Owner and lead designer of Amy Berry Design.
What initially drew you towards working in this industry?
This was kind of always my dream job. I didn't start out
thinking I was going to do this. I was in commercial real
estate, and did more of a business track in college. I had
loved art history during school, but just fell into it. It's a
perfect marriage of the business side of things, but then
also, I love working with people, and so it just works.
Which is great.
How did your parents influence your career?
Really, my dad is one of the wisest businessmen I know. For everything business, I totally look to his guidance, and my mom is very patient. And they're completely different. I'm the most like my dad in terms of my sense of humor, but I wish I had a little bit more of my mom, just when it comes to dealing with people. She's so wonderful at that. So I think I hopefully got a little bit of both. (laughs) Hopefully.
What excites you the most about your work?
Everyday is different, which I love.
Who or what has been a strong influence of your
I think probably living in London. I grew up here
[in Dallas], but I got into all this when we, my
husband and I, moved to London. I did design
school at the Inchbald School of Design, and I
think that was a big influencer. Just because the
way we were trained - it was totally objective
and very "not your house, it's their house," and
so it's very client-oriented. I think that had a
big impact, for sure.
It is still how I do things. To me, it's so personal. It's getting to know the client, and getting to know all the things that they like. When we were trained, we would be given these client descriptions that were like, "And their favorite scent is lavender," and just everything down to what they wash their face with. All of that, because at the end of the day you're creating a space that hopefully reflects them, and that's all part of it.
What inspires you about your work?
It's always changing. There's always something that everyone can learn, which is great. I'm inspired by my peers and my friends that do this. Having a happy client's the best thing. So that's what keeps us going.
How do you determine what you're going to wear
to work each day? Pretty casual?
It's either jeans or white jeans, and a blue top or
a white top. I mean, it's pretty basic. One less
decision I have to make. I think the only wild
card is maybe a pair of shoes, and that's about it.
Okay, so if shoes are the main statement, is it going
to be heels or flats?
Flats. (laughs) I run around too much.
Where do you shop for your work wardrobe, and
when do you find the time?
Only online. I feel like I only do it once every eight weeks. I hit a point where I'm like, I've got nothing. And then I start over. But really, I buy everything online. So it's the only way I know how to do it.
Do you usually manage your online shopping during work (maybe between client/vendor calls or meetings), evenings or on the weekends?
And what are your go-to brands for clothes and accessories?
Probably Net-A-Porter, just because it's easy. Frame for denim right now. Or M'oda 'Operandi. They're both just so easy. So it's like, whatever's easy and it gets to me quickly, I'm all for.
What is on your wish list for clothes and accessories?
It's not even summer yet, but I'm already ready for the fall stuff (laughs). This spring it's been Gucci slides but it's normally something from Stubbs & Wootton or Belgian Slippers.
What type of bag do you carry every day, and what's inside?
It's that huge woven tote ... my Mary Poppins bag ... . that holds everything - all my fabric samples. (I'm a traveling road show.) I also have a couple of Celine bags that hold everything, too.
Easy. And practical. Okay, how do you take it all with you when you travel for business?
I try to pack as light as I can, which I'm actually decent at. I don't like checking a bag if I can avoid it. So, I use my big bag straw tote, and then my carry-on.
What is something you wear that instills more confidence on days you need it most?
My little bracelet that has Sutton's [Amy's daughter's] name on it.
What is the most important part of your beauty
routine, that you feel helps complete your look?
I'm really into baths. That's nice. I really don't use
very much product. There's a cream that's called
Embryolisse, that I love, and then I use
Créme de la Mer, and that's about all I got.
(laughs) Good mascara, and that's sharp. I do my
makeup in the car. That's just kind of the way it goes.
The one thing I'm hooked on is, there's that place,
Luxury on Lovers, has a little lip gloss that's just
theirs. I think they make it there, and I'm obsessed
with that. It's just like a gloss.
My next question was going to be about whether
you prefer lipstick or lip gloss - so that's perfect
Lip gloss. And it doesn't even have a shade name.
It's just like a gloss. I feel like every time I go, I
just buy all of them. Like, just buy the whole little
What is your mani-pedi style, and do you have any favorite brands or shades that you like for the summer?
Pink right now, for toes, but [for nails] I'm always wearing Essie's Mademoiselle. Always. It's kind of a no-brainer. One less decision.
