaborations, we typically allow each other to be experts in our respective territories. Although I would be lying if I said we’d never had an argument about a hypothetical design situation that didn’t even exist.
Can you tell us a bit about your home that we’re featuring today? What was the inspiration behind the design?
The overall design direction of our home grew organically over the course of our time living here, the initial point of inspiration was born from my love of mid-century antiques. For the most part, I tried to keep a bright and white space that served as a warm and inviting backdrop to our collection of art, furniture, travel souvenirs and personal mementos.
What does your morning routine look like? What are a few things you do to get your day started off on the right foot?
On a good day, I’ll wake up at 5:30 and head straight to the gym, but admittedly there are also days where I hit snooze four times, skip breakfast and head into work with a topknot full of dry shampoo. I start each morning in the office with a huge mug of coffee while I check our studio’s social media platforms and my own e-mail inbox. I like to try and beat the rest of our team into the studio for a few minutes of quiet to get these things done before anyone else arrives. Once our whole team is in the office, to everyone’s annoyance, I usually blast Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 before digging into the current projects at hand.
What was the most valuable lesson you learned in your design career thus far?
Without a doubt, the best lesson I have learned is the value of surrounding yourself with a supportive team. The mentorship and lessons I have learned from working with my team have made me the successful designer I am today. Knowing this, I always try and pour the same kind of energy and education back into our team so we can all grow together. This lesson has served me well, and I have adopted the same approach towards the construction management of each of my projects, assembling trades that support great design and pulling on each members’ expertise to keep projects running smoothly.
You’re on a flight across the country and your entrepreneur crush sits next to you. Who would it be and why?
I don’t know if I have an entrepreneur crush, but it certainly would be interesting to sit next to Jen Gotch of Bando. I think she is hilarious and has done an incredible job of building her brand and opening up the conversation around mental health as a business owner.
We’re not a big fan of the terms ‘trends’, but are there ‘of the moment’ design elements you’re currently looking forward to using in your upcoming projects?
I have always had a strong love for natural textures in interior spaces, so the resurgence of caned furniture and wall textiles has been right up my alley!
Instagram account(s) you’re currently crushing on:
@mclarenexcell @jeanstofferdesign @chelsaeanne
Current favorite book and/or podcast:
I’ve been listening to the A Beautiful Mess’ podcast since it launched a few weeks ago and find it so fun to follow along with Elsie and Emma’s projects from afar!
3 must-haves on every shelfie:
A stack of beautiful books that are just as interesting to read as they are to look at. Something unique and one-of-a-kind, like a travel souvenir or flea market find. A fresh live plant in an interesting pot.
Favorite beats usually playing in the studio:
I’ve adopted the role of office DJ in our studio and have a few indie alternative playlists that I keep on constant rotation amongst 90s throwbacks, top 40 hits and a healthy dose of Frank Ocean!