About Leu Interiors
Owned and operated by Becky Leu in West Des Moines, Leu Interiors is a full-service residential design company. No project is too large or small, as we have a range of services available that can be scaled to fit any design challenge. Each and every Leu Interiors design is custom created by Becky to meet the needs, wants and budgets of the homeowners who get to enjoy the finished project.
Becky works closely with a carefully curated and trusted team of expert tradesmen to complete every job beautifully and professionally. We assist clients with a wide range of challenges including architectural layouts, the selection of fixtures and finishes, builder collaboration, custom millwork design, and completing a functional, beautiful space with furniture and accessories. From whole house remodels to one room makeovers, we are confident that through expert-level collaboration, we can create a space that reflects your personal style and fits your unique needs.
Becky's in-person design services span the Greater Des Moines metro, while her Online Design service is readily available anywhere in the United States.
As the daughter of a carpenter and the niece of two interior designers, I chose my career path at the age of seven and have held a passion for it ever since. I received my BFA in Interior Design from Iowa State University, CIDA-accredited. While pursuing my education, I worked as an intern producing technical drawings for a healthcare design firm remodeling the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Degree in hand, I began my career as an interior design assistant at a high-end design + build firm here in West Des Moines. With time and experience, I grew to become lead designer and fully realize my love of creating amazing, one-of-a-kind spaces for amazing, one-of-a-kind clients.
In March of 2016, on my brother's birthday and the day I received word of my last living Grandmother's death, it became all too clear that life was short. My dream had always been to some day run my own interior design firm, and "some day" was no longer going to cut it. I took the leap, parting with my 9-5 and founding Leu Interiors. From year 1 to year 3, Leu Interiors has seen a 500% growth in revenue, allowing the business to expand its range of services and offer each client an even more tailored experience. Every day is another day that I get to learn so much, on-site and off, and grow into a stronger designer and business owner. I’m truly living my dream job!
In addition to running my design practice, I love remaining active in my community. Since 2015, I’ve been a member of and held a local committee seat on the International Interior Design Association. In 2016, I founded a local networking group for female entrepreneurs called DSM Biz Ladies. In 2018, I was invited to teach two semesters of a residential interior design course at Iowa State University, an experience of a lifetime! And this year, I’ve joined the Home Builders Association of Greater Des Moines, the Remodelers Council of Des Moines, and the local chapter of Professional Women in Building.
In my free time, you’ll find me listening to podcasts, making music, organizing different areas of my home (yes, really), collecting chopsticks, creating large acrylic and watercolor paintings, trying new restaurants, traveling the world, and spending time with Aaron and our two Miniature Australian Shepherd pups - all while wearing something extremely soft; always!
becky's Design Philosophy
My love of residential interior design and my design philosophy both revolve around client happiness. "Home" is a place that you're always excited to return to. No matter whether you're coming back after work, after dinner or even after a vacation, you should be happy to be home. I believe that quality design respects both form and function, and that both are essential for a successful end product. Interior Design is much more than an aesthetic transformation - it is the curation of an experience. As humans, we spend about 90% of our lives indoors; that time is precious and should be treated as such. My goal with every project is not only for my clients to feel that their space functions for them as well as possible, but also that they're able to function as well as possible IN their space. Never underestimate great design!
Frequently asked questions
Q: What does an Interior Designer usually cost?
This depends on the Designer's level of experience and involvement. As a general rule of thumb, it's best to expect an Interior Designer to cost 10% - 20% of your project budget. If your designer is also acting as your General Contractor and/or Project Management, plan on an additional 10%. However, if your designer is playing more of a consultant role than a hands-on role, design fees can fall under the initial 10% mark, total. Leu Interiors' services fall into all of these brackets, depending on the project needs.
Q: What is the difference between an Interior Decorator and an Interior Designer?
You may have occasionally heard the terms for interior decorator and interior designer interchanged. However, there is a difference between the two titles. An interior decorator generally deals with furniture and decor only. Education and training are not necessary to work as a decorator.
An interior designer is a specialized career field, requiring a certain combined level of education, work experience, and licensing. An interior designer may create spaces for the inside of a commercial office building, design the lighting for a restaurant, or design the entirety of a home from the layout and electrical plan all the way down to the rugs and accessories. Interior designers even work with builders and architects to ensure that the exterior complements the interior design of a commercial or residential structure. An interior designer may also deal with issues of health, safety and welfare; i.e. accessibility and building codes, especially in a commercial setting.
Q: Why do I need an Interior Designer?
