Dann Foley Design
Not just another guy with a business card,” Dann Foley mentions when asked about his background, which includes an interior design degree from Drexel University. Before graduating from what Dann describes as a “very harsh, technical program,” he had started his own corporation while receiving a co-op education in the industry. A week after graduating, he formed his own firm.
On any given day, Dann is a high-energy designer absolutely overflowing with passion for his work. Now he is on the other side of the education spectrum, interspersing appointments in his design calendar with speaking engagements at the Las Vegas World Furniture Market, Canyon Ranch Resort, and Home Expo in Palm Springs, among others. One of the main themes, Dann says, is that “everyone wants to live well and be comfortable, and they can. Design is totally inclusive; that’s one of the things I love about it.”
In terms of decorating his own home in Palm Springs’ Tierra Hermosa, he admits, “There’s never a finishing point. But I want to temper that by saying that my rooms are always finished. A stranger would walk in, and they would have no idea that I am still having more work done.”
He has, in fact, just hung drapery in the guest bedroom nearly a year after moving in: a chocolate brown, iridescent silk taffetta. “Window treatments are very important. I don’t cover the view, but without them a room is bland and unfinished.”
When he’s relaxing at home — often in the living room where a full lioness hide sprawls across the floor — he burns scented candles throughout the house, part of what he likes to call “living well and living luxuriously.” His store carries his own line of two that he likes to burn together: Sensual, (heady with black orchid) and Sultry (a blend of lavender with spice and rosemary).
Dann is one of the few area designers with a retail component, though he never set out to have a store, exactly. He describes his storefront on South Palm Canyon Drive as “just a really pretty warehouse; as much a laboratory as anything else, a place to play and experiment.” Between client meetings, he works out vignettes and orders new items to fill them out. “We create lifestyle as much as we create living rooms,” he loves to say. He coordinates all of his clients’ housewarming parties, down to the tables, the flowers, and the menu. (Yes, even those clients who live on the East Coast.) Why should a caterer come in and rearrange his good design?
Dann says in both his own home and his clients’ homes, it’s about creating a beautiful mix of meaningful pieces of complementary styles. “No one lives in a museum,” he says. “Some people try, but it’s always a failure.” Another similarity: he only buys “things that matter,” meaning, “I may not spend as much on myself as I do my clients, but I treat myself as well.”
Favorite way to entertain:
Intimate dinner parties for no more than 10
Chose his home for:
The view and the entryway. “It has a foyer with a staircase. There’s none of that out here. People walk in and they have someplace to stand. They’re not in the living room. It lends a sense of graciousness.”
Favorite way to relax:
Alone time. Lock the door and turn the phone off. Then stretch out on the sofa or float in the pool.
“Comfortable, very rich without being too formal. There’s a definite formality, but it isn’t stuffy or cold. It has to be personal. All furniture is my own design, and I am surrounded by things I love.”
First thing guests notice about his house:
“They’re surprised I don’t live in a really big house. I work in them all day; I don’t want to live in one. They’re also enthralled by the use of color, starting with the orange living room sofa. The artwork is hung low, and I do a lot of vignettes, so every corner looks good.”
“My furniture arrangements are memorable, based in classical, European style. Memorable rooms are successful rooms.”
Color they can live with. “Everyone wants color, but everyone is afraid of it. I tell them, ‘It’s just paint. If you don’t like it, we’ll start over.’”
Why clients love him:
“People tell me, ‘I hired you for your enthusiasm.’ I’m excited about every single job, even the difficult ones.”