For decades, Studio Designer has served to streamline the project and accounting logistics of interior design firms so that designers can devote more attention to the creative and artistic aspects of their profession. Through continual growth and development, our fully-integrated business solutions allow the world’s leading designers to drive efficiency and growth, save time, and manage beautiful projects.

Our Designer Spotlight series provides a detailed glimpse into designers who use Studio Designer as an essential tool in their businesses. We are thrilled to feature creative leader Zara Taitt, who is the Senior Interior Designer and Executive of Operations for the fabulous Dallas doyenne of design Jan Showers. Jan has dazzled the trade for years with her exceptionally polished take on luxury interior design and Zara has been a key part of the firm’s success and growth.

Zara Taitt spotlight graphic
Photo by Tanisha Renee Photography

Zara received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design from the University of North Texas. Before graduation, she interned at Dallas firm Morrison, Seifert, Murphy (now Murphy Cramer Design) where she deepened her knowledge of hospitality design. Since joining Jan Showers & Associates in 2005, she has worked on an incredible array of residential design projects spanning the globe including in Dallas, Austin, Palm Beach, Telluride, Phoenix, Flagstaff, Toronto, Hawaii, and London.

Zara is proud that Jan Showers is an AD100 firm and has an exquisite to-the-trade furniture collection that showcases the firm’s elegant aesthetic. Zara was featured in a podcast interview with Pholio Co.’s called Diversity in Design in Dallas during which she spoke warmly of her Barbados roots and her mission to make interior design more diverse and accessible. In this Designer Spotlight, Zara shares how she got into design, what inspired her, why Studio Designer is important for her firm, and her wise advice for aspiring designers.

Tell us a little bit about you. How and why did you decide to become a designer?

After taking an introductory interior design course in high school, I became interested in design. Having a father who was a civil engineer, I remember being fascinated by blueprints as a child. The high school course solidified my interest in a field I didn’t even know existed.

Hallway with white cabinet and gold window frame
Photo by Stephen Karlisch Photography

Describe your design aesthetic

A blend of classic and modern styles using colors, patterns, and lines.

Share some design references to turn to frequently to spark your creativity.

Nature, art, culture, fashion, design books/magazines, and movies.

Dining room with a wooden table for 8 people
Photo by Stephen Karlisch Photography

Who are the interior designers, architects, artists, or creative professionals you admire? 

Of course, Jan Showers. I’ve learned so much from her over the years and admire her for what she’s accomplished as an interior designer and businesswoman. I also admire Corey Damen JenkinsShelia BridgesMary McDonald, and Tom Scheerer to name a few.

Living room with a focus on the wooden table adorned with a glass lamp and glass bird ornament
Photo by Stephen Karlisch Photography

What design project of yours are you most proud of and why?

I have had the privilege to work on several wonderful projects and clients. Really hard to name one since through different stages of my career it changes based on what have been working on. There are two projects that come to mind—one was recently completed, and the home was built in 1929—the architecture is excellent, and we paired it with fun elements mixed with classic styles. The second is in progress that I am very proud to be a part of—this client is really allowing us to explore color and pattern—excited to see it all come together.

Share a story about how you acquired an unusual item for a project.

We place vintage pieces in our projects—it’s been great to be in Europe shopping and see a piece for a client and watch its journey to their home.

Wooden table in the living room adorned with a glass water pitcher and matching glasses
Photo by Jeff McNamara Photography

Share your advice on how to run a successful design business and maintain a creative edge at the same time.

It takes a village to make the dream work! It takes a lot of people to make a project successful, both directly and indirectly. Good relationships with your vendors are essential, as is having a team that supports each other. I am so thankful for the wonderful team we have.

It’s also crucial to set expectations for yourself, your team, and your client. It prevents misunderstandings and costly errors. It’s never pleasant to disappoint your clients. Communication is key. We are in a service industry and at the end of the day, we want to exceed clients’ expectations.

The graphic with quote: "Studio Designer really helps us stay on the top of our projects in various stages. We couldn't  do what we do without it."

It is important to try new things, think outside the box, and let the mind rest—sometimes you need to step out of your comfort zone, alter your environment, and interact with nature in order to get fresh ideas.

How do you use Studio Designer to successfully run your business?

It is the program we use to manage our project, proposals, order processing, and invoicing. Studio Designer really helps us stay on top of our projects in various stages. We couldn’t do what we do without it.

Furniture in the living room against the full-wall window
Photo by Jeff McNamara Photography

What advice do you have for designers building their businesses?

Creating clear standards and systems that can be implemented as you grow your team. Build a team and encourage your team to grow and push their individual limits. Encourage them to flourish especially on their strengths.

Listen to your clients and get to know how they live so you can use your design to elevate their life at home. Their home should be an extension of them as people. Seek out wonderful vendors that are a good fit for you. Again, it takes a village to make a project come together. Trust your intuition— usually your first instinct is right.

Want to learn more about Studio Designer?

Email, or register for our weekly demo. We can’t wait to connect.

Studio Designer is the leading digital platform for Interior Designers managing and growing their design businesses. Featuring fully integrated project management, time billing, product sourcing, and accounting solutions for the interior design industry.

Featured Image: Photo by Jeff McNamara Photography