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Designers

Introducing Rising Star Designer Gina D’Amore Bauerle & Her High-Energy Style

The up and coming Denver designer of bold high-end interiors tells why her entire design philosophy revolves around a passion for area rugs.

Lisa Vincenti
1/5/2021
portrait of Gina D'Amore Bauerle
Designer Gina D'Amore Bauerle has grown her family's showroom and design practice to a national player.

DENVER -- Gina D’Amore Bauerle, who runs her showroom and design practice D'Amore Interiors alongside her parents, has carved a reputation for bold personal interiors that have garnered her 18 design awards and earned the 36-year-old a coveted place on HFB's 2020 Forty under 40.

D'Amore Bauerle, who has been designing since she was 18, de-mystifies the design process for her clients and digs deep to discover what makes them tick. She then translates that knowledge into fearless interiors, which are often full of life and color, and always include a quality hand-knotted area rug. In fact, she begins every interior design project with an area rug and describes herself as "rug snob," explaining: "my entire design philosophy revolves around area rugs."

So it's not surprising that when she makes her annual treks to Las Vegas and High Point markets, she scours area rug showrooms for one of a kinds and the latest hand-crafted rugs.

 

A contemporary home office design, featuring her favorite color, fuchsia, began from the ground up when Gina Bauerle discovered this Feizy one of a kind rug during a showroom visit. 

D'Amore Interiors traces its roots to when Frank and Marilyn D'Amore began selling Marilyn's hand-painted bedspreads and pillows in a Florida flea market while working full-time jobs until their dream business took off. The pair soon was earning enough to open a permanent space selling their home textiles and other accessories, and also offering a re-upholstery service. Eventually Marilyn began offering design services to customers as well. In 1997, the family relocated to Colorado, after falling in love with the state during a trip, and in 2013 they purchased an18,000 square foot building at 475 S. Broadway, one block away from the Denver Design District. The two-story building devotes the entire first floor to home furnishings, rugs and decor, while the second floor houses the design and custom rug center, which includes area rug samples, upholstery and fabric choices.


D'Amore Interiors acquired its 18,000 square foot building at 475 S. Broadway, a block away from the Denver Design District, in 2013.

Among the top furniture brands found at D'Amore are Bernhardt, Eleanor Rigby Home, Hickory White, Lillian August, Massoud, and outdoor makers Gloster and Castell. In the area rug category, vendors include Chandra, Dalyn, Feizy, Kalaty, Loloi, Masland Carpets & Rugs, Nourison and Surya. Bauerle, who spent her childhood growing up at D'Amore Interiors, went on to study interior design. And, she has helped reshape the family business from a mostly regional player to a nationwide one, now often being tapped not just for renovation or interior design projects but as part of the ground up team on new builds. She also has expanded the company's style portfolio from largely rustic interiors to everything from rustic-mountain to contemporary. "We have a high-end clientele, a lot of our clients begin as second home owners that are buying property in Colorado, but live out of state. Others live in the metro area and are buying a mountain house. Now we have also started doing quite a bit of out of state work, because when you make their vacation home so beautiful, they don't like their full-time home anymore."

RugNews.com sits down with Bauerle to find out what makes her tick, why she is "religious" about her area rugs and why clients turn to her to make their homes sing.



Feizy's Tibetan hand-knotted Dayuan rug lays the ground work in this D'Amore Interiors living room design and features shimmering rust metallic leaf motifs paired with gray.

How would you describe your design style? Do you have a signature look with your designs?

GB: I am known for nothing being boring. I don't pigeonhole myself into a particular look because I have all different types of clients in all different walks of life and all different types of properties.

What's relevant is the design that a client wants. The thing that is always in common between my projects is that there is personality, things are on purpose -- I don't pick the easy route and do things that match or that are neutral and safe. I like to have wow factor, but still make sure in doing so that it relates to the person in that home and not just for the sake of being fancy or artsy.

What makes my job so fun, too, is getting to know people and making their spaces deeply personal -- meshing their personalities with inanimate objects that make sense and make you feel good when you are in those spaces -- and it adds to their quality of life.


What is your philosophy on design?

GB: I am trying to make design feel more comfortable and accessible to people. It's important that my clients figure out how they want to use space, who is going to use their space, and plan for that instead of feeling restricted perhaps by what the previous owner or what the architect drew on the floor plan. My philosophy is to take the square footage that you have and make sure you have the key rooms that you would use and if you have more square footage then you figure out a way to use that but more creatively -- for example, I am getting more request for a "she shed" -- an arts and crafts room for a women.


An abstract blue and ivory area rug by Feizy adds color and a contemporary spin to this updated rustic bedroom by Gina D'Amore Bauerle.

How do area rugs fit into your interior designs?

GB
: What is absolutely the most critical thing for us in every presentation is our samples and the rugs. We are religious about our area rugs because that should be the starting point in every room since it's your common element that allows you to play a bit more with different materials, colors and patterns, and not revert to getting a set because your worried nothing matches. If you have a rug with certain colors and patterns then you can pull those features out in different ways that makes sense and doesn't end up looking like a hodgepodge.



A classic Persian area rug design by Feizy sets the tone and color palette in this updated rustic modern home office by Gina D'Amore Bauerle. 

