This year, we teamed up with local showrooms to select the best designers in the business. More than 250 local showrooms were surveyed. Click here for our 2011 honorees. The list does not necessarily reflect the opinions of D Home.

We asked some of the city's most esteemed interior designers to give the scoop on a few of their favorite things. Here's what they had to say.

list_01 photography: portrait by Kevin Dotolo; all others courtesy of vendor.


Beth Dotolo

Biggest design influence:
Architecture
Design element you’re so over: The painted focal wall. I loathe the painted focal wall.
The new neutral: Metallics. I think we all want a little sparkle in our space.
Favorite home store: ABC Home & Carpet in New York City. You could get lost for days.
Every home should have: A neutral sofa with great lines. If you have a good sofa, you can shape and mold your space as trends fade in and out.
If you were a designer in another country, it would be: Japan! The aesthetic ranges from quirky and colorful to clean lines with natural elements, which expresses my personal design style perfectly.
To red or not to red: Red packs a punch, and I love it when used thoughtfully.
Most overused word in the design world: Chic
Favorite coffee table book: I love the David LaChapelle coffee table book series.

list_02 photography: paint swatch by John Gay; Fortuny by Elizabeth Lavin; Wearstler by Getty; Falconer courtesy of vendor.


Laura Lee Clark Falconer

Biggest design influence:
Rose Tarlow, Nancy Corzine, John Saladino, and Kelly Wearstler
Your color of 2011: Lavender
The new neutral: Seal gray
Every home should have: Fortuny fabric on something!
Favorite home store: Laura Lee Clark Falconer’s newest creative outlet, The Shop, located at 1615 Dragon St.
To red or not to red: I think it can be a great accent especially when it leans toward orange or coral.
Favorite coffee table book: Emilio Pucci by Mariuccia Casadio

list_03 photography: cornflower by Veer; Blue Print by Alex Hamm: all others courtesy of vendor.


Cynthia Collins

Biggest design influence: Early David Hicks
Your color of 2011: Cornflower blue and lavender
Design element you’re so over: Heavy trims
The new neutral: I will love cream and white forever. 
Every home should have: An extremely comfortable chair and ottoman with a good view
If you were a designer in another country, it would be: London, England
Favorite home store: For sure, Blue Print in Dallas. There is nothing like it!
Favorite coffee table book: The new 50th anniversary Barbie book by Yona Zeldis McDonough

list_04 photography: Nest by Manny Rodriguez; Pucci by Elizabeth Lavin; swatch by John Gay; all others courtesy of vendor.


James McInroe

Biggest design influence:
David Hicks
Your color of 2011: I’m loving a strong Chinese yellow as an accent color.
Design element you’re so over: Texas Tuscan
The new neutral: Gold
Every home should have: A Cedric Hartman lamp
Favorite home store: Nest
To red or not to red: I like strong reds with orange undertones. Also reds tending toward oxblood colors.
The most overused word in the design world: Glamorous
Favorite coffee table book: Emilio Pucci by Vanessa Friedman, Armando Chitolina, and Alessandra Arezzi Boza

list_05 photography: swatches by John Gay; portrait courtesy of vendor.

Betty Lou Phillips

Biggest design influence:
Impressionist artists: Renoir, Monet, Manet, Pissarro, and more
Design element you’re so over: Jabots, swags, and valances. A close second is dinnerware on walls in living rooms, dining rooms, even bathrooms. 
The new neutral: Gray or greige, a mix of grey and beige
Favorite home store: Does the Paris flea market (the famed Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen) qualify as a home store?  If not, Maison de Famille in Paris is a favorite. Here in the United States, Bergdorf Goodman’s home floor is superb. 
To red or not to red: It works especially well as an accent.
Most overused word in the design world: Once it was the word “eclectic.” But lately a day hardly passes when we don’t hear the words “back ordered.”
Favorite coffee table book: Renoir: A Retrospective edited by Nicholas Wadley

list_06 photography courtesy of vendor.

Gonzalo Bueno

Biggest design influence:
I learn from my projects when I use different materials in new and startling ways.
Design element you’re so over: Cherrywood
The new neutral: Gray
Every home should have: Dimmers
If you were a designer in another country, it would be: It’s a tie—Italy or France
Favorite home store: Flair (Florence, Milan, and New York)
To red or not to red: Red is risky and hot. It’s great, but only in moderation. Every room should have it. Just be careful!
Most overused word in the design world: Sophisticated
Favorite coffee table book? Let Me In! by Michael Roberts, Mario Testino, and Nicole Kidman