Dallastown designer decorates Governor’s Residence

Interior decorator Debra Eberly tweaks the ribbon on a Christmas tree in the Governor’s Mansion in Harrisburg last year (Photo by Kate Penn).

Interior designer Debra Eberly has two speeds: busy and busier.

She owns d.w. designs, shuttles her 15-year-old daughter to competitive skating practice, and decorates numerous homes in the area.

Last year, she helped decorate the Governor’s Mansion in Harrisburg for the holidays. It was Eberley’s second trip to the mansion, and she returned to deck the halls again this year.

She said it is a great opportunity to showcase her talent in front of hundreds of people.

The Governor’s Mansion has not yet released the 2012 theme, but Eberly embraced the 2011 theme of Christmas in Pennsylvania.

Rooms featured the state fish, brook trout, and the state bird, ruffed grouse. But Eberly’s favorite space was the governor’s office, which featured a 9-foot tree decorated in shades of green, with a hint of burgundy, moss, mushroom stems and white-tailed deer antlers.

The first dogs, Airedale Terriers Penny and Harry, even got in on the action. Eight trees had two dog ornaments that guests had to find.

What is your style?

As an interior designer, “my” style is flexible. I decorate by what the client wants. So although my personal home is country farmhouse with a mix of old and new, antiques with modern touches, I always decorate for the client and (his or her) taste, color palette, wood tones and textures. Formal, contemporary, modern, traditional and country – it’s all in what the client wants. I just guide the style and décor in the right direction.

What are your favorite interior design projects?

Family rooms! It is where the heart of the home is. It is the most personal, where I can really incorporate the homeowners’ style and personality. Master bedrooms are fun to work on as well.

How did you get your start in interior design?

Mrs. Kitty Miller, as in State Rep. Ron Miller’s wife, was teaching a home-education course at Dallastown (Area) High School when I attended. She introduced us to -“setting up a home” and the rest is history. I attended Antonelli Institute of Art and Photography with a major in interior design. After college, I worked in various forms of the design field, gaining experience until starting d.w.designs in 1998.


How do you come up with your ideas for different areas?

For a client’s home, ideas come from the client … talking to them, learning their style (and) likes and dislikes. Color selections can come from a piece of artwork, or fabric or even a coffee mug. Magazine photos offer great inspiration and direction to choose the style they are after.


What is the slowest time of year for interior design?

June through August. Most people want to be enjoying their children, who are home from school, outdoor living and vacationing. Decorating is the last thing on their minds.

About Debra Eberly

Age: 45
Lives in: Springfield Township
Occupation: Owner of d.w.designs for 15 years; residential and commercial interior designer
Hobbies: I don’t have time for any hobbies. Eberly recently worked on episodes of the Food Network’s “Restaurant Impossible”
Family: Son Lance Cpl. Cody Eberly, 22, and daughter Mickayla, 15

See the mansion decorated for the holidays

What: Holiday tour of the Governor’s Residence
When: noon to 2 p.m. Dec. 3-5 and Dec. 10-12; 1 to 6 p.m. Dec. 9
Where: 2035 N. Front St. in Harrisburg
Cost: Free, reservations are not required
Details: Call 717-772-9130 or visit www.pa.gov, and select the link for Office of the First Lady, then The Governor’s Residence.

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