By: Alisa Stone
Photo by Shavon Rose, AZ Big Media
Being one of the founders of a top interior design firm in the Valley hasn’t phased 32-year interior designer Christina Johnson.
“It’s not a lot of ‘I’; it’s a lot of ‘we,’” Johnson says of the award-winning team that makes up the San Francisco- and Phoenix-based interior design firm Private Label International. The firm focuses on hospitality and real estate design, however there is a key aspect that sets it apart from the rest, says Johnson.
“Most of our competitors are traditional interior design firms. Whereas we get involved a lot with the brand development and our scope is a little different. We do a lot of exterior work…and consulting when it comes to landscape and branding and logos and marketing and PR, so we end up looking at kind of the full spectrum of the project,” Johnson says.
Johnson’s core role leans toward research, visioning and positioning of the business, creative direction and anything that has to do with graphics and drawing.
“We work a lot like a creative studio,” Johnson says.
Private Label International may still be a relatively young firm at eight years old, but you wouldn’t be able to tell from looking at its award-winning and buzz-worthy projects, locally and out-of-state. To list a few: Calhoun Beach Club in Minneapolis, Minn., Preserve at Marin in San Francisco; The Herb Box in Scottsdale; and the seven stunning and vibrantly painted Cabana properties, developed by Deco Communities.
With six apartment properties located throughout the Valley and one property in Vegas, the project is a personal favorite of Johnson, and not just because two of them won awards.
“Locally, we did all of the Cabana properties, which have also been recognized here in the Valley as the Top 10 apartment complexes to work in. They’ve also started a trend, locally, of bringing in more exterior colors,” Johnson said.
Regardless of the project, Johnson is not only focused on what is going to appeal to the client, but also what the design symbolizes.
“When we work on a project, obviously we want it to look good and we want it to have a specific look, a specific style but the story is what’s important to us. What we’re giving back to the community is important to us,” Johnson says.
With an expansive portfolio and years of experience, Johnson has learned the one thing that is the most important when it comes to interior design.
“It’s about the demographic that were targeting. So, while I have a personal style that rarely transcends into my interior design work because the way we approach it is we first research the demographic. What market are we trying to target, and what are their likes and dislikes? Is it traditional? Is it modern? What’s going to appeal to them?” Johnson says