Michelle Farnsworth

Everyone envies that person who has an eye for designing a space. How about the woman who can take something ready to donate and make it shine in a new environment? And then the woman who just radiates style, class and can pull a room together in two clicks. These women exist in our community and, like all women, they struggle with the balancing of work and home life.

Lisa Bohrer, owner of Spaces in Bismarck, always finds this a challenge. "Most days I'm still trying to figure that out," said Bohrer. "But my husband and son are my top priority. They are the true loves of my life, and design would be second." Ali Arndorfer, owner of Hidden Treasures Home Decorating has a little more flexibility with her schedule.

"I've thought at times about opening a decor shop, but I know that I would lose some of that flexibility."

Pat Smith's journey into design spans decades, with many different jobs and life experiences. Smith received some advice after a job interview in San Francisco with a then un-known Chuck Williams opening a small kitchen utensil store on Post Street. (Known to us all now as the man behind the mega retailer, Williams & Sonoma.) Smith graciously took Williams' advice: "You have to know what you're going to sell." And she did just that in St. Cloud, Minn., opening her own store called, Design One.

Whether you need Bohrer's full-service design team at your disposal, Arndorfer's use-what-you-have decorating techniques or Smith's architectural and design background, these women have a passion for making spaces personal, comfortable and stylish. Bohrer delights in the comfort and accessibility of what her store has to offer.

"Ladies meeting here after lunch. Husbands and wives looking for new flooring and furniture. People just hanging out because of the fun and relaxed atmosphere of the store," said Bohrer. "I knew I did the right thing."

"I have always loved rearranging, reimagining, and adding to people's home decor," said Arndorfer. "It's a passion of mine."

Smith has worked at Interiors by France for 12 years. And now that her children are adults, her split-shift work and days of juggling family has subsided. Smith's passion comes from her relationships with clients.

"When you work through a project and have met and exceeded your client's goals, that's what makes it work," said Smith.

Arndorfer inspires her clients with helpful tips. "If you see something you love; buy it," said Arndorfer.

Spaces reflects Bohrer's love of color and texture, encouraging clients not to be afraid of adding a little spark into their decor.

"Every room needs a little, or sometimes a lot of both," said Bohrer.

Throughout Smith's years of designing and decorating homes, vacation properties and commercial properties, she has witnessed a real growth in clients becoming more informed.

"An informed client is a good client," said Smith. "(It) helps in understanding their vision."

Understanding scale is one of the most difficult concepts to teach a client. Smith recommends this bit of advice," It's not about a lot of little things -- it's about stepping up to the space."

And the old adage still rings true for Smith: "Less is more; always true."

Michelle Farnsworth loves travel, writing, photography, daily devotions, gardening, making jewelry and finding old treasures. Her greatest accomplishment is her two sons, who bring life, love and laughter to her each day.