2024 DDA: Meet the Panel

From award-winning architects and celebrated interior designers to beloved textile artisans and HGTV stars, this year’s panel of industry heavyweights dove into thousands of entries, and examined each carefully and thoroughly before finally choosing their favorites. Here, meet the experts who saw it all.


Alejandra Dunphy is the founder and head designer at Atlanta-based A-D Studio, a full-service design studio that offers architectural interiors for residential, commercial, and hospitality projects. With more than 20 years of experience under her belt, Dunphy is a LEED- accredited professional and is passionate about education. Since 2015, she has been a part-time professor and lecturer in the interior design department at SCAD Atlanta. a-dstudio.com


A former fashion designer, Hannah Learner is the founder and driving force behind New York-based Rhine, a boutique fabric and wallpaper company. For Rhine, Learner adapts vintage artwork found in the archives of 20th century mills and uses her work to tell the stories behind them. Each of her products is made to order and crafted in the United States. rhinne.us



Architect and principal of New York-based MKCA, Michael K. Chen is recognized for embracing material expression and embodying innovative approaches to his craft. He’s the co-founder of Design Advocates, a network of independent design firms that promotes equality in the built environment. Chen’s work can be seen in Architectural Digest, Elle Décor, Domus, Dwell, Interior Design, Architectural Record, Wallpaper*, The Daily Mail, and The New York Times. mkca.com


Mikel Welch, of New York-based interior design firm Mikel Welch Designs, is celebrated for his work as the host and design expert on Quibi’s “Murder House Flip.” In 2020, Welch was named House Beautiful’s Next Wave Designer, and his work has been featured in Architectural Digest, Elle Décor, and The New York Times. He also designed the VIP green rooms for First Lady Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Faith Hill, Steve Harvey, Harry Connick Jr., and Halle Berry, and was the on-air personality of TLC’s “Trading Spaces.” mikelwelch.com.


Interior designer Bethany Adams is a member of ASID, an allied member of AIA, and a certified interior designer with the Kentucky Board of Architecture. Based in Louisville, Ky., Adams founded her namesake firm in 2015. She also holds a BFA in interior design from Harrington College of Design and a BA from Georgetown University. bethanyadamsinteriors.com




As the host of HGTV’s “Dream Home,” interior designer and celebrated TV personality Breegan Jane is best known for her appearances on the popular network as well as on Discovery+ and HBO’s Max. Jane, who’s also a lifestyle expert and avid philanthropist, is involved with numerous product lines, including a recently launched lighting collection with Savoy House. breeganjane.com



As the principal of her namesake interior design firm, Jean Liu specializes in high-end residential and commercial projects, from new construction to historical renovation, furniture sourcing, and staging. She was named House Beautiful’s Next Wave Designer and Elle Décor’s A-List Designer. She’s also a board member of Dwell with Dignity and a founding member of the AAPI Design Alliance. Her studio’s work can be found in House Beautiful, Traditional Home, Town & Country, Architectural Digest, and The Wall Street Journal. jeanliudesign.com


In 1993, designer, pottery maker, and author Jonathan Adler launched his celebrated namesake label. Dedicated to showcasing modern glamour, today Adler’s beloved brand offers everything from furniture to lig hting, accessories, and more. His iconic interior design projects and retail locations can be found throughout the world. jonathanadler.com




Based in Houston, Texas, acclaimed interior designer Paloma Contreras is known for her distinct design sensibility and her modern take on traditional style, often gravitating toward classic silhouettes and timeless pieces paired with a touch of glamour and an infusion of color. Contreras has repeatedly found herself on Elle Décor’s A-List, and her work is often highlighted in Architectural Digest, Vogue, Domino, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. palomacontreras.com



Architect and interior designer Stephen J. Kadlec launched his Chicago-based firm, KADLEC Architecture + Design, in 2004. With more than 30 years of experience, Kadlec was recognized two years in a row by Modern Luxury as both Best Architectural Designer and Most Inspiring Designer and has been the recipient of several Luxe Red awards. His work can be found from Los Angeles to Miami, and has been featured in Architectural Digest, Elle Décor, The Wall Street Journal, and Gallerie Magazine. kadlecdesign.com


Detroit Design Awards 2024

Commercial Design
Rising Star
Readers’ Choice