Dan Davis, Principal, Designer

Dan Davis has led many creative lives, bringing an unusually wide skill set to every project. He’s previously worked as an art director, a fine arts painter, an event planner and a landscape designer. Along the way, he’s won numerous awards, including a bronze Lion at the Cannes Film Festival, a United Nations Public Service award, and a Best of Houzz.com award for Customer Satisfaction. His interior design work is featured in local and national publications, including Hour Magazine, Ambassador, StyleLine, and The Detroit News and Free Press, and Desire to Inspire and many other interior design blogs.


  1. Prior to starting your full-service design firm, you were a creative director in advertising. What made you decide to make the decision to do interior design?
    As you climb the ladder, you manage more and create less. I missed creating on a daily basis. I needed a new creative outlet, and always loved interior design.
  2. What type of projects do you find most satisfying?
    The more difficult projects. I love thinking strategically, creatively, and practically all at once. Give me a hard-to-solve problem, and I am one happy designer.
  3. What inspires you?
    Travel, music and sharing ideas. I love collaborating on projects because it leads to great solutions.
  4. Name three words that describe you.
    Passionate. Earnest. Focused.
  5. Why do all your projects look so different?
    I design for my clients and their needs, not just how I would do my own home. I love getting into a client’s mindset and discovering a whole new set of building blocks that maybe I haven’t used before. It’s all about the client’s needs and wants. 
  6. What is something people are surprised to learn about you?
    I am a farm boy, and an Iowa State banjo champion.
  7. What design rule do you love to break?
    I don’t follow rules. Does that count?
  8. What are you happiest doing when you’re not working?
    Traveling, entertaining, cooking, working in my garden, and being with my family.
  9. What is something that surprises people when they hire you?
    That I ask so many questions. I once had a client who was a psychologist tell me I asked more questions than she does!
  10. Why do you think clients should choose to work with Dan Davis Design?
    We try harder than other firms to deliver a personal and unique product to our clients. We love to help them tell their own story.

Paul Johnson, Principal, Designer

Paul Johnson combines business and project management skills with a design eye he cultivated in his family-owned flooring store and small chain of to-the-trade showrooms. With degrees in communications and education, he helps clients select design, beauty, and functionality. Paul values community, and he regularly volunteers with AFS-USA, a student cultural exchange program with a mission to “build a more just and peaceful world through international education and exchange.”


  1. How did you get started in design?
    Design has always been part of my life. Even as a kid in my family’s flooring business, I grew an appreciation for helping our builder clientele design interiors, literally working from the flooring up. I recognized I was good at it, too. After college, I put my skills to work providing flooring product to designers and collaborating on the best flooring solutions for their clients. I stepped right in to Dan Davis Design, and I haven’t looked back. It’s definitely one of the better decisions I’ve made in life.
  2. What’s your favorite aspect about working in interior design?
    Helping our clients create a feeling of sanctuary in their home is so satisfying. It’s what keeps me in design.
  3. What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
    I’m a pretty simple guy, I like cooking for the people I love, listening to and exploring all sorts of music, and biking around to discover interesting parts of Detroit.
  4. Name three words that describe you.
    Honest, funny, and loyal.
  5. What do you think are the best skills you bring to your job?
    My ability to make sure that our work is not only beautiful but that it functions in the real world. I’m great at finding solutions to tricky design situations. I always take what we do seriously, but rarely do I take myself seriously. This is supposed to be fun!
  6. What is something people are surprised to learn about you?
    I do all kinds of stuff! I’ve been a DJ at a community radio station in Grand Rapids, I’ve been a high school history teacher, and I’m always eager to volunteer for worthy causes.
  7. What is the best interior design lesson you’ve learned?
    Having a diverse group of talented vendors and support people to call on. It’s so important to work collaboratively with intelligent people to help a project run smoothly.
  8. One piece of advice you can give a prospective client?
    Start way earlier than you think you need to. That way you won’t end up making selections based on availability, and that includes working with the contractors that are available rather than those best suited for the job. We know that quality results take time. That’s a big part of great design.
  9. What is something that surprises people when they hire you?
    We don’t walk in and tell you what to do. The process revolves around conversations and dialogue. We want our clients to understand the whole design. Clients are surprised that they don’t have to throw out everything they own to get great design. Quite often their previously collected items curate a more authentic result. Finally, we pay closer attention to the budget than our clients do.
  10. Why should clients choose to work with Dan Davis Design?
    We believe everybody deserves a beautiful place to call their own, and we work hard to deliver the best outcome to every client, regardless of budget.