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Kira Heramb

Successful interior designer made career switch from real estate industry

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Kira and Ariana Heramb, the daughters of Brookfield Homes veteran Lora Heramb have taken a decidedly different tack and are making a name for themselves in interior design.

Kira, who, like her mother Lora, worked in the sales and marketing department for Brookfield Homes, joined forces with sister Ariana to create the Design Squared interior design firm about three years ago.

"My sister and I like working in the field of high-end residential," said Kira Heramb. "My specialty is the bachelor pad makeover."

Heramb, who loves to handle highrise residential interiors, takes great pleasure in transforming a vision of something like what might be seen in a coffee table book for example, "and turning it into a vision that it is feasible" and appropriate for the client.

Heramb said her wide range of clientele has ranged from professional football players to Egyptian investors.

One of the more challenging jobs for Design Squared was that of the remodeling of Brookfield Homes President Steve Doyle's Spanish/Tuscan-style home in Point Loma.

“Through the use of warm stones, iron work, eclectic woods, a warm and earthy /neutral color palette, and clean furnishings, this home will feel as if it was touched by the sun,” the company writes on its website.

"It took about 2 ½ years and a lot of patience," Kira said, adding that both she and Doyle have been very happy with the results.

Heramb added that her firm also works as a general contractor when necessary, and the business isn't exclusively residential. While Design Squared handles a wide range of commercial jobs from spaces for law firms to recreation centers, Heramb prefers the intimacy of the residential remodel, even though it has its own challenges.

"When there's a couple involved, you have to become a therapist," Heramb said. "This job is 25 percent interior design and 75 percent managing people."

Kira's sister Ariana has taken a more direct route to interior design, having earned a master's degree in interior design from the Academy of Art in San Francisco. She has studied design history and interior design ideas and trends in the United States, as well as in London and Spain. Ariana has been designing interiors for the past 10 years.

Kira said Design Squared, which has just six employees, is expected to grow, but also emphasized she doesn't want the firm to become larger than 15 to 20 people.

"You don't want to get so big you lose the boutique feel," Heramb said.

Heramb, who estimated her firm posted about $750,000 to $800,000 in sales last year, said she is really fortunate to be both enjoying the job and working with her sister.

"We're really fortunate that we get along so well," Heramb said.

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