Interview: Dorothy Collins Haag


Our interest in interior design didn't happen by accident. It happened by DNA. We are so lucky to come from a big, creative family that not only values hard work but sets an example for us daily. At the helm is our grandmother, Dorothy Collins-Haag, who built her design business single handedly and from the ground up garnering notoriety and esteem both locally in Minneapolis and at the national level. As one of the original game-changing designers in the Midwest, she was recently featured in Minneapolis, St. Paul Magazine and coined a "Doyenne of Design," deserving every bit of honor the prestigious title holds. 

In case you aren't familiar with the term "Doyenne" it means a woman who is the most respected or prominent in a particular field. Our grandmother spent years building her business at a time when there weren't many women in the workforce. She tirelessly tailored her business and trained her employees to work clients of all types and by the time we came along she had already built and sold a multi-designer studio and was in the process of opening a showroom. She truly made an industry name for herself. Given her background and expertise we continue to use her as an invaluable sounding board and resource. She recently sat down for an interview and shared five notable pieces of advice that really resonated with us: 

  • Invest your budget in furniture rather than built-ins if you aren't in your forever home. This way you are putting money towards assets you can take with you. 
  • Always consider angles. Can you view a corner of your office from your dining room? If so, those spaces should coordinate.  
  • When purchasing furniture you should be able to envision the piece two places: you current home and your next home. If it doesn't pass the test, don't buy it. 
  • Never bargain shop the things that you use everyday. 
  • Re-imagine your furniture and get creative!  If an armoire is shown solo imagine pairing two of them together to give the illusion of high end built-ins.

It's funny how design advice, even from someone who built their career decades ago, still rings true today. Whether you're investing in custom furniture or simply reimagining the layout of a room these are sage tips to follow. Dorothy is a self-made woman who always knew the value of hard work. She's an entertainer (I dare you to find someone who can throw a better party) and she loves fashion almost as much as design. Her favorite color is lavender and if you see her out and about buy her drink: vodka on the rocks, a wedge of lime and a splash of soda served in a brandy snifter. She's rather specific. 

Love you Grandma. 

BlogLauren Overholser