What is your “must-have” product for your hair?
I do the Brazilian thing on my hair, which I love, because then I don't have to do it.
What's your approach to jewelry? Do you have standard pieces that you wear most of the time, or do you mix it up?
I don't wear that much jewelry. I wear, usually every day, my love bracelet and my wedding band, and that's kind of it.
What do you do prior to your working hours
that helps you to prepare for the day ahead?
Coffee. I'm a morning person. So, I've always
been a morning person. They'll [pointing to
design team] testify, it drives them crazy. But
usually my day starts between 5:00 and 6:00am,
and I like to spend a lot of time in my robe.
We used to office out of my house, which was
great. I had a little girl in September ... and I
can work from home for a little bit in the
morning, and it takes me seven minutes to get
here from home, which is awesome. It's so nice.
Yeah. That is.
I wake up and then have my morning, get through
emails, and try to gather myself, and then get to
the office by 9:00am or so. And then, spend most
of the day here, and then get back home in time
to be with [her daughter] Sutton and work from
home, too. So it's nice being flexible, that's for sure.
What is the brand, model, and color of your car?
Right now it's my husband's Yukon. (laughs)
Because he took my car when I got pregnant. He
said his was safer. I will say it's nice that I can
put as much stuff in it as I can. I was in an Audi
before. I loved it. He's saying, "This isn't practical
with the baby." I'm like, "You just want my car."
I was right. He did.
Do you have a favorite playlist, or artist, or radio
station that you listen to on your way to the
office or to client meetings, or are you usually
on the phone?
Phone - always.
When you travel for work, what do you do while
you're in the air?
Work. Emails. I mean, really, that's all I do.
It's always work.
That's the benefit of, I mean, I love what I do.
But yeah, emails, or doing furniture layouts, or
technical drawings, and that sort of thing.
What are your travel essentials?
That big bag, which holds a lot. Headphones, my
computer, my phone. That's kind of it.
And what's your method for keeping track of your
I have this little pouch from The Daily Edited.
They make the prettiest little leather holders
and things. And so it's actually attractive looking.
It's this blush color. I just stuff all my receipts in it.
What is your morning office routine?
Every day's different. It's part of the reason I
love this job. Every day is really different. So
some days, they're full of meetings, and some
days are full of me sitting here and doing
concepts for people, and working with the girls.
For the most part, most mornings start with
me in front of my computer and then probably
a couple client meetings, and then back here.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
There is no typical work day. I'm running around,
checking on people, make sure everyone's doing
what they're supposed to do.
And do you have projects happening all over the U.S. for your work?
Most of what we do is pretty central - so Park Cities, Preston Hollow - that is mainly where we have projects. We have a couple jobs that are out of town. We have a job right now in the Hamptons, which has been really fun, and then probably four or five, maybe, that are out of town.
When I got pregnant last January, I kind of reined
it in. Because I was traveling more before, and I
love traveling, it's great. But, having her [referring
to her baby daughter] it's nice to have it all here.
So, luckily Dallas is a great place to do it. And it's
always busy. Which is great.
What essentials do you have to have when you're
meeting with clients?
My notebook. A tape measure. And that's it.
Samples, if that's what we're talking about, but
for the most part, my notebook is the key thing.
Do you have a specific method that you use to
run meetings that you're in charge of?
It depends on what we're meeting about. There's so many things that we help clients with. For the bulk of what we do, it is furniture and selections and all that kind of thing, but, we work with a lot of clients, too, that are building a house, and we're just there to help and consult. So really, just depends on what it is.
How do you handle job-related stress?
My daughter helps a good bit. Spending time with my family. Taking a bath. I take a lot of baths.
What are some of your office pet peeves?
That's a good one.
Thankfully, I have such a good team, they all work so hard, and being detail-oriented is so important in this. Just being thorough, which, thankfully, everyone here is.
What has been one of your happiest work moments?
I was asked to be in House Beautiful's Next Wave, and that was a kind of a "pinch me" one. That was fun.
How would you describe your office and workspace?
(laughs) Organized chaos. I know where
everything is, but this is one of those jobs where
there's just a lot of stuff. There's samples, and
there's paint, and there's all sorts of stuff.
We kept everything white for a reason. There's
enough color everywhere else. I mean, we use
baskets to hold it all, which is the only way I
found to make it look okay and picked up.
What is in your office that makes it more
comfortable for you?
