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Meet Abbey Ragsdale and Abby Smith of Smith & Ragsdale Interior Design in Oak Lawn and Uptown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Abbey Ragsdale and Abby Smith.

Abbey and Abby, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Believe it or not, we did not go into partnership together simply because we share the same first name! We met in 2011 while Abby Smith was working as an independent Interior Designer and Abbey Ragsdale was working as a Kitchen & Bath Designer at a showroom in the Dallas Design District.

We collaborated on our first kitchen project and discovered we had immediate synergy, and we went on to receive a regional award in the 2013-2014 Sub-Zero & Wolf International Kitchen Design Contest! At a celebratory dinner, the idea of partnership came up but at the time, it just seemed like a fun idea. About six months later, after a lot of thinking and a new collaboration on another project, the idea of partnership became a reality. Joining forces with another person felt right and the timing was appropriate. Abby Smith was looking to narrow her scope of services and focus primarily on kitchens, and Abbey Ragsdale was ready to get back into the industry after some time off.

We had projects in the works almost immediately after launching our partnership, primarily from repeat clients and referrals. While we’d originally planning to focus solely on kitchen design, our clients requested more of us. Within our first year of business, we expanded our scope of services to full-scale interiors and furnishings for renovation and new construction.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It took us some time to fine-tune our systems and contracts, and we are in a good place now. We both come to the table with different skill-sets and life experiences—just like a marriage!—and it takes some finesse to find your groove. All in all, it really has been a fairly smooth road. In our industry, there are cycles of busy times and there were a few months earlier this year where we were wrapping up several projects, but the new projects weren’t coming in as readily as they had been. We kept pressing forward, and focused more strategically on our marketing, website, and tightening our internal systems so that we would be prepared when we got busy again—which we have!

Please tell us about Smith & Ragsdale Interior Design.
Smith & Ragsdale is an award-winning full-scale interior design firm based in Dallas, TX, specializing in highly functional kitchens and thoughtfully appointed interiors. We believe that every kitchen, bath, and other interior space has unique solutions achievable through expert planning. Our mission is to design interiors that reflect our client and their unique lifestyle. We aim to deliver well-designed spaces in which they function, materials, and client-experience converge. This is achieved through careful investigation, thoughtful collaboration with our clients and trades, and keen attention to detail from project inception through completion. With a combined 30+ years of experience in the residential design and home-building industry, we have fine-tuned our design process with the client experience in mind.

Our unique partnership sets us apart from other firms as we collaborate on each design and both interface with our clients regularly. We have found our success by allowing creative inspiration in problem-solving to be the key ingredient in our process. Creative inspiration evolves throughout the design process and for us, it most often comes directly from our clients. Before we put pen to paper, it is time-well-spent to get to know the client and their family to become intuitive to their unique needs and ask: What problems need to be solved? How will the design will enhance their quality of life now and in the future?

What it means to be beautiful or well-designed is subjective. There is not one style or approach that offers ALL the solutions, however, each residence and each client brings a unique set of challenges and opportunities for creative solutions. We believe you have to look at every element as an opportunity to solve the problem.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Abbey Ragsdale: My dad was a talented carpenter and general contractor, and some of my favorite memories are visiting his job sites and watching him build cabinetry. He was quite the perfectionist and was extremely good at his work. I learned very early in life that I love seeing the transformation process and the smell of sawdust is still one of my absolute favorite things! Every client loved him and went on to become lifelong friends, always exchanging holiday cards and even sending wedding gifts to me later in life. He taught me by example to always triple check my work and that beauty isn’t found only in the details, but also the relationships you build along the way.

Abby Smith: When I was still in college I was thrilled to have a piece of my art chosen to appear in a juried show at North Park. It was an abstract silkscreen that was a personal reflection of the Vietnam War which went on during my college years. Being chosen for that exhibit helped give me the confidence to pursue a career in design. I had spent hours in the studio to become literate in color and design and had taken numerous art history classes. I believe that those early years of experimentation and learning from history gave me the foundation I’ve relied on throughout my career as a designer.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Serkan Zanagar
Costa Christ
Ira Montgomery
Dan Sellers

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