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Inside Jana Donohoe Designs


Meet the Owner and Principal Designer Jana Donohoe, JD, Allied Member ASID, IIDA, a longtime Fayetteville resident. Jana has a flair for designing spaces that reflect her clients’ personalities and lifestyles. Working in the field for the past 10 years, her quaint café designs and office environments emanate the professional image her clientele seeks and it has increased her business exponentially over the last year. 

Jana said her design style is best defined as transitional. However, her talents enable her to blend combinations of contemporary and traditional elements to produce a pulled together eclectic look, uniquely tailored to each client’s taste. Her design services range from custom residential or commercial office space from scratch, modernizing and enhancing existing furnishings, or simply rearranging them for a fresh look and feel. 

As if she were born wired with a knack in the field, the designer fondly recalls days of her youth when her dad first handed her a hammer during a remodel project. Growing up Jana remembers the feeling of satisfaction after voluntarily organizing and rearranging furniture in her parent’s home to surprise them. Let’s just say her parents are glad Jana is living out her dream rearranging other people’s homes for a living. 

Early on, as a military spouse in school studying biology, Jana realized her career path was taking a different turn after moving into her first home which was a fixer-upper. She was hooked and took pride in the painstaking updates and renovation as her creative talents breathed life into the older home. 

Explaining the intricacies of the industry, it is very systematic and there are five aspects in creating a design. First are the concept and expectations, how the image is to be perceived. Second is designing a concept to propose to clients incorporating a floor plan, furniture plans and fabrics into a presentation followed by the construction and finishing phases.

A beach house redesign is one of her favorite recent projects. Incorporating the casual, relaxed feeling of what the beach represents and bringing that feeling indoors in terms of light and airy hues, natural elements like shells and a contrast with a nautical theme bearing some navy accents made the space serene. 

When asked about which space in the home people can most benefit from a redesign she said without a doubt: the kitchen. With a clear vision on how to increase and redefine a space, taking out a wall, and rearranging appliance drops can do wonders beyond just fresh paint, new cabinetry and hardware.

“Helping people find their own design style is rewarding, it’s important for the design to convey the mood,” said Jana. “The process encompasses several interesting fields like culture, history and art.” 

Given the plethora of design shows on television, the designer shared that these shows can be positive, enabling people to replicate aspects of design and do-it-yourself. “There is something rewarding about a do-it-yourself job, when it turns out,” she knowingly said smiling. “Then, there are other jobs that I take on after the execution just did not turn out as expected.”

Insider Information

As many people inherit family pieces or enjoy adding an antique into their home or office environment, Jana spoke about the importance of blending old with the new. “If you incorporate one vintage piece, be sure to tie it together with another so that it appears intentional and you have more than one piece.”

Jana considers her own personal style to be evolving and embodies the more transitional side of design. She likes to incorporate unexpected elements like antique pieces. Though new construction is often easier to work with, “I have a passion for working in historic buildings and homes; as a result I have a greater appreciation for the historical aspects of design,” she explained. 

While everyone can add a pop of color into a room with accessories, it truly takes a skilled artisan with the proper schooling and credentials to be classified as a designer. It seems that the term interior designer is used loosely these days. Besides the architectural aspects, the breadth of knowledge on things like building and fire codes are just a few of the things that most of us know little about. 

One technical skill that sets Jana apart from other designers is her training and application of Revit, an intuitive computer program that incorporates technology. By utilizing this specialized program, the two-dimensional program allows for final rendering for clients giving them a full scope of the potential design.

Trend Alert

Keeping us informed on the color trends for 2014, Jana shared that Pantone, a paint company behind the institution that determines such selections is very organized and the color is announced to industry zealots each year around October or November. Without further ado, the color of the year is Radiant Orchid, a hue of bright fuchsia. Also trending for spring are bold florals and floral patterns. 

Each year at the High Point market where all the creatives in the industry flock to, the latest trends, vendors and workshops are packed into the weeklong event. Top designers share their successful business strategies with the style spotters to take back to their clientele and top brands introduce the latest technology to incorporate into their work. 

Some other trends seen at High Point Market

Chinoiserie is prevalent! "The Asian inspired pattern was seen everywhere this market," said Jana. "While most of the manufacturers are using the pattern in larger scale to update the look."

Other tips that the designer passed on to us are that neutrals continue to gain strength. The farm to table concept is making its way into the interior design world. Warm browns like cocoa and sable are being used as base colors and being paired with pastel tones.

Pink and feminine – The neutrals browns and greys balance out the feminine tones of the pinks and corals that were seen everywhere this market.

In addition to pinks, florals and metallic are also part of a feminine trend happening now and predicted to make a presence until 2016.

"Brass/Gold are sticking around. Every showroom I visited had some form of this metallic color, " she said. "From tables and lamps down to cabinet hardware."

Other musts – fabric covered case goods. From raffia to linen, it wrapped door fronts on buffets to entire side tables and dressers.

Mid-century modern furnishings are going nowhere. It’s sticking around while being paired with fun modern fabrics to lacquered metallic paint colors. Believe it or not, Jana shared that wallpaper is coming back in full force and she applauds the technology enhancements that make it easier to work with and take it down, more than ever before. “Wallpaper offers a certain aesthetic, texture and feel that paint does not offer,” shared Jana. “Using it on your ceiling is fun and unexpected.” 

This military spouse has weathered deployments and after years of hard work and sticking true to her calling; Jana has found her niche in excelling in uncovering each client’s desired outcome, balancing aesthetics and functionality, to create the perfect space…her dream job.