The 4510 Diptyque candle [- yes, you'll have to call the store to get it]. It's my favorite one. I have so many of them. SO good.
What's on your wish list for your office décor?
Well, since we just moved in - we need another work table, because I live at that. It's where I get everything done. So another one of those, and then, we need some lighting.
Is there a specific thought process that went into how items on your desk are arranged?
We all have big workspaces, because we are all very tangible people. Very visual and all of that, so I just need a big workspace. So for me, as little as I can have on my desk, the better. I usually just have a tray that all the papers pile up on, and, then I like to keep everything free, because I always have my notebooks out.
Well, you guys are working with such a variety of materials ...
Yeah. You have to have space. Space is important.
What is your favorite office supply and why?
I have a weird obsession. There's a little, I think
it's Japanese, this company called Muji that I
love. They make the best pens and notebooks,
and I'm hooked on them. I've been hooked on
them since I did design school in London, and
I now have to call New York to get them to send
me pens, which is absurd. But, I will say that if
I leave a pen at a client's house, they're like,
"Where'd you get this pen? Can I have some
more?" Like, they're great. So that's my one thing.
Okay. I love that.
And they're cheap. It's like an OCD person's
heaven - everything in little clear containers.
What’s a work tool (app, hardware or software) that is a must-have for you?
We're all on our computers all the time. We have a software called Studio Designer that we're super-reliant on that generates client proposals and orders and that sort of thing. And AutoCAD, SketchUp, all that kind of stuff. I mean, we're heavily reliant on all of that.
How do you prioritize or manage your email inbox?
I try to, if I haven't had time to answer it, I keep it unread, which is sometimes overwhelming, but it's the only way I know to make sure it happens. And I have client folders in my inbox that I file into once it's done.
What is your secret to achieving your daily objectives?
I'm a list person. I've always been a list person. I
think we're all probably list people, but we have
an app that we love called Wunderlist, that helps
us get everything done. We can assign things to
each other, we can talk to each other without
having to really talk to each other, it's great.
Are you a calendar person?
Is it like an old-school agenda? Shared Apple
or Google calendar-
It's Google but it's on my phone, and they have my calendar.
So let's chit-chat a little bit about calendars. Some people that I've interviewed, they're like, "If it's not on my calendar, it doesn't happen," and we're talking not just meetings but tasks. They block time on their calendars for tasks that they need to get done. Do you do that?
No, that's not how we are. Calendar is only for meetings. Like, something set in stone or I've gotta be somewhere at some time. But the list is, like, "Here's all the things that have to happen."
I've heard of Wunderlist, but does it allow you to categorize ...
Yes. So, every client has a list, I have my list, we have a list of proposals that need to get out the door ... we have all sorts of lists.
How do you take notes? Are they all handwritten?
I hand write everything. So I hand write when I'm
taking notes with a client in my notebooks. I have
client binders and ... really, all the notes get
scanned and we use Evernote. All the notes get
scanned in and put into Evernote so I have them
on my computer and phone, but then I also have
the originals filed away.
And then all those baskets have fabrics organized
by vendor, and then underneath, each client has
a drawer. So ... all their samples and all the things
that go with the client (including my notes) go in
I love that! How do you stay on top of industry news?
That's probably a plane activity or when I have time, during the weekends or when I'm getting my nails done, I go through magazines. I feel like just being out and being in the showrooms, you pick up on a lot of what's going on. Traveling for me is important in that regard, because I feel like it's always good to get out and go see everything. I was in LA last week, which I think is always great to see what's happening in different markets. LA, New York, I think, are important trips to make in this business, just to see everything and to be acquainted with things that we don't necessarily have in Dallas.
Are there certain shows that you try to attend?
Yeah, there are. There are a couple that I really enjoy. The event last week in LA, is a great event called Legends, LCDQ. And I love it. It's a lot of fun too, because I get to see all my friends. So that one I always try to make if I can. There's the Antiques and Garden Show in Nashville, that's in February usually I love going to that one because it's a lot of fun. High Point, if I can make it work, but it just depends.
Are there sites or publications that you refer
to the most?
Architectural Digest, Cabana [UK magazine],
Veranda, almost everything really....
Who would you say has influenced your career
I would probably say living in London influenced
my career the most, because it was the beginning
of it. And I think when I was so entrenched and ...
the education I got was so great, because it was
mostly technical and mostly art-based and it
just was a totally different education.
