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Meet Aleigh Sampson of Dwelling Well Design in Encinitas

Today we’d like to introduce you to Aleigh Sampson.

Aleigh, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Well, let’s start from the very beginning then! As a very young child, I had this dream of opening my own pet hotel. In my mind, it was this luxurious five-star hotel (think The Plaza in NYC) with floor to ceiling glass and beautiful puppies running around everywhere. What could be better? Thank goodness as I got a little older, I started to see the flaws in that business model. What I did realize, however, is that while I loved the thought of huskies and retrievers all under one stinky roof together, it was the interior that I was so enamored with. It was a love affair all through my growing up years. In my pre-teens, I remember asking my mom if I could paint every wall in my room a different color, to which she said absolutely not…thank goodness. I would spend hours arranging furniture in my American Girl “mini room” (anyone?) on the daily.

My dad was my greatest inspiration in my formative years, but even more so by the legacy he left. He started a little business out of the back of his welding truck not too long before I was born, and quickly grew into one of the largest non-union steel fabrication companies in California. I remember getting up early on Saturday mornings and getting go to work with him. He would give me some trivial task to do, but I remember being so intrigued and curious about this matter of having your own business. I feel fortunate in that I was always pretty clear on what my passion was in life, and that the only thing I could picture myself doing was interior design from a very young age. But it was my dad that believed I could do anything I set my mind to for as long as I can remember, and I think it was one of the greatest gifts he ever gave me. He is the reason that when I started to consider an interior design business of my own, even though that little voice in my head was terrified to take the risk, I did anyways.

Right after high school, I started studying interior design. After I finished my degree, I started working for a design-build firm right out of school, specializing in kitchen remodels, bathroom remodels, and additions. I had the opportunity to spend almost five years at the company and gain experience in many of the company’s departments, giving me a versatile skillset. I was trained in the technical side of construction, management of a showroom and sourcing exceptional products, estimating every single nut and bolt of a job, and being the point person from the second I walked into the clients’ home to the final walk-through. The hands-on training and my mentors were invaluable. For those looking to start in this industry, I cannot recommend more working for a company where you get to experience first-hand the life cycle of a client and all of the moving parts under one roof.

I loved the client interaction aspect as well as solving a problem my clients brought to me that would completely change their everyday lives for the better, but there was something missing for me. I needed more of a creative outlet, and I found that I wanted to be involved in more than just a kitchen or a bathroom renovation; I wanted to be able to help my clients with every little detail of the house, or that particular room. Because while it’s nice to have a brand new kitchen, my clients would have a living room in the same line of sight that wasn’t cohesive with the improvements they were making to their home. Every space affects the next, and I realized my hands were tied in helping my clients achieve that harmonious feeling in their home. I had experience in the more complicated technical side of design, but I wanted to be able to curate the space with beautiful products that are always the finishing touch to an already well-designed room. That’s when I started seriously considering starting my business – where I could specialize in full-home renovations, new construction builds, and get to help my clients with their home as a whole – instead of having to compartmentalize certain elements.

I started my own business at the very end of 2018, and I can confidently say it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I have a wonderful team, and we are creating something really extraordinary. It started as a pipe dream. The more energy I put into it and the more I shared with people what I was doing, the more real it became, and here we are today!

Has it been a smooth road?
Certain aspects were easier than I expected, some struggles I didn’t anticipate at all. I knew that this would be a labor of love, and I was committed to doing whatever it took from the beginning. As a self-proclaimed workaholic, I spent every waking moment working on some aspect of my business. Until very recently, it was a struggle to not do anything work-related even one day a week and to be present in all of the other aspects of my life. The amazing thing that has happened is the more I practice self-care and prioritizing the things and people in my life that bring me joy, the more enjoyable and fulfilling my professional life has gotten. I think as entrepreneurs, we have this illusion that if we don’t work an exorbitant amount of hours, we’re not working as hard. Getting through my head that it’s actually the exact opposite has been a pleasant surprise, to say the least.

We have been very fortunate in that we have grown at a substantial rate in a short amount of time. As a business owner, I have found if I don’t adapt to growth constantly, and I become complacent, our clients will suffer. Each stage of growth we go through is totally new for us, so I really get to take inventory of every aspect in that particular moment in time and make adjustments accordingly. I truly believe that if we continue to constantly evaluate our systems and processes and ask ourselves what the best practice is for any given circumstance, we are creating the best customer-service experience for our clients, and making it easier for ourselves in the process. As a team, we are committed to never settle, but to take the time to make improvements when we see they are needed – because we realize the return will be worth every minute and dollar spent.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Dwelling Well Design is a full-service interior design firm, with projects ranging throughout the country. Our mission is the same, regardless of the client or the size of your project: to help you achieve the highest possible return on every precious moment of your life. We believe that starts in our environments. It has been proven that our home creates a profound impact on our emotional state, what we set out to do, who we decide to be every day and our overall well being. It is not lost on us the immense trust that our clients place in us to bring their vision to fruition, and we are humbled by the opportunity to get to have a small part in enhancing their lives and the lives of those they love.

We value every type of project, and so we don’t discriminate based on size or scope. We have experience in and specialize in new construction homes, full home renovations, kitchen and bathroom remodels, single-room makeovers, and everything in between.

What sets us apart from others is our extensive, hands-on experience in the construction industry. Designers get a bad rap for not always being realistic about a design, how feasible it is based on their clients’ budget, and how it relates to other decisions in the construction process. We have seen the frustration clients experience when their budget all of a sudden spikes by 40% because the designer and contractor weren’t seeing eye to eye early on.

What makes us unique as a company is the partnerships we’ve created with architects, engineers, contractors, and various tradespeople. Sometimes when we’re brought into a job, our client has already started working with a contractor, and that’s great too. But we realize how stressful, tedious, and just plain scary it is for homeowners to hire people they have no prior experience working with. We have a wide network of relationships, and we love connecting our clients to the people we think will be the best fit for them, depending on the personality and scope of work. We have a very specialized list of general contractors we recommend that work with us and our clients so that 1) a detailed budget is provided before any work starts, so that no hidden change orders come up halfway through the job 2) a project manager is on-site every day running the job and ensuring the work being done is in concordance the exact design on the job drawings and 3) the job is scheduled in advance and adhered to, so that our clients have some predictability to their life during that challenging construction time. Some of our clients have learned the hard way through previous projects, realizing they didn’t know what questions to ask before hiring someone and just went off of “good feelings,” which usually doesn’t end well. This isn’t something we require when we work with clients, but we’ve found it to be a tremendous resource for them. It has helped take some work off of their plates when we can connect them with the right people.

What we are most proud of as a company is the blood, sweat, and tears we’ve put into building a process that not only works – our client’s expectations are far exceeded because of the ease and organization that went into their project. Everyone loves a beautiful finished project, but what was the process like getting there? We put just as much emphasis on every interaction we have with our clients each step of the way as the finishing touches on the big reveal day.

What are your plans for the future? What are you looking forward to or planning for – any big changes?
We are pretty simple, I suppose, but we can’t wait to reach more people and transform the very spaces they live their lives. That’s what we’re all about!

We are starting to get into the commercial realm and collaborating with some really unique businesses locally…it’s all under wraps right now, but more on that soon! We are definitely looking to expand our reach commercially – coffee shops, restaurants, small business offices, and brick and mortar storefronts.

We are also always looking for charity opportunities in our community and would love to give the gift of design to a family in need.

Pricing:

  • $135/hr. (20 hour minimum)

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Josef Gutierrez, Alec Engerbretson

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