Design exploration and community commitment with Tula Summerford

Madeline Gray—North State Journal
Interior Designer Tula Summerford stands in a home she is currently designing in Raleigh on Tuesday

RALEIGH — When it comes to the vibe of design Tula Summerford of Design By Tula does not miss a beat. Relying on travel for inspiration she collects color, concepts, and aesthetic from around the world for her clients right here in the Triangle. “I travel to selective markets on buying trips,” said Summerford. “That allows me to put together one of a kind looks for clients. You never know what will inspire or what will embolden you to create a room around.”Seamlessly integrating vintage looks into modern spaces has become one of Summerford’s calling cards. “I thrive on richly layering rooms,” said Summerford. “I enjoy picking up just the right item in Paris, New York, or New Orleans and hanging on to it for exactly the right person.”Summerford’s design business takes her to all of those places throughout the year, but she does say it is a luxury to have the world come to her here at home. “I never miss the High Point Market,” said Summerford. “It’s always informative and exciting to see the international presence of design right here in North Carolina.”Regardless of the style — traditional, vintage, modern, French country — bringing out the character of the client is always top of mind. The space may be a complete overhaul or simply working select antiques into a room with a client’s existing collection, either way the approach is the same for Summerford. “I’m looking to create something singular,” said Summerford. “At the end of a recent job a client told me that what I had done was a labor of love, that was the highest compliment she could have paid me, because of course it was.”Her work will be on display and up for bid as the Triangle community will get the benefit of her heartfelt design this spring at the Green Chair Project and in a room at The Boys & Girls Club of Wake County Designer Show House. The Green Chair Project works with partner agencies located in Raleigh to help individuals and families in crisis by providing furniture and home necessities at a minimal cost. The chair Summerford designed is for the 2017 Chairity Event to be held at the Green Chair Project on April 20. The Boys & Girls Club of Wake County are raising funds at their Wake County Designer Show House by having 20 interior and landscape designers fashion rooms and spaces at the property located at 3019 Granville Drive. Tickets will be made available to the public and the home will be open from March 25-April 9 to tour and get ideas and inspiration while giving back to the Wake County Boys & Girls Club.Summerford doesn’t see herself slowing down in the near future. Lighting up about what’s on the horizon for Design By Tula she said, “The Raleigh market is busy and vibrant filled with creative people, I’m full steam ahead!”