Celebrating the Heart and Soul of Dahlia Mahmood

By: Ilona Thompson | September 10, 2015 | Chic Metropolitan


Dahlia Mahmood, one of the most widely recognized celebrity interior designers in the world, spend her early years in southern California, steps away from Disneyland, that she and her family frequented. The world-famous amusement park inspired and fascinated young Dahlia. “If Walt Disney could create something that is so unique and is appreciated by both adults and children from around the world, then why can’t I elicit those same feelings?” she asked herself. She would watch the fireworks and dream of one day becoming someone important. At the tender age of five she announced, “Mom, be prepared. I am going to be a famous designer!” At seventeen she took on her first design project.

Today Dahlia is a wildly successful businesswoman, known for her extraordinary architecture, landscapes, and interior designs. Her talents and tenacity are legendary. Her unmistakable signature style of simplicity and elegance won her awards and accolades around the globe. Her mission is to create timeless, highly sophisticated interiors, featuring top quality materials and consummate craftsmanship. Her vision centers around combining classic design with the personalized touches of luxury. Her passion is to create understated glamour in everyday living, to seamlessly fuse comfort with luxury. She was selected as a featured designer by the prestigious Haute Design Network for her outstanding work in the field.

Why did you decide to become a designer? If you weren’t a designer, what would you be and why?

I knew at a very young age that I appreciated aesthetics. Everything surrounding me needed to be arranged just so. Even when I played with my Barbies, I would rearrange the dollhouse to look perfect. When I was a child, my mother would do my hair every morning before school. If one hair was out of place or the bow was crooked, I would be so bothered that I would refuse to go to school until it was perfect. I was an intense child, but truthfully, it was those details that I cared about so much that brought me the success I have today.

If I was not a designer, I would be a humanitarian. I love public service and receive immense pleasure when I can relieve suffering or make someone’s day in any way. My ultimate goal is to improve the lives of others, whether by design or any other means.

What is your greatest strength as a designer? Biggest weakness?

My greatest strengths as a designer are my acute attention to detail and my desire to always exceed my client’s expectations. I am a master at mixing different textiles and colors, which enables my designs to constantly evolve and always excites and enchants my clients.

My biggest weakness is that I tend to overwork myself. It is very hard for me to say no to my clients. When my creativity is flowing, I can’t rest until I’ve created my masterpiece!

What is your proudest achievement?

My proudest achievement was designing my first museum for King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in Fairfax, VA. It was an enormous responsibility to bring the spirit of a visionary leader to life. I was truly honored to have been entrusted with the task of representing the King’s legacy in such a large scale visual exposition. I was given four weeks to complete the design, but I was so inspired that I had it fully mapped out in my mind in two days. We used a variety of advanced technological mediums including the latest indoor mist dispersion technology. I hope this museum will just be the bedrock to many more interesting and challenging experiences in my career as an interior designer.

What is your favorite word or saying?

“Here is to living glamorously. Life is too short not to enjoy beautiful things!”

What inspires you?

I love to travel! Visiting different countries and diving into foreign cultures continuously expands my creativity and influences my work. I love seeing different forms of architecture, colors, and styles and incorporating ideas from around the world. Fashion is also a big inspiration as it is always evolving in form and style, and that is how I want my brand to be.

What is your most prized possession?

My husband, Mounsif Tolab, and my three boys: Kayden, Saif, and Jad. They are the loves of my life!

What song or lyric best sums you up?

Alicia Keys – Girl on Fire

Which one of the five senses is your strongest?

I believe my sight is my strongest senses because I can spot things from a thousand miles away and am always noticing the minutia around me.

What is your biggest motivation?

My children are my biggest motivation. I do what I do for them. They give me the drive to work hard and be a good role model. Their endless love and support keep me grounded and allow me to be what I am today.

What does the concept of “luxury” mean to you?

Luxury is a limitless indulgence of the best things in life. It is all about expectation, uniqueness, and simply feeling good. Luxury affects all the senses and makes you feel something special. You can taste, touch, smell, see, and hear it.

What is your definition of “quality”?

Quality is synonymous with luxury. It is something that can stand the test of time. I would rather have a few things of quality than many things of poor caliber.

What is the single most important thing you want people to notice in your designs?

The most important thing I want people to notice is the simple elegance in the details of my designs. I put my heart and soul into my work and I want my clients to feel that when they walk into a Dahlia Design room.

What is the best comment made about your work and by whom?

The best comment made about my work is by one of my favorite clients; Andrea Butler, wife of a NBA star, Caron Butler. She wrote, “Dahlia Designs are impeccable! When I came through our front doors, it was if we were walking into a new home! Not only is her work of quality, she and her team are trustworthy. We were able to be across the country for my husband’s basketball season and trust that our home was safe in her hands.”

What advice would you give to young starting professionals in your field?

I strongly suggest developing a strong work ethic. It is wrong to assume that just because you now have a degree, you are entitled to a job and a career. You need to be prepared to work hard and go above and beyond if you want to succeed in this business and in all things in your future. Success will not be given to you freely, but when you achieve it, it is worth all of the struggle.

There is no stopping Dahlia. She is constantly working on her business expansion and recently launched “Dahlia Design Lifestyle”, aimed to service her customers post-project and maintain her signature luxury stamp on clients’ daily lives. Her long-term goal is to venture into designing a variety of household goods to offer everyone an opportunity to experience the Dahlia Design. Under Dahlia’s fierce leadership her company is poised to become a global empire.

As a human being, she is a source of inspiration to us all. As a woman of an Arab-American descent she is showing the world how to overcome any and all odds by pure determination, hard work and giving it your all. That’s worth celebrating.

News Link: Celebrating the Heart and Soul of Dahlia Mahmood