How do you convince your clients to invest in quality hand-knotted area rugs?

GB: One of the first things I have to do is educate people on what they should expect with the kind of rugs that we are talking about. It's not trying to up-sell them, that is never the motivation. But in order to have the right kind of rug that is appropriate for the furniture that we place, it needs to be of a certain quality. It is something I am passionate about


On the second floor of D'Amore Interiors' retail showroom, a Design Center & Rug Room houses scores of area rug samples, and fabric and upholstery swatches.

How do you source your area rugs?

GB: We go to Las Vegas Market and High Point once a year and I go through all my rug vendors. I take a picture of the rug and then place orders for samples to have them on hand.

We order samples, so we know what colors are in it ... we know what leathers and fabrics to pull from our upholstery lines and what paints to put on the walls. One of the No. 1 things I look for at market in the rug showrooms is what new rugs came out that I love -- because you can't always depend on seeing it in a catalog or a website to know you actually love it. I consider myself a rug snob, I absolutely refuse to use polypropylene rugs unless my client is asking for it or it is literally going in a mud room. They go against everything I believe in, if you buy nice furniture why would you put a cheap rug in that room. It baffles me.

I always enjoy looking at Feizy's one of a kind rugs, because that is the thing that you have to be at market to see and you have to have the right client at the right time and find that rug that that doesn't exist anywhere else to make that work. I am not willing to invest in a 10x14 rug that is a one off, in hopes that I will have the right client for it, because that is a super expensive rug. So when I am at market and also happen to be working on a project I always take time to look through the one of a kinds.


Gina D'Amore Bauerle opted for Feizy's hand-knotted Atarah rug, which is crafted of a proprietary batik dying method for deeply saturated colors.

What do you need most from the rug vendors you work with?

GB: What disappoints me at market is when a rug maker shows something and then says it will be eight months until they will have inventory. I prefer that they have rugs on the water that are going to be here in six weeks. I need the same for custom rugs as well -- most people aren't willing to wait six to eight months.

What rug styles are you attracted to today in your design work?

GB: Abstract designs have become really popular for us, they don't necessary dictate the style, modern day meets insert any style -- modern rustic, modern mountain. They can be that perfect transition from abstract to a really sleek sofa.


Gina D'Amore Bauerle counts this glamorous home office design among her favorites for its bold choice of fuchsia -- found in a one of a kind Feizy area rug and complemented by custom upholstered Massoud sofa.

What is one of your favorite designs?

GB: During January Vegas, 2019, I was just starting on a 9,000 square foot new build home for a new client and we weren't anywhere near talking about furnishings and rugs, we were still working on kitchen designs, bathrooms and flooring. I went into the Feizy showroom and flipped through their one of a kinds, and gasped when I came across this rug that was a gray background with black accents and fuchsia -- and my client loves fuchsia and we had decided that we were going to do her home office with complete disregard to the fact that the rest of the house was modern farmhouse. She wanted her home office to feel like her, a sassy glamorous personality and do fuchsia as her color, which made me happy because that is one of my favorite colors and nobody ever asks me to do fuchsia. So when I saw this Feizy OAK, I knew this was a rug I was going to have to sell my client on -- it was a $10,000 fuchsia rug. So I sent her photos of the rug and when she saw it she immediately fell in love with it. This is by far the favorite room for me personally that I have been able to design for a client -- this home office features the Feizy OAK with fuchsia accents and a Massoud sofa with acrylic feet that we upholstered in a fuchsia.

Why did you decide to expand D'Amore interiors from a retail showroom to full-service design practice?

GB: We are unique. Today, we are not a furniture store: we have a furniture store, but we are a design firm and we use our store as a resource for our design projects. Yes we are open to the public, but the majority of our business, around 80 percent of it, is our interior design projects where we have one client spending three quarters of a million dollars on their house through us. Because of the type of product we carry and the high quality we offer, it is not the average person who is going to walk in and spend $5,000 on a sofa and that is all they need.

It is not often you find a full service interior design firm that also has a major retail showroom where you can source all of the product necessary to furnish and decorate a home.


A grand entrance and sweeping stair greet customers shopping the D'Amore Interiors 18,000 square foot home furnishings showroom in Denver.

How do you merchandise your home furnishings and area rugs in your showroom?

GB: When you walk in our showrooms you will see room vignettes -- we try to make it look like designs you would see in your home, such as a contemporary bedroom area with a rug, or you'll see a rustic dining room setting. We try to set it up in a way that helps people visualize how they can use product in their homes. But we are always very sensitive to the balance of different styles. Everything from rustic to contemporary. It's an experience when you walk through our showroom and though it can be intimidating for some people, that is why our services are structured in a way to go hand-in-hand with whatever the client is needing.

How do you decide what brands you carry in your store and use in your projects?

GB: We really do a lot of research and travel to find vendors that offer something unique and just not the mainstream product you can find anywhere. We are very particular about the lines we carry. We have a variation in price range but it starts at middle- to upper-price range and you can go up from there depending what our client wants.


Feizy's Coronado collection of printed jute rugs features the best-selling whimsical designs of Tracy Porters Poetic Wanderlust brand and adds a contemporary spin to this mountain retreat.




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