My Biz: Cedar Rapids interior design firm takes straightforward approach

Lori Wiles Design handles broad range of projects

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Lori Wiles’ philosophy for interior design is logical and straightforward.

“Everything has to function really well,” she explained. “It has to be architecturally balanced, meaning the space feels balanced, and then there is the emotional component where the space is emotionally satisfying to the people who are using it.”

As for the style or flair that people want when they are doing a redesign of their home or work environment, Wiles stresses that part of a project comes at the end, contrary to what the average viewer of Home and Garden TV design programs might be lead to believe.

“It is essential to have that good basis established first and then we can build from there,” she said.

Wiles holds a bachelor’s degree in interior design, but her professional development education has gone well beyond. She and the three interior designers who make up her team pursue continuing education on an annual basis in an industry that is constantly changing.

After completing her four-year program in 1983, Wiles passed the National Council for Interior Design Qualification test to qualify as a professional member of the American Society of Interior Designers.

“I received my degree on a Friday and I started work the following Monday in the field and I’ve been in it ever since,” she said.

Lori Wiles Design works on a broad range of projects that include everything from custom kitchens and bathrooms to new home concept planning, paint consultations and detailed decorating.

A year ago, Wiles moved her at-home interior design business into office space downtown in the reclaimed Gatto Building at 104 Third Ave. SW.

“We simply outgrew the space in my home and we were all working on top of each other,” she said. “We were wasting so much time going back and forth. Since we work all over a 60-mile radius in this area, I wanted some place that I could hop on the interstate quickly and easily.”

Wiles’ firm is committed to identifying and personalizing a client’s living space and a great deal of time goes into getting to know their clients.

“My staff and I need to know the client’s perspective and how do we design to that,” she said. “We have to have the ability to listen and understand, be inspired, put that back to our client, listen again, and then take those results and implement them.

“During the implementation process, we have to be listening not only to our client, but to all the contractors involved in the project.”

Wiles said that approximately 25 percent of the firm’s business is for commercial clients, with the remainder being residential.

“Our main client really wants us for the implementation phase,” she said. ”They want our links to our resources and we are 100 percent willing to do that. We are a very transparent business.”

Lori Wiles Design works on a cost-plus-basis.

“The clients will know what we are doing with our time and what they are paying for,” she said. “They also will know our cost of goods.

“I don’t really have any other operational way except totally straightforward,” she smiled.


Owner: Lori Wiles

Business: Lori Wiles Design

Address: 104 Third Ave. SW, Cedar Rapids

Phone: (319) 535-2593


Know a company in business for more than a year that would make a good My Biz? Contact George C. Ford at

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