Design Q&A – Collaborative Design with Violante and Rochford Interiors

by robwoods24

At Woods, we pride ourselves on a collaborative and comprehensive design-build process where our clients can work with architects, interior designers and construction professionals all under one roof. As part of our comprehensive design-build services, we are pleased to now offer the innovative interior design services of Michael Violante and Paul Rochford of Violante & Rochford Interiors. Violante & Rochford have been in business for a combined 38 years and have been featured in Santa Fean magazine, Luxe magazine, and Architectural Digest.

We sat down with Michael and Paul and asked them to share more about their partnership with Woods, what motivates and inspires them, and how they work to achieve the perfect design aesthetic for each and every client they come in contact with.

How did the partnership between Woods Design Builder and Violante & Rochford begin?

PAUL: We all go quite a ways back. I am a native Santa Fean, and Michael has lived in the area for over 30 years. In that time, Michael has become a well-known designer in Santa Fe. Sharon Woods has always loved his work. When we started Violante & Rochford Interiors, Woods would recommend a lot of their clients to us for interiors. Now we are brought in earlier in the process to help select finishes for new builds and renovations, working with the client from the very beginning with Woods and the architect and helping guide the process from the start.

MICHAEL: When it came to selecting a builder for the renovation of our own home , Woods was the only option. We didn’t interview anyone else for the job.

Can you describe the collaborative design process between Woods Design Builders and Violante & Rochford?

MICHAEL: We take the time to learn about our clients no matter the project we’re working on. Whether it’s picking out furnishings, or selecting finishes for a renovation or new build, we don’t have an agenda to force upon anyone.

When Woods brings us in for a project, we usually work with their in-house architect and start by going over initial plans and layout. Once we finalize the map of the house, we help the client select plumbing fixtures, flooring, and countertops. We keep the whole picture in mind, considering details like the color of beams and walls and staying true to the architect’s design.

PAUL: It’s a great collaboration because we’re not bringing in big egos. Everything is meant to help create the client’s dream home. We don’t always agree, but when we find differences, we talk through them and come up with the best choices that are right for the home and the client.

Where does your design inspiration come from? What inspires you most?

PAUL: People move to Santa Fe with preconceived notions of what a “Santa Fe house” is. We live in a beautiful landscape and draw inspiration from the outside, working off colors from mother nature. Our version of a Southwestern/Santa Fe house is a well-collected house. People have been coming here for centuries and have brought sensibilities of other parts of the world with them. We are inspired by different time periods and cultures, which is what Santa Fe is all about.

MICHAEL: People are drawn to us because we like to mix elements. Even if someone is looking to achieve a contemporary style, we bring in traditional elements to soften it. For example, a contemporary home by Woods Design may include a more rustic cabinetry to bring life and mix to the house.

What is the most challenging part of designing a custom home?

PAUL: If you are working with a couple that has different likes and preferences, the challenge is finding a “happy marriage” that bridges both unique visions likes and dislikes.

What is the most exciting part of designing a custom home?

PAUL: The most exciting part is seeing the story come together to complete the client’s vision. By the time we’ve worked with Woods’ architect and the client on selecting furnishings for their home, we’ve learned so much about who the client is. It’s exciting when you can combine interior furnishings and a well-crafted home.

What design advice would you give someone who is debating a custom home build to help make the design process more seamless?

MICHAEL: When people are researching if they are going to build and what builder they are going to use, they should pay close attention to what a particular builder does and doesn’t do. We have worked with builders who don’t offer in-house design, and the whole home build process becomes disconnected.

PAUL: We believe home building should be a joyful process, but it it can often feel overwhelming. The more cohesive your home builder/design team, the easier the process because you’re working with a team that truly understands one another.

Woods has an impeccable reputation. In this industry, nothing ever runs perfectly. At the end of the day, it’s about how are people cared for. How are the builder and subcontractors working towards the client’s dream? You want to turn any potential negative into a positive, and Woods is excellent at doing that when situations come up that require resolution.

All of us at Woods feel so fortunate to have such expert and thoughtful design partners as Paul and Michael. We look forward to all of the beautiful homes and spaces we’ll create together in the future. For more information on Violante & Rochford Interiors , visit their website at


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