Today we’d like to introduce you to Heather Ault.
Heather, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Interior design has been one of my interests for as long as I can remember. Growing up, my family lived through multiple home renovations/ builds, with my contractor father. My mother loved to take her kids to home tours and museums whenever she could. Being exposed to this led me to take interior design classes starting in high school. I eventually received my bachelors degree in Art/Interior Design from SDSU.
I didn’t immediately start in the field, however. I married my husband, Brian, in 1997, and we started our family right away. I was fortunate to be able to stay home with our three kids while they were little. To stay busy and have a creative outlet, I painted interior murals, taught art classes part-time, and would help friends with their home design projects.
After moving to the Del Sur community of San Diego, one of these friends posted on social media, thanking me for helping rebuild their home after a flood. From there, calls from people wanting interior design services started coming in. Although I had often thought about going back to work in the field, I hadn’t purposely set out to start Del Sur Designs. With a lot of support from my family and friends, it just sort of unfolded.
We (my husband, a few close friends, and I) sat down to develop a business plan, website, logo, etc. I also called another long time friend and designer, who owns an established design firm, and asked her to mentor me. Reaching out to others was the best business decision I’ve made thus far. I would not be here today if it weren’t for the continued advice of my friends and family.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I wouldn’t say smooth, but I have been very fortunate with how well we’ve done thus far. I’m proud to say almost all of our business is still from referrals. When I formed Del Sur Designs, there was a lot of interest from the beginning. This was awesome but required me practically working around the clock to figure out how to run the business.
Thankfully, I was able to hire people to handle some tasks with the early demand. Delegating certain aspects of this job to other people has been very beneficial. In the 3.5 years since we started, the company has grown and kinks are getting smoothed out still as we go.
For me, the creative design part is easier than running the business side; that has taken more time to understand. It’s taken a few years to figure out how to streamline certain aspects and develop relationships with reliable contractors and material vendors.
I’m now better at carving out more personal and family time when necessary, too. On the flip side, my family is pretty great about pitching in when I have a busy week. Del Sur Designs is a family run business; my husband and kids have all added to its success.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Del Sur Designs – what should we know?
Del Sur Designs is a full-service interior design company which specializes in residential design and home remodels. The area we service is most often in and around Del Sur, 4S Ranch, Rancho Santa Fe, Carmel Valley, and Del Mar.
I believe in taking a holistic approach when working in residential settings. The style of the home should reflect the family who lives inside. In receiving my degree, I was taught not to limit my work to just one style, but to adapt to what the client’s tastes are. We have clients build inspiration albums of spaces that they enjoy and have them go through a questionnaire to better understand the job requirements.
This is different from designing an office or commercial space, in that we want to incorporate the client’s individual tastes and personal effects. We work with our clients to develop the most functional as well as aesthetically beautiful designs possible. By understanding how people use their space, what their hobbies and interests are, etc., then incorporating personal touches; we hope to create a look that they will want to live in for years to come.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Honesty. Hands down. This is true for life in general, and definitely in our business. When running large projects such as home design, construction, and renovations, unexpected (sometimes very expensive) issues come up all the time.
While we can’t always anticipate everything we encounter, it’s how a company responds that shows it’s integrity. With experience, as well a professional network to reach out to, I always strive to give my clients my best advice and understanding throughout the process.
- Website: www.delsurdesigns.com
- Phone: 858-771-3295
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @delsurdesigns
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/delsurdesigns/
Kate Nazif, Katherine Eve Photography, Morgan Ault, Ault Photography