Houston-based designer Diana Lombard is no stranger to transformations. So she didn’t blink when her client, full-time lawyer and mom, wanted to turn her builder-grade home into a truly personalized space – while avoiding major construction. Luckily, the pair found the process of working together far from litigious. Diana says, “Our collaborative relationship allowed me the design freedom to have fun with her space while at the same time create a home that I knew she would love.”

We hear interior design wasn’t your first career. What was, and how did you make the switch?
My first career was as a professional singer and actor. One day I was sitting outside of Radio City Music Hall waiting to audition for the traveling Rockettes show and on the phone with my aunt, who is an interior designer. We were discussing my desire to change careers and she suggested that I look into interior design, and more specifically, the Fashion Institute of Technology.

The school was right in NYC, one of the top interior design schools in the country, and where she herself had graduated. I knew nothing about design but decided to look into it. It turned out to be one of the most challenging things I had done in years. I signed up for a night drafting class at FIT. Who knew how hard it was to draw a straight line?!!! In the meantime I started reading everything I could about interior design and quickly realized that it was a business where I could still utilize my creativity but also my analytical and business oriented sides. It also seemed like a career that would one day allow me to have a great work-life balance.

Looking back I realize that it wasn’t that farfetched of a career choice – as a kid I always loved going to open houses and model homes, and did a lot of drawing and sketching. It was a natural fit for me, but I just hadn’t realized it was a career!

I could not be happier that I made the switch from performing to interior design! It is a deeply gratifying business – I love working one on one with my clients and helping them create a home they love, and I also love being my own boss. I am so lucky to be able to do what I love but also spend time with family!

This home was a builder-designed new construction that the homeowners had purchased in 2005. Your client brought you in to finally put their own stamp on the place. What was her request?
Her overall request was to update the entire home to a more contemporary look with cooler tones. She wanted to revitalize the house without changing anything structurally, and she wanted the end result to be something unique and personalized.

When we first met she had a detailed wish list by room, which allowed me to propose a rough budget and prioritize the most important areas of the home to update.

The one specific request my client had was for a “spa like” master bath, again, without changing the footprint or ideally any plumbing. She knew she wanted a luxurious tub, because she takes a bath every day, so a fabulous freestanding tub was one element that we splurged on. Adding Lucite cabinet pulls, a fuzzy stool and crystal chandelier gave the bathroom a touch of drama and femininity while maintaining the elegant and relaxing atmosphere.

What was the space like when you started the project?
When I first saw the house it was very dark, very dated and very beige! The furniture was heavy – dark leather and lots of dark, clunky woods. The kitchen and bathrooms had granite and dark cabinets – you could tell the home had not been updated at all since it was built. The floors throughout the main living space, kitchen and master bath were beige 24 x 24 tile that definitely had to go!

You have to see the before to really appreciate the after so head to the slideshow to how Diana transformed this space.