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2023 Designer Dozen: Whitney Burns

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2023 Designer Dozen: Whitney Burns
Whitney Burns
Age: 35 | Director of Interior Design, Paragon Solutions
Favorite Sports Team: Chicago Cubs
Favorite Snack: I don’t discriminate

WHY WHITNEY?

Described by her co-workers as a “true force to be reckoned with,” Whitney has more than 12 years’ experience in the retail design industry – and more specifically, she has a focus on convenience stores and travel centers. Managing her firm’s interior design team, Whitney oversees the entire design process for projects.

A wearer of many hats, she’s also the mom to three-year-old twins and a six-year-old, so she spends a lot of her time outside the office “wrangling three tiny humans.” When she has the time, Whitney is involved with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. She also volunteers at her son’s school and has served as a committee member with Camp Fire First Texas, a non-profit focusing on youth development based in Fort Worth, Texas.

📷: Greg Folkins Photography, Murphy, Texas📷: Greg Folkins Photography, Murphy, Texas

Describe a recent project that you were involved in.

I worked with a husband-and-wife duo and the wife’s dad was a collector of antiques and found objects. She wanted to find a way to use pieces from his collection in their store. I spent a weekend sorting through warehouses full of memories, hearing stories from their past and feeling as if I was a part of their family. After that, it was a pure joy to find ways to tuck memories and cherished objects into the design and find a way to truly connect the store to their family. One of my favorite projects.

How and why did you get into retail design/visual merchandising?

I have always been obsessed with all things creative. I kept myself busy as a kid with choir, dance and every art class I could get my hands on. Meanwhile, I grew up in a home where my dad started his own retail design firm and some of my favorite memories as a child included going to work with dad on the weekends and playing ‘designer.’ I would grab a pack of sketch markers and a giant pad of paper and be a designer for the day. Little did I know, I would one day find my way back there. It’s been incredible to see this little design firm grow into what it is today.

Who or what has been the greatest influence on you in your work?

My parents. I grew up learning what matters most in the world: People. Focus on ways to help others, put their needs first and find a way to make their lives easier. Those values have stayed with me in my professional career and it keeps me grounded when the noise gets loud. Focus on people and relationships and the rest is gravy!

My dream project is…

…[designing a] boutique hotel on an island.

The best part of my day is…

…coming home to my kids.

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