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Meet Duane Garrison

Today we’d like to introduce you to Duane Garrison. 

Hi Duane, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
After getting out of the Air Force in 1999 I moved to Nashville, TN. After a few years of waiting tables and enjoying civilian life. I decided to go to college and obtain a BFA in Interior Design at a small but well-known private college named O’More College of Design in Franklin, TN. The GI bill helped pay for my living expenses while I got through school and I paid for what I could from working in retail management. Unfortunately, I graduated in 2008 just as the economy crashed and many people found themselves losing their jobs in the design field. I stayed in the path of retail leadership working my way up through merchandising, sales, and people development which lead to working with several high-profile retailers in flagship locations. Along the way, while I was still in college, I learned that I had Chronic kidney disease that would eventually progress to end-stage renal failure, 20 years later after many trips to the hospital I was told I would need to go on Dialysis. I was able to continue working full time as a Store Director while performing in-home dialysis overnight between shifts. Just a few months later I received a call that a match had been found and to report to the hospital within. 2 hours. 

Life changed overnight, my health was dramatically better, I had color in my complexion for the first time that I could ever remember. Most profoundly, I began realize that it was okay to dream again! For so many years, I had been so focused on surviving that I had forgotten to live. It was in those quiet moments secluded to the hospital room during Covid that I made a commitment to my donor and myself, that I was not only going to go after my dreams but I was also going to leave an impact and to be of service to others in honor of this gift of life I had received. Shortly thereafter during my recovery from the transplant, I decided I would start Michael Haley Interiors LLC. A full-service boutique Interior Design studio focused on residential and small commercial projects. 

It’s been nearly a year and a half and the business is growing nicely. We have multiple projects ongoing throughout Colorado and several upcoming projects in TX and Colorado for 2022. I’m just really thankful to be helping people create spaces that reflect the beauty of life, family, and our natural environments! 

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Stepping into the unknown is never easy as we as humans are wired to avoid danger. However, there is never a right time to start. Now, is the time to start working towards creating a life that fills you up and serves others. If you don’t start now, you’ll still be planning, preparing, and dreaming much longer than you think and you may never have the opportunity to experience your full potential. We all have our struggles but what we do with those experiences is what allows us to grow and help others. I work hard to be mindful, post-transplant, that we should never become so busy making a living that we forget to create a life! 

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I’d like to say that I appreciate beauty in all forms and I curate and create spaces that honor the beauty of life that surrounds us. As an interior designer, there are many aspects of the profession that rely on safety and the technical aspects of the built environment and those are extremely important and necessary functions of the role. However, I am most excited about inspiring people to live their most authentic lives within spaces that reflect their unique lifestyles, history, dreams, and comforts. A home is so much more than a place to sleep and eat. It’s a spa, a retreat, a creative space, a museum, a studio, a place for gathering and celebrating life, and so much more. With nearly 20 years in merchandising experience, the details set us apart. From color flow and storyline to curating collections and creating drama in a space, I aim to capture a sense of purpose or an emotion in the spaces I create. 

I’m most proud of having the opportunity to not only design spaces for others but to also share the fleeting beauty of life in moments that capture people’s imagination and set a mood for creativity and imagination. 

We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
Covid has presented us all with many challenges but it has also offered up many opportunities for us to look at how we choose to show up every day. As a creative being, I greatly appreciate the opportunity to be unique, different, and individualistic but I do think Covid has challenged us to also look more seriously at how we are connected, similar, and social in our built environments. 

I have found, for myself, a greater desire to serve more, to share more, and to create more opportunities for others to find their inner strength to follow their own dreams. As I said before, it’s important to remember that making a living and creating a life are two very different paths. I will prioritize living in present as a result of my experiences. 

Contact Info:

  • Email: Michaelhaleyinteriors@gmail.com
  • Instagram: michaelhaleyinteriors

Image Credits
Duane Garrison

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