David Huckabee has always been enamored with the prospect of designing homes for a living and, when he was younger, he planned to study architecture. At the age of 24, he chose a slightly different path. Thirty-five years later, he has no regrets about his decision to help create comfortable and beautiful living spaces as an interior designer.
David, who has been with Southeastern Galleries for 16 years, pointed out that the most important aspect of his job is to ascertain exactly what his clients want. And, he says, there’s only one way to figure that out.
“You listen. You pay attention. You go out to their home and see how they live and what they like,” he explained.
He added that he does a large amount of repeat business, and earns referrals from many of his clients because, “I really give it my all. I always give it that little extra. That’s why people remember you,” he says. “My whole goal when I design a room or a whole house is when you come home and put that key in the door, you feel like there’s no place else you’d rather be.”
David says he enjoys every aspect of his job, but accessorizing and adding the finishing touches bring him the most professional satisfaction.
“You can have the nicest furniture in the world, but until you accessorize, it just doesn’t have that personality,” he says.
Always one to go the extra mile for his clients, David pointed out that even though Southeastern Galleries carries a wide range of indoor and outdoor furniture, rugs and accessories, he also helps his clients with finishes, granite, tile and cabinets, helping them choose these options so it “all has the right flow.”
Much of David’s business is from clients who have benefited from his expertise and his experience in the past. For example, over a period of about 15 years, he has designed four different homes owned by the same family – one in Florida, another in the mountains and two more in the Charleston area.
Sometimes, he says, top-of-the-line customer service takes a while to pay off. He mentioned one Sullivan’s Island resident who came to him around six years ago in search of draperies and a sofa. He went to her house, developed a floor plan and then didn’t hear from her for three years, at which point she called and says she was ready to have the work done. Now he’s providing her with additional interior design services.
A Lowcountry native, David graduated from James Island High School and attended the College of Charleston. In his spare time, he helps care for two special needs cousins, rides his bike and works in his yard in West Ashley, “which is like therapy for me,” he says.
And then there’s the Southeastern Galleries Christmas tree. For years, he’s been decorating a 10-foot, live tree from the same New York-based farm, which sets up shop in the Lowcountry starting in November.
“It’s my gift to the store,” he says, explaining that he started the tradition during the few years when he was taking a break from interior design and was responsible for setting up the showroom and keeping it looking fresh. “Now it’s become a tradition.”