Designer Profiles: Brielle Allen

Happy Fall! This season we are starting a new column on the blog, Designer Profiles, to feature interviews with the designers of MBI. We hope you enjoy this peak into the lives and backgrounds of the team members that make up our wonderful firm.




What led you to interior design?

Growing up I always had a project in progress. Whether it was making a house out of a cardboard box or drawing sketches of my dream home, I loved to create and imagine. As I got older, my mom let me help with design projects around the house like choosing paint colors, painting and then putting together the rooms--which I loved! I'm not sure when exactly I decided I wanted to be an interior designer but by the time I was in high school, I had already made up my mind it was what I wanted to pursue. Going to Iowa State and starting classes was so much fun, and then getting out into the real world after college and diving right into commercial design was such a learning experience. Now working in residential design, I truly feel that I've found my niche and love what I do!

What is your favorite part about your job?

By far it's seeing a project come together and hearing that my client is happy! I love working with clients to hear how they live their lives and what their homes mean to them. When all of the hard work, making revisions and getting things just right comes to fruition it is the best feeling to know that my client loves the end result!

Where do you look for inspiration?

Trends and styles are ever changing so I love looking through Instagram and Pinterest for fresh, new ideas. It's so convenient to flip through posts and have such a variety of images and inspiration at my fingertips.

Number one design tip you like to give?

Keep a neutral palette for your base design pieces. While I love incorporating color into designs, it works really well to keep the base pieces neutral (sofa, rugs, possibly even chairs) and then layer in the pops of color through pillows, artwork, and accessories. Colors can be trendy, so when a color scheme is out, it's easier to switch things out and give your space an updated look if your base pieces are neutral.



What is a common design mistake you see most, and how can clients avoid it?

A common mistake that I think can be easy to make is having too many things on the walls. It's easy to want to fill the negative or empty spaces on walls, but in design negative space can be a good thing! When hanging artwork or anything in a space, the scale of the piece needs to be taken into consideration to make sure it's appropriate. It's nice to have a focal point, and then working off of that to determine what the other walls in a space need. It's okay to leave some of the walls empty.

What does your own home say about you?

My home is a reflection of my family! My husband and I have a toddler so my decor has definitely changed over the last year and a half! I've embraced the beauty of toys intermixed with the other pieces in our home! I've also done quite a bit of re-arranging and editing (mainly getting rid of corners and hard surfaces!) to see what works best for us! I find that I like to change things frequently (probably because I'm inspired day in and day out in my profession), so I'm always thinking about my next project around the house!

What has influenced you most as a designer?

I think having a child has transformed how I think about design and how homes function (or don't function for that matter) for families. I am more in-tune to purposeful design, and designs that are functional and practical but still beautiful!

What is your favorite season to decorate for?

While I love decorating for Christmas, my favorite season is fall so I would say that's my favorite season to decorate for! I love the warmth of the colors outdoors as the leaves change, but I tend to keep my interior decor fairly neutral. I like to use burlap on my table decor with creams tones in the candles and accessories on top of that. I love switching out pillows and adding throw blankets to give my home a cozy feel. I think another reason that I love fall is because of all of the fall smells, so I usually have a spiced candle going and a hot mug of tea or cider at the end of the day!*

Favorite thing to do in Des Moines?

I love going to the Des Moines Farmer's Market in the summer time. The breakfast burritos and fresh flowers are always a must for me.

Favorite design splurge?

I have a weakness for pillows! I have purchased way too many throw pillows in my lifetime. I love switching them out and giving my room a new look each season.

*Next week Brielle is sharing her favorite picks for fall decorating on the blog! Stay tuned!