Lynne Lawson was in a successful career at IBM when she took the leap to pursue her passion for interior design.  With the training, business support, supplier network, and other resources she got by becoming a Decorating Den Interiors franchisee, she won numerous design awards—including the company’s highest, was featured on the cover and inside a new international decorating book, and was on a prestigious panel at this fall’s High Point NC Home Furnishing Market.

Trends in Design Business Practices was the panel’s topic, which was moderated by Traditional Home Magazine Editor-in-Chief Jill Waage.  Joining Lawson was interior designer Barry Dixon, who also is a well-known designer of furniture, wall coverings and fabrics; and Jaye Anna Mize, of the trend forecasting agency Fashion Snoops.

The discussion was held in the Learning Resource Center of Universal Furniture’s showroom and was attended by more than 75 interior designers.

When asked if she had an interior design degree or formal education in design, Lawson explained that she has “formal training, but not a design degree. I have always wanted to be a designer. I was making pillows and curtains when I was ten. After 19 years with IBM, I decided to pursue my dream. I got to that dream through Decorating Den Interiors. My formal training is the training I received and still receive there.”

“When I started, they had it all set up for me,” she said. “There was initial training, ongoing training through my first year, and then we have annual conferences, events like this at High Point, and we get trained continually. So I feel very qualified in training, but it wasn’t the traditional route that some people think we should take. It’s worked out very well for me.”

Very well, indeed. Lawson, of Columbia, Md., is a three-time Decorating Den Interiors Decorator of the Year, twice with her decorator, Laura Gonzales, and has won best in various room categories many times. The company’s annual Dream Room competition is judged by interior design journalists from throughout the U.S. and Canada. Other design awards are judged by the general public in online voting and by franchisee colleagues.

The new decorating book Love Your Home: Marvelous Makeovers by Decorating Den Interiors features one of Lawson/Gonzales’ designs on its cover and on four pages inside, along with another room featured on two other pages. The book is available on “It’s just one example of how our company uses our annual Dream Room competition to get us published in national and regional news media,” she said. “We have a complete system.”

Lynne Lawson signing book for

Palm Springs designer Dann Foley