Whether you need a little help or a lot, the advice and guidance of an Interior Designer is invaluable. Beyond providing expertise from countless similar projects, a properly educated interior designer on your team means that you will have access to the industry’s leading product resources as well as the best contractors, material fabricators and installers in your area. Does that mean always paying top dollar? NO! An interior designer’s job is to give you the best that YOUR money can buy. Working with an Interior Designer will ensure that your project moves along efficiently from beginning to end, preventing costly mistakes along the way.
Q: Why should I pay for an Interior Designer when some retail stores offer “free design assistance?”
The knowledge and expertise that you benefit from when you hire a personal interior designer is the primary value that the designer studied thoroughly and spent years of time and effort to curate. Do you work for free? Neither do "free in-house designers". While it is true that many retail establishments may offer “free” advice and assistance, and that sometimes those consultants may be very good at what they do, it is also true that although the advice they offer you is “free,” they definitely are not working for “free” and their primary allegiance and obligation is to their employer.
On the contrary, a personal Interior Designer serves as your advocate. They will always be on your side, and working to get you the best services, prices, and experience as possible. They have no attachment to certain brands (other than through tried and true experience), so they have the entire world of products to choose from, rather than being required to stay within any one company's family of brands. Do you have favorites? Let your Designer know! Leu Interiors is always open to using our clients' preferred stores, brands, products or services.
Q: When is the right time to hire an Interior Designer?
While a good designer can help you at any stage of the design, it is most advantageous for you to begin your work with a designer at the earliest stages of the project. As with almost any process, having a good plan in place as early as possible is the best route to success. Leu Interiors can take your project from the initial point of gathering information on the requirements and needs for your space, through design development, purchasing and installation for every detail of your project – all the way to completion. A perfect final result is evidence of a plan well thought out and well executed from the initial ideas to the final details.
IMPORTANT: Hiring an Interior Designer several months prior to your project start date will not cost you any extra money, it will simply guarantee your spot on their calendar!!
Q: What is Leu Interiors' Design fee structure?
Our designs are billed as flat fees based on an hourly estimation of how long your space will take us to design. We'll send you a design fee proposal before your project begins, which will be custom-tailored to your project scope and amount of detail you're interested in. With a flat fee structure, you know exactly what you're going to get and there are no surprises.
Q: Are Project Management fees and Design fees different?
Yes. Leu Interiors is always the Designer for our projects, but not always the Project Manager. After the design portion of your project is complete, if you choose to have Leu Interiors see your project through to the very end, we charge an hourly Project Management fee of $100. This fee covers the time and experience needed to schedule, hire, coordinate, manage and meet with the tradesmen who install our designs. Using our Project Management services, you benefit from working with our highly skilled, preferred team of subcontractors while we oversee everything so your project goes as smoothly and efficiently as possible, turning out exactly as planned. There are no hourly minimum or maximums.
Q: What do the Design fees include?
Space planning: structural, furniture, and electrical layouts.
Lighting design, mood boards, renderings, working drawings and finish selections
Design of custom built-ins, cabinetry, and window treatments
Preparation of estimates and purchasing good & services
Design coordination with contractors, architects and installers
Subsequent consultations with the client and suppliers
Researching sources for materials or products
Client meetings and design site visits
Q: What does the Project Management fee include?
Finding and scheduling skilled trades for your project
Installation coordination with contractors, architects and installers
Overall project management and overseeing installations
Leu Interiors also acts as the main point of contact for all installers
Q: How often will I be billed for hourly work? How often for Project Management?
Leu Interiors bills upfront for 100% of Design services. After the design phase is complete, the hourly Project Management fee is billed to you every two weeks for the time spent since the last invoice.
Q: What is the best way to communicate with my Designer?
Email, Text & Phone Call are all acceptable ways to communicate with us, and we prefer them in that order! As a rule of thumb, we prefer to have a paper trail from all communication. We understand that's not always possible, so we'll try to take notes as much as possible when we're talking in person or on the phone.
Q: How can I prepare for our first meeting for my project?
You can share your Pinterest. Houzz or other inspiration links in the Project Questionnaire.
You may also collect clippings from magazines and/or photos that appeal to you.
Be thinking about colors, styles and looks that you like or are drawn to?
Know your wants, needs, and what the space should do for you when finished.
Think about your time frame - when do you want to start? Do you have finish date goals?
Have a budget in mind and be honest about it with your designer. Having a ball park figure is a good start.
Bring your calendar and an idea of when you are most available for future meetings.
Get excited! I'll be excited too, so we can have that in common from the very beginning.