Nancy Kingwood, Her Haven's first client, gets a newly remodeled office
 in 2009
Nancy Kingwood, Her Haven's first client, gets a newly remodeled office in 2009

My Story

After going back to school in 2005 to study interior design, I worked on some very high-end residential projects as a Design Assistant with a few different firms in Fairfield County, CT. While I appreciated and admired the unlimited budgets and exquisite furnishings, knowing each room was fit for the cover of a glossy shelter magazine, I couldn't help but think to myself, "I wish I could bring the gifts of a beautifully designed room to those who need it most. Those who don't even have the bare essentials, or who are in need of the healing that a thoughtfully designed space can provide." I knew that great design doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg, and felt in my heart that the outcomes do not necessarily correspond with the dollars spent. Feeling a bit "out of place" in the design world, I set out to start a nonprofit that brought the gifts of comfort, care, healing and hope to women and families in need through the gift of design. Her Haven was founded in 2009, and is an all-volunteer network comprised of professional designers, industry partners, students, and volunteers who help bring "a little piece of peace" to the incredible women we serve. It has truly been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life to work in this capacity. Rewarding, but since it is (for now) an all-volunteer effort, it won't pay the looming college tuition bills we are facing when my two girls leave the nest starting next year!

So I am now turning my focus back to design as my profession (rather than just my passion), but in a way that is still aligned with my core values of wanting to be of real service in the world. My specialty is starter homes, fixer-uppers, and projects that I call "Design for (real) life"; i.e. interiors that look beautiful, but are not so precious that you are afraid to sit back and relax with your family and friends. Design that truly makes a difference for the families I am honored to help. Not only that, but I donate 10% of my design fee to Her Haven, so together we can be a part of designing for good, of paying it forward, and to our commitment to making the world a little, better -- and beautiful -- for us all.

My Approach

I believe that beauty and inspiration come in many forms: found objects, treasured family heirlooms, hand-crafted artifacts or furnishings, children's artwork, and even flea-market finds that get an inexpensive yet hard-earned facelift when you roll up your sleeves, take out your 100 grit sandpaper and open that can of paint. It is not necessarily the cost of the items as much as it is the story behind them that adds beauty and, ultimately, value to a space.
Specializing in unique combinations of the things that are meaningful to each of my clients, my design style is eclectic, casual, personal, and above all else, focused on creating spaces that feel just as great as they look.
I take on projects that run the gamut from condo and apartment renovations, single room makeovers, whole house remodels, "staged to sell" staging projects with real estate agents, and everything in between. And, because I also donate 10% of my design fee to Her Haven, our work also helps bring the gift of design to women and families in need of healing and hope.



Carey Dougherty

Founder & CEO

An innovative and passionate "connector", I bring together people, and bring people to important causes. As Founder and Executive Director of the nonprofit, Her Haven, I connect designers, students, and industry partners to bring the gifts of a nurturing, well-designed space to women in need. As Director of Development for a behavioral healthcare agency, I worked to de-stigmatize mental health disorders and addiction, and celebrate those in recovery. I taught and studied in Japan for three years after receiving my BA in English at the University of Pennsylvania, and loved being a cultural ambassador for the two countries. I enjoy travel and connecting with people through exploring new cultures, sites, landscapes and food, and live in Connecticut with my husband and two teenage daughters.

Next Steps...

Interested in seeing how I can help design a haven for you? Please call me for a free consultation!