A passion for Shaker led two designers to a shared workspace.
Interview by Jennifer Proe
Who: Dawn Cook and Linda Mauck Smith
Where: Dawn lives in Fernway; Linda lives in Mercer
Business: Dawn is the principal of Dawn Cook Design and Linda is the principal of Blulens Design. Both provide interior design services to clients throughout Northeast Ohio and beyond. They recently decided to hang out their awning together at the shops along Warrensville Center Road, between Sgro’s Barbershop and AJ Heil Florist.
Company’s Mission: The designers maintain their own businesses but share a collaborative workspace, resources, and staff to support one another on client projects. They also share the same mission: to provide a full-service, client-driven design experience that is comfortable and appropriate for each client’s needs and budget. Says Dawn, “We can handle everything from updating a teen’s bedroom to a complete structural remodel.” Linda adds, “We try to take the fear factor out by easing our clients into the experience.”
What I Love About My Work:
Dawn: “Linda and I can both work with any design aesthetic, but I think I am especially known for creating a clean, classic, and updated style that works well with the kind of traditional architecture we have in Shaker. I use a lot of marble, neutrals and wood tones. When you work with older homes, there’s always a surprise when you open the walls. We have developed a level of expertise and knowledge from working with these older homes that is very helpful.”
Linda: “My particular passion is for strong, color-based contemporary design. I love repurposing items to create an eclectic and a bit more modern look. It can be surprising to mix an antique, a modern piece of art, and a comfortable chair in one space. Ultimately, it’s about executing what the client wants, but even better than they expected. They love it, even though they didn’t realize they would love it.”
Linda is a graduate of The Ohio State University, where she met her husband, Scott Smith, vice president of business development with LSQ Funding. In her first career, she was a headhunter for Management Recruiters before staying home with her children, Taylor, SHHS ’10 and Cori, SHHS ’13. Once the kids were older, she enrolled in classes at Cuyahoga Community College to explore her love of photography, a hobby that comes in handy to showcase the duo’s design projects online. She also fell in love with interior design, launching Blulens Design in 2007.
Dawn holds an undergraduate degree in marketing from Miami University of Ohio, where she met her husband, Brian Cook, a real estate investor and residential contractor with Bridge Partners. After college, she worked in consumer product marketing for Kraft Foods and JoAnn Stores, and obtained an MBA from Case Western Reserve University. She and Brian were married at St. Dominic Church, and have two children: Cooper, a seventh-grader at Shaker Middle School, and Sophie, a fifth-grader at Woodbury. She met Linda at Tri-C where she enrolled in design courses. She launched Dawn Cook Design in 2008 and blogs at dawncookdesign.com.
Both designers are ASID and NKBA certified.
On Working and Living in Shaker Heights:
Dawn: “I grew up in Solon, but Brian and I have lived in Shaker for more than 20 years. I love that we are 15 minutes from University Circle. We love our Fernway neighbors; especially when the kids were little, it was so important to be able to go outside and talk with them. We love walking to the library and hiking along the Doan Brook Gorge. Our family volunteers for spring cleanup at the Nature Center. And it’s really convenient to be working near Thornton Park, since Cooper plays hockey and Sophie figure skates.”
Linda: “I love that I can ride my scooter to work [she has a mint green Vespa], and I can go home at lunch to let out my dogs. The Nature Center at Shaker Lakes and the Bertram Woods Library basically raised my children. My husband and I often eat out at fire at Shaker Square. Dawn and I live at J. Pistone for work lunches, and we’re also very excited to be so near the new Van Aken District. Dawn and I are both such big boosters for Shaker; if a client is moving here, we always end up talking to them about how great the schools and neighborhoods are. We looked at a lot of spaces all over Cleveland, but in the end, it just made the most sense to be here.”
Phone: (216) 600-5665
3235 Warrensville Center Road (By appointment only – no retail on site.)