Design Meets Function Meets Art

written by Angela Romeo
photos by Terry Hastings

Interior Designer Dan Hall

Some people believe that the beauty is in the details. But Dan Hall knows that the beauty of the details is the art that drives him to create.

Established in 1990, Dan Hall Interiors is Hall’s nerve center. It’s from here that he begins to create his designs – from custom furniture and cabinetry to the art that graces the walls of his clients’ homes. “I was fortunate to have wonderful mentors in my career,” he recalls. “Steve Chase, who had trained with Arthur Elrod, was my most important one. I began as a Delivery and Art Installation Technician, but with time I moved on to the design team. What I noticed about Steve, besides his amazing talent, was his attention to every detail. From the initial drawing to the finished project, Steve knew every nuance. I took that with me when I left to start my own firm.”

Following in the footsteps of legendary interior designers is no small feat. Known for their fresh contemporary interiors, both Elrod and Chase had a lasting impact on the Palm Springs landscape. Both had a rich sense of design and knew how to create an environment that was right for their clients.

“Designers cannot impress all of their own wishes onto every project,” Hall explains. “I approach each one as just that – its own project. When designing an interior, I need to take into account not just the architecture and the physical location but also the personalities. These are homes, not museums, and not model homes. They are homes that may be uniquely beautiful but are alive because of the people who inhabit those spaces.”

Because a home is more than its interior walls, Hall makes use of his knowledge and love of landscape design. “The exterior is as much a part of the whole as the interior,” he says. “Many of my clients live in the outdoors. The desert, for example, offers many possibilities for life outdoors. The fall and winter and spring seasons encourage us to move outdoors. By seamlessly blending the interior and exterior, the living space is that much more integrated into the lifestyle of the inhabitants.”

Hall has overseen design projects involving many of the homes in the Desert area. He has also worked in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Atherton, Saratoga, San Jose, Denver, Seattle, and Hawaii. “I have no fixed style but do enjoy working on the modernist homes of this area and beyond. But not all my design projects are modernist. Some are more traditional, while others are a blend of styles, or what I call Soft Contemporary.

“I enjoy being involved from the beginning,” Hall continues. “I am often called into a project early on in the architectural stages of design, to help clients develop, visualize and create their plans. It is important that all the elements come together. That can only happen when there is an open dialogue between all the parties.

“In the past I have had the opportunity to work with some wonderful clients like Jim and Jackie Lee Houston. We spent over three years developing plans with the architect, designing the interiors and building out their dream home in the Las Palmas area of Palm Springs. Their home is a magnificent example of collaboration between client and designer. I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked on that project.”

The chance to work with the same clients multiple times is also very important to Hall. “When clients entrust several different projects with me, it is humbling. To know that we, the client and I, have created a bond is unique and special. I cannot underscore how meaningful that relationship is to me. I have had the great fortune to work on projects through the generations – parents and now their children. There is no better feeling than to know that my work is not only respected but has become part of the family fabric. What could be better?

“I have great respect for historic design and architecture, and have always enjoyed blending the old with the new to create a modern interpretation of a classic, be it mid-century modern, California Spanish, Tuscan, or elegantly traditional.” Yet Hall does not want to work back in time. “Modernism was new at one time, but now it is a style. I love working within that style, but it is up to me to bring it into the true contemporary – the now.”

Being aware of current and lasting trends is not what makes Hall’s work stand out. It is the attention to the details – the clients’ needs and desires as well as their possessions. “Often my clients have extensive art collections,” the designer explains. “It is important to respect that investment.

“On the other hand,” Hall continues, “if the clients are not collectors or their tastes have changed, I can work with that too. I enjoy assisting them in selecting and purchasing new art pieces for their home.” Hall often achieves this through local galleries, art fairs, auction houses, or with the help of professional art consultants such as Deborah Page Projects. “On several occasions I have even created art for my clients. It is very satisfying to see my artist side recognized. I think of myself as an artist who happens to have a good sense of design. Painting has been a passion since my youth, and several of my large abstract acrylics hang in my clients’ homes.”

But while attention to detail is important, it is Hall’s ability to create an atmosphere of livable style and elegance that is most impressive. The hand of the artist and the eye of the designer have melded quite well into the soul of Dan Hall.

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