Toast the Expert by Renewal by Andersen presents Design by Tula [partner]

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Renewal by Andersen relies on professional interior designers to bring its award-winning, energy-efficient window and door products to life in clients’ homes. Now Renewal by Andersen wants to individually recognize talented designers with its Toast the Expert special feature on Triangle Today.

Q. Tell us about yourself.
A. My name is Tula Summerford and I’m the owner of Design by Tula. I serve Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and beyond.

Q. Tell us about your education, experience or biggest influences.
A. I studied at The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. I worked for two of the most prestigious design houses in the textile industry and was responsible for identifying the newest fashion and color trends for each new season and developing the company’s new fabric and product lines. I relocated to North Carolina where I became the new products design and development manager for Westwood Incorporated, designing and overseeing all fabric and design development.

Q. What do you enjoy most about interior design?
A. I love planning, researching and hunting for unique furnishings, fabrics and wallpapers to create a beautiful, yet comfortable space to meet my client’s needs and style.

Q. How would you describe your style?
A. Classic, rooted in traditional, but I love to add a bit of edge to the formal elements of design. Combining style with livability is always my goal!

Q. Which design trends are you most excited about this year?
A. Concrete. The concrete look is here and it’s ready to bring a subtle yet sophisticated edge to interiors. It can be used on floors, counter tops, furniture — there is no end to where concrete can be used in a project.

Q. What are your favorite types of clients to work with?
A. Clients that are open-minded with positive attitudes are always fun!

Q. What/who inspires you right now?
A. I have always been inspired by color, texture and travel. I’m mostly inspired by design and architecture from the past and the present. I look to the past for my forward-thinking projects.

Q. How do you consider natural light when designing a space?
A. Most clients are surprised when I talk about natural lighting and how important it can be when designing a space. Natural lighting is so appealing because it is dynamic — for example brightness of light affects the paint and fabric colors as it fluctuates through the day. Designs featuring natural light are beginning to pop up across the country, but the element has yet to become a trend locally.

Q. What new trends in windows & doors are you using?
A. The trend is leaning toward more modern and contemporary style spaces. That minimalism style includes doors and windows. Doors with clean lines, simple shapes, dark colors and lots of glass. Floor-to-ceiling windows are taking over, and I love it!

Q. If someone could look through a window into your dream room, what would they see?
A. My master bedroom is my ode to Old Paris. Ornate furnishings, antique accents and rich fabrics are hallmarks of traditional French style. My bedroom is an eclectic mix of French and English antiques I’ve acquired from my European buying trips. I have mixed in a few modern pieces to create a more comfortable space.

See more of Tula’s work on Houzz.

Nominate an interior designer for our Toast the Expert series.

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