Designer Spotlight: Design Tec

In our ongoing Designer Spotlight Series, we talk with interior designers and architects to see what inspires them, and get insights to how they approach creating beautiful spaces. In this Spotlight we talk with Design Tec and find out a little bit more about their business and experience.

Stikwood: How long have you been in business as an interior designer?

Design Tec: We've been in business over 40 years.

Stikwood: Tell us a bit about your business and experience.

Design Tec: We are a full-service interior design firm based out of Newport Beach California. Founder Chris Johnson, worked for a model merchandising interior design firm for a very short time as a young designer when she realized she could be more creative, efficient, organized and ultimately more profitable having her own business and created her business, Design Tec. As with all entrepreneurs, she learned from the ground up and her interior design company grew quickly serving Southern California homebuilding clients. Through the years, Design Tec has grown in staff and has installed projects not only in several states but also internationally in Asia and Mexico. Design Tec has won countless industry design awards. Design Tec has evolved and expanded their scope of services to include multi family, office, senior living and residential design in addition to model merchandising.

Stikwood: We love how you incorporate personality into the rooms you design. Tell us how Stikwood helps you achieve that.

Design Tec: Stikwood is a great product because it has so many applications and colors. With much of our work in model merchandising, Stikwood is a great tool to create a variety of first impression “WOW” looks which is imperative in our challenge of building sales tools to sell new homes. We have used Stikwood product on feature walls, ceilings, behind built in shelves and in stairwells to create interest and an instant layer of depth and texture. We also love the ease of installation and affordability so that potential DIY homebuyers can envision the same treatments they see in the models for their own homes.

Stikwood: What would you say is your “signature style”?

Design Tec: If we had to narrow it down to one signature style, it would be soft contemporary.

We work in a variety of genres; contemporary, modern, minimal, farmhouse and transitional, but all are executed with a very simple, tailored and clean hand. With even the most modern and minimal schemes that can often execute cold or sterile, we strive to maintain an inviting atmosphere with warmth and softness with the use of texture and interest in the backgrounds.

Stikwood: What was your favorite project using Stikwood products? What made it so special?

Design Tec: We installed a neighborhood in the master plan of Skyline in Santa Clarita for Tri Pointe Homes a couple years ago. The community attracts families that enjoy the great outdoors with a lot of walking trails and outdoor activities. We had one model that had a contemporary rustic twist and we used reclaimed weathered wood grey Stikwood extensively for texture to balance the clean lines of the contemporary scheme. We typically have a “running thread” of a treatment that we use throughout a home to create continuity…. elements such as shiplap, patterned accent tiles or theme patterned area rugs. In this model, we used Stikwood as our “running thread” and showcased it in a variety of rooms and surfaces. The interior felt unique and the Stikwood texture provided the right complement and juxtaposition to the contemporary furnishings and finishes.

Stikwood: What is your best piece of advice to offer someone who wants to redecorate a room on their own?

Design Tec: The best advice we can offer is to take time to consider the function of the new space. Collect a lot of images and really study what resonates in terms of style and color. Think through your budget and be realistic with what you can spend. Price out all materials and get labor bids before you start. Get clear on what doesn’t work in the original space and work hard to solve those problems. Do you need more seating? More light? More flexibility? Does the existing electrical support the new layout? Consider how the new space will flow with adjoining rooms. Always get real samples of materials and bring them to your space to see if they work when possible to avoid costly mistakes. The light is always different in retail spaces and can change the look of things dramatically when you get them home. Even after years of experience, we never trust the color in a showroom, on a computer screen or in a brochure. Most of all, have your new space reflect your personality, your needs and support what makes you feel most at home.

Stikwood: Where can people go to find out more about your services?

Design Tec: Our website is

Photo Credits:

Project: Mystral at Skyline | Builder: Tri Pointe Homes

Photographer: Tsutsumida Pictures | Interior Design: Design Tec, Inc

"Most of all, have your new space reflect your personality, your needs and support what makes you feel most at home."

- Design Tec


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