About

What is Design Works Studio?

Updating spaces so that they function as a whole working collaboratively with homeowners, contractors and city building departments to update residences thru improving function, structural components and design simultaneously.

Located in the heart of the Seacoast, on Maplewood Avenue in downtown Portsmouth, Design Works Studio, work can be summarized in 3 simple categories Planning, Specification and Oversight.

Emily O'Donnell

Owner/Operator

Accurately described as warm, professional and informal, Emily, lives in Portsmouth with her Son and pup.

This Seacoast Native began her professional journey in Savannah Georgia at The Savannah College of Art and Designs Building Arts Department. She achieved a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree graduating Cum Laude. Emily has pursued Post Graduate Coursework in Building Systems, Interior Architecture, Architectural History and Design Computing while working on design -build projects in GA, SC, CA, MD, NH, and ME since 2002.

The Seacoast, with its rich history has been my base of operation for over a decade with a return to my Hometown of Portsmouth New Hampshire. The area itself requires melding old with the new, weaving together fresh concepts with existing structural elements to create a unified project once finished.

Many of my projects are initiated by interior-focused work within the building envelope geared around improvements to: kitchen, bath, organization zones, storage, and laundry conversions

Contact Us

Professionally, an independent contractor who's chosen niche is renovation planning & design.
Emily does not swing a hammer onsite herelf, but brings a hybrid of skilllsets to the table that are typicaly preformed in a segregated manner.

  • I really believe after years of working on differing project types that the only known in renovation is its always a known series of unknown dilemmas.

Each project, regardless of size of scope, is a unique 'puzzle' with an array of challenges that need to be systematically resolved.

It's my job to guide clients and collaborators through renovations by first identifying what pieces to assemble "from the pile" resulting in a series of successful, informed decision making that leads a completed "puzzle"/project completion as effectively as possible with her bread and butter work into 3 categories:

1

Planning

Understanding a homeowners intended goals and establishing a project scope that is doable is the first step.

Space Planning to create modifications of a layout to incorporate redesign that preforms to meet the needs of the homeowner within the capacity of the site/structure and acknowledges affiliated components and accomplishes the intended function is the second step.

2

Specification

Building upon the proposed Layout details are added to the redesign including components that cause a space to come alive like Selections of materials, Lighting Layout, lighting design and integration of finishes. Form follows function in my approach incorporating impactful reasoning to each specification.

3

Oversight

Aligning known, capable Craftsmen, Artisans and vendors that suit the Homeowner and Project needs while meeting the reasoned expectations of cost threshold and timeline makes the execution of a project and the demanding requirements of renovation feel better working in collaboration with the General Contractor and Homeowners to free up useful time throughout the design-build process.