Design Inspiration
Design Home Interiors actualizes a local family’s dream living room
by Rich Pietras

When Rita La Rosa visited the Cape May Show House three years ago, she discovered a living room that she never wanted to leave. It was a good thing, because she was searching for decorating ideas for the living room of her Chadds Ford home. La Rosa’s sister had suggested she go to the beach town’s yearly decorator showcase, and now she says it was one of the best decisions she ever made.

La Rosa’s home was already mostly decorated—by her own hand—but the living room was bare and starving for an expert’s touch.

“When I saw that living room at the Show House, it really hit me. I thought I would really like my room to look that good,” says the married mother of two college-aged boys.

After taking a brochure and being introduced to Design Home Interiors, the team responsible for creating the unforgettable living space, she knew she could make her living room look just that good.

Located in Montgomeryville, Design Home Interiors boasts a 7,500-square-foot showroom that highlights vignettes created from the minds of the designers who work there.

Owned by Mark D. Little, Jeff Hirschoff and Karin Leaver, Design Home incorporates more than 50 different U.S. manufacturers including Century Furniture, Harden, Sherrill and The Custom Shoppe.

Even with 6,000 different fabrics to choose from, countless hardware, lighting and window treatment options, the most valuable piece of merchandise isn’t in the catalogs or on the showroom floor. It lives in the expert eye of the decorators that have decades of home design experience between them. They offer furnishings, complete home designs and everything in between.

Little says the idea behind Design Home Interiors is not to just sell pieces, but to create and build the living spaces of their customers’ dreams.

“When you visit our showroom, our focus is tailoring a design to fit your lifestyle,” Little says. “We want to get an idea of who uses the room and what it’s used for.”

Although you can find anything from an inexpensive lamp or accessory to a $10,000 sofa, Little says the staff is especially skilled at designing rooms to fit every budget and lifestyle.

The process is hands-on and heartfelt, as designers start their larger projects not in the showroom, but in a customer’s home. Once inside, they find out information about the room, as well as who will be enjoying it. Measurements and pictures are taken and an in-store presentation is created.

Little says the final presentation can last over an hour, as customers are shown a floor plan and story boards with scaled drawings.

In what Little describes as a process that mirrors an episode of the television show Designers Challenge, paint, floor and even window treatment selections are discussed. The concept is always to work for and with the customer.

La Rosa wanted her living room to draw people out of the kitchen and become a place to entertain guests. Little accomplished this by suggesting a chest-like wall unit that when opened, displays glasses and a refrigerator filled with her favorite wines. As far as color, Little incorporated browns, golds and corals that helped accent her 10-foot ceilings.

Having already tried—and admittedly failed at decorating her family room—La Rosa had Mark take over and transform that living space as well.

“After being in the space for about a year and a half, I wasn’t happy,” La Rosa says. “I actually modeled the room after another sample home I saw, but I bought a sofa that was too small.

“Mark came in and put a huge sectional sofa in, and although it was bigger than the original sofa, it made the room look bigger. He also added vertical paintings that helped a lot too. I am a pretty traditional person who tends to gravitate toward things I am comfortable with. But with Mark, he can take you outside the box but still make you feel comfortable.”

La Rosa says the whole experience has worked out so well, she is turning the design of her new vacation home over to the Design Home team.

“Three years into this, I can’t be happier with everything they have done,” she says. “Working with them has been so nice and stress free.”

Little and the rest of the Design Home staff are busy preparing for this year’s room in the Cape May Show House. They have been a staple in the show for more than half a decade, and this year, the Design Home team will be creating a parlor in the show house, which benefits the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts.

The Center has presented a different home for both locals and residents since 2005 where prestigious regional designers have transformed historic homes into works of art.

Design Home Interiors is located at 668 Bethlehem Pike, Montgomeryville, 215-361-9100, Sign up to receive monthly design tips through their online monthly newsletter or follow the team on Facebook.

Rich Pietras is a professional writer based out of Doylestown. (