I'm so appreciative that I got to learn things that
way, and that I got to be exposed to as much as
I was there, because there were no rules ...
which I think is good. So that probably had
the biggest influence.
Is there anyone that you look to for career inspiration or that you consider to be your mentor?
One of my really good friends is a designer in LA, Mark Sikes, and he's been really sweet to me. I would definitely consider him a mentor. We have a really good design community in Dallas. It's really nice being in a community where you can easily reach out to people if you need help. This business is so ... I love what I do, but it is so service-based, but it's nice, having so many people here that are really approachable and kind, and so many of them are. I got coffee last week with a designer that I have a lot of respect for here, and just to catch up, which is always great, because you learn so much.
What is your method for networking?
I don't really think I have a method. I like Instagram. It's nice. I think just go to things. When I first got into all of this, I went out to LA. I knew Mark but not that well. We actually became friends on Instagram. And I went out there and then we met, and now we're like best friends. The more you go to stuff and the more you meet people ... it just kind of snowballs. I don't think you can have a method to it.
You have a huge following on Instagram. I think people understand that your posts are really genuinely you.
It's important to have a voice, for it to be an identity. What I do anyway ... walks a boundary. It's personal but it's also professional. And for a little while, I struggled with, "Do I have a separate account?" But it's just all me. Why would I have a separate account? Everything now is so cross-category. I look to fashion designers for everything. So you can't really pigeonhole industries anymore. And Instagram is a good place where all that happens.
What advice have you received in your professional life that has really stuck with you?
A designer I have a lot of respect for recently told me to read this book Boundaries. Which is great, because all of us are so guilty of getting into something, you get close to a client and ... you know, it's hard. It's hard to draw a boundary. So that was really good advice - the importance of being able to say no.
Let's see, the best design advice ... the thing that always comes to mind is, I think it was Miles Redd that said, "Buy the best and you only cry once." So that's pretty true. There's a lot of little things like that that are very spot-on. Especially with clients - you want to tell them that it is more expensive to do this twice.
One of the best things, someone told me about this job is that it's really 90% people skills and 10% design. And I saw her maybe a couple years later, and she asked, "How's it all going?" I said, "I mean, you were wrong. It's 98% people and 2% design!"
What do you do during your downtime to refresh and recharge yourself?
Probably getting my nails done. It's like my one vice. Yeah, so going on a walk in the morning, and then going to get my nails done. It's like my Saturday thing. By Friday, you wouldn't have been able to guess that I'd got my nails done. (laughs)
How important has traveling been for you personally?
For this, I think it's so important. There's so much out there, and there's so much to see, and there's inspiration in everything. It's just an important part of it. You have to get out of your comfort zone. As a designer, you hope your work evolves, and you hope that's what you work for. But it can only evolve if you are evolving with it, so like, seeing new things, going to new places and all of that is important.
What's the next location that you want to visit?
What charities or non-profit organizations are
you involved in?
Dwell With Dignity. They do a lot of really great
stuff and we did the thrift studio vignette with
them, last spring.
I'm not familiar with them.
They basically work with families who have
recently been homeless, to design their new
homes so they can enjoy where they are living now.
Nice. So it feels like a home.
Yeah, and so they have a place you can give furniture to, and then they also do a thrift studio every year, where they invite designers to do little vignettes. Which is really fun, and you kind of go around to showrooms and get people to donate items and then you do a space. And then everything is for sale, and it's great.
I love that. Okay, are you much of a reader?
I used to be. But my problem is, I'm like, so ... If I start something I have to finish it. So if I start a book, I will not sleep until I finish it. That's why I can't read. (laughs) I'm like a compulsive reader.
What about magazines? Are you into them?
Yes. Every single one. And I've always been that way.
Do you tear pages out?
No. I used to. When I was little I would and I found from when I was in fourth grade. I would categorize them by rooms, and I'd save all these little tear-outs. It was kind of fun to find them, like, 20 years later. But, no. I don't tear them out anymore. Everything's digital now.
I don't really use Pinterest as much as I should, but, if it's something that I am really hooked on, I either save it on my phone, or on my computer.
And what are you watching, TV/movies/Netflix...?
I love The Crown, which I know is over but that's probably my top. I watch everything on Bravo, I can't help it.
What currently fascinates you?
All things related to classical architecture...