Featured photo by Bill Hazlegrove.
Theresa Dorlini, co-founder of Circle Design Studio, takes meaningful connections seriously. As Principal Interior Designer and Creative Director, she works closely with both residential and commercial clients to “develop a cohesive design concept that reflects their personal style or branding.” She has made quite an impression on the design community over the course of her 20-year career, and has even taught design at James Madison University and Arizona State University. Her recent achievements include seven first place awards at the Virginia Interior Design Excellence Awards in Richmond. Many of these awards were the result of projects she and the Circle Design Studio team completed in the Roanoke area.
Perhaps this recognition is due, in part, to the fact that Theresa and her team approach each new project with an open mind. They aren’t afraid of challenges like removing load-bearing walls, and they don’t shy away from difficult topics like decluttering. Their goal is to define the problems and find solutions that will change their clients’ lives for the better.
Decluttering is only part of the equation in residential projects, but it is an important part. A recent a trend in America, it has taken some adjustment in a country known for consumerism. Theresa wants clients to find the things they’ve collected over time and see how they can fit those things into their space. However, she does not believe purchasing decor for the sake of having a lot of stuff.
“There is only so much you can do by adding stuff to a space. I grew up in Asia, and there is something about minimalism that I really love,” she explains. “You are still able to collect things that mean something to you, but not over collect. The bones and interior architecture should set the stage, but the items you put in it should mean something to you.”
In addition to using her design experience in projects, she also uses her observations as a mother to help create spaces that are stylish and functional for families. She and her husband/co-founder of Circle Design Studio, John Dorlini, are raising four children under the age of ten. Things aren’t always perfect, she admits, but it is possible to have quality family time and pursue professional ambitions. Teamwork, at home and at the office, makes things easier. Ultimately, it is also about being open, honest, and forgiving yourself for the speed bumps along the way.
“We have a successful business, and I do work really hard. However, we are deliberate about how we include the kids. They come and do their homework here at the conference table after school,” she says. “You have to have support. I never want people to sit there and think, ‘You have it all together. Why don’t I have it all together?’”
The fact that the balancing act between professional and personal is not always perfect is something that Theresa wants parents to feel more comfortable discussing. Even if you are not ready to redesign your home or business just yet, her blog is worth exploring for multiple reasons. In her new section, “Designer Mom,” Theresa is candid about her experiences as a professional and a parent, which is refreshing in an age where social media leads us to believe in a definition of perfection that does not always exist. Find more information on Theresa’s accomplishments and a link to her blog on Circle Design Studio’s website.
Written by Hayleigh Worgan