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Wednesday, Feb 28, 2024

Interior Design Profile: Norma Byrd, Norma Byrd/Design Innovations

Interior designer Norma Byrd is definitely her own boss. She’s at the helm of Norma Byrd/Design Innovations and has been named president of the American Society of Interior Designers’ San Diego chapter, which has grown to more than 500 designer members.

She says her work is highly personal and geared to individual clients, whether residential or commercial.

“My job is to ask questions, analyze and provide designs which the clients want, but with guidance to what I know they also need and will ultimately enjoy,” Byrd says. “Practical livability and efficiency toward work is paramount, but I firmly believe they can and must be blended with aesthetics for the best final results. Seldom is there only one design solution, often there are several possibilities.”

Byrd says she strives to provide her clients with as many choices as she can and helps distill them into one design selection that is as close to perfect as, together, they can make it.

RESUM & #201;

Name: Norma Byrd.

Company: Norma Byrd/Design Innovations.

Title: Professional interior designer.

Education: Liberal Arts degree, University of Missouri at Kansas City; one year of architectural design and graphics studies, Cuyamaca College; three years of professional design studies at the Design Institute of San Diego.

Birthplace: Kansas City, Mo.

Current residence: Unfinished house in Point Loma.

Family: Two sisters, daughter and son.


Essential business philosophy: To provide the most personalized design possible for my clients.

Best way to keep a competitive edge: Stay in tune with latest design technology via publications, continuing education, and the Internet; Listen to what clients want and guide them to the best way to achieve that; Be able to do something other designers can’t do.

Guiding principles: Integrity, thoroughness and patience.

Yardsticks of success: Clients who become permanent friends.

Goals yet to be achieved: Find another $100,000 to finish my beautiful “dream house with a view.”


Best business decision: To return to design school at age 50.

Worst business decision: Not to continue an architectural education started 10 years earlier.

Toughest business decision: Having to turn my own project that was supposed to be a remodel into a teardown and new construction.

Biggest missed opportunity: I guess if I missed it, I didn’t know about it.

Mentor: An older designer, who is no longer with us, who encouraged diversification when I emerged from design school during a deep recession.

Words that describe you: Tenacity and optimism.


What you like best about your job: The flow of creativity , seeing a design blossom into reality.

What you like least about your job: Bookkeeping!

Pet peeves: Clients who must check with their neighbors, in-laws, and coffee buddies to see if they like the design. (Very few do that, Thank God!) Also, unrealistic design budgets. You don’t find fine champagne in a plastic bottle.

Most important lesson learned: Never try to second guess or limit myself to what a client says they want. Sometimes they don’t really know all of the possibilities until I show them.

Person most interested in meeting: God? But not just yet!

Three greatest passions: Good food, good wine, good friends, not necessarily in that order.

First choice for a new career: Architecture.


Favorite quote: “On the plains of hesitation bleach the bones of countless millions, who, at the dawn of victory, sat down to wait, and waiting, died.” , George W. Cecil. If that’s too somber I also like a more positive quote from “The Desiderata of Happiness” poetry collection: “You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars. You have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”

Most influential book: Any writing with an uplifting inspirational message (romantic novels are OK, too). The latest I’ve enjoyed was “The Kite Runner,” by Khaled Hosseini.

Favorite status symbol: A beautiful, personal residence that says “This is the real me!”

Favorite restaurant: Venice Ristorante & Wine Bar in University Towne Center.

Favorite place for business meetings: A construction site. It’s the most conducive place I know to generate creative design , what I call “design on the hoof.”

Favorite vacation spot: Tuscany, Italy. Never been there, but I’d love to go.

Favorite way to spend time: Designing! Houses, cabinetry, furniture, paintings, anything!

, Compiled by Andrew Schweizer


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