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PROFILES IN EXCELLENCE with Scottsdale interior designer Claire Ownby of Ownby Design

The interior design team at Ownby Design is on a mission to serve the vision of its clients, transforming custom living spaces into one-of-a-kind indulgences. Owner and founder, Claire Ownby, leads the charge with a crystal-clear understanding of the process in which she achieves award-winning interior design. From the hills of North Scottsdale to the shores of the Hawaiian Islands, Claire designs every home with the finest details, no matter how extreme in extravagance or minimalism, all while providing the greatest value for her client’s budget.

According to her experience described below, the challenge of maintaining this delicate balance between detail and cost is attainable only when the professionals building and designing the home lead with a collaborative spirit. Together, the team works to liberate the design of the residence to be the very best it can be.

Dream Rooms project by Ownby Design and Team DSC®


Our commitment to detail and budget-saving efficiency is a constant ebb and flow for us. Most important is being able to understand the client’s end goal with regards to what makes a home feel like their own. We interview our clients early on in the design process to learn important information about how they like to live in each space and every room. The next step is to find solutions to execute their wishes in a way that doesn’t have the highest cost without sacrificing quality. Finally, every one of our projects, even with highest of budgets, goes through the value engineering phase.


Value engineering takes place throughout the entire design process. It is a constant that happens from the beginning and through the various phases of design and construction. Especially in today’s environment of technology, our clients are very educated. They can research the cost of items and services and want to know they are getting the best value for what they are spending. That could mean they’re getting the highest quality available on the market or the most efficient process.

Our team is constantly looking at how to maximize great value with exceptional design and creativity. It’s one thing to come up with a good design – it’s another thing to be able to deliver it at the best value. We are constantly trying to figure out how we can be smarter, more efficient and still remain budget-friendly – all while keeping our client’s best interest in focus.


With the caliber of clients we work with, ‘compromise’ is not usually a vocabulary word they like to hear or use. To prevent our clients from ever feeling like they have to compromise on their vision, we aim to set realistic expectations in the beginning of the project. As we’re moving through the project and a design element comes up that isn’t ideal for the timeline or their budget, we discuss all possibilities with the client, knowing we can move forward with finding the best solution possible because they knew what to expect from the process. I build the kind of relationship where I can go to the client and say, “Unfortunately, this is not going to happen, and here are the reasons why. Here’s what we can do that still meets your needs, or maybe we can find a different solution to get to the final result.” This process is a constant ebb and flow.


As an interior designer, there are so many options and places I can go to for materials and finishes. We are always striving to find the right balance when it comes to fulfilling every detail while at the same time remaining budget conscious. We’re constantly collaborating with our vendors and our suppliers. When we have a certain look we want to achieve in a particular size that meets a certain price point, we lean on our vendors to help us with the challenge of sourcing. We also lean on the architect, builder and subcontractors. There is a huge collaboration when it comes to executing construction and design details that are only possible with their support. If you think about it, our custom specifications package probably touches close to 100,000 details. There isn’t enough time in the day to be an expert in every arena.


Maintaining a collaborative spirit with the client is extremely important as well. A project’s success is only possible when the client trusts the experts they’ve hired. As professionals, we must also wear the same hat of entrusting the client to make timely decisions that are critical to moving a project forward.

For example, I’m working with Team DSC on a custom residence in Paradise Valley. The homeowner is a renowned architect. He obviously has authority in his expertise. He’s extremely aware of what goes on in the design and building processes, because he does that on a day to day basis. He’s engaged, because he knows his contribution is for the betterment of his project. He’s witnessed this process many times as an architect, making it easier for him to say, “I know I need to listen to you.” It’s refreshing to work with someone that really trusts the professionals around him. He understands the essence of the collaborative spirit, which is that we’re all in this together. We can do what we do, but we can’t do it without you.

I believe for both Desert Star Construction and myself, it is a huge compliment to have someone within our industry pick us.



My first experience collaborating with Desert Star Construction was the Dream Rooms Project. One of the things DSC does so well is collaborating through the design process. When they have an idea, they come to us, not as an authority, but as a true team member – that is amazing.

The sweet spot of our industry is when we can bring our ideas together and come up with an even better idea than either of us could have thought up alone. Team DSC reciprocates the respect we have for each other’s knowledge and the expertise we are all bringing to the table. That’s the definition of a partnership.”