(Jennifer Priest Mitchell is a freelance writer in Beaverton. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..)

What keeps many people from calling an interior designer is a fear of having to spend a fortune on designer fees, and then spending a lot more money on new furniture, wall coverings, window treatments, and the list goes on and on. But Mary Bokovoy, a local interior designer (with other talents as well), operates from a slightly different standpoint.

'I like to first see what people can do with what they already have. Sometimes it's just a matter of rearranging things they have to create a new look, or a fresh point to start from as we see what needs to happen in a specific room of the house,' she said in her joyful, enthusiastic voice.

You might think, when you meet Bokovoy, that she could have a great time doing anything. She's just got that kind of contagious energy and a real sense of fun about her.

Bokovoy, a 1995 graduate of Portland State University, has a B.A. in graphic design. She worked in that field for several years, and in 2001 she became a stay-at-home mom but said she still wanted to exercise her mind and tap her creative energy.

'So, now I have the best of both worlds,' she said with a smile. 'I do design work from home and actually offer small businesses a great, competitive price for my services. I do logo design and can help them build a whole package. I do all of the design work and then email the client everything, and they can go to Kinko's and print what they want.'

Of course this is just one facet to Mary Bokovoy Design. There are three parts to the business: the interior design component, the graphic design services for businesses, and a children's art piece.

Bokovoy explained, 'I also do art for children. In fact, this week I am doing a mural for a preschool. I've done projects for people's homes - sometimes people buy bedding or have a theme for a child's room and they need some artwork for the walls, but cannot find a good match, so I design something and pull it all together for them.'

She makes it all sound so simple, but if you met Bokovoy and saw her work, as well as her spirit in action, you would see that for her, it really is easy. Like her smile and her ideas, it comes naturally.

'The graphic design is often what I call the bread and butter of my work, but I love each part of the business,' she said. 'It changes from week to week as far as which part of the business is taking the most of my time … it depends on what projects I have right now.'

A native of Oregon, Mary grew up in the Salem area and now loves living in the Portland area and enjoys the southwest suburbs. Her husband is a firefighter and they enjoy sharing in the responsibility of raising their two children - Jude, 5, and Claire, 3.

When asked what she likes about living here, Bokovoy said 'Well, it is so beautiful … but I'd have to say the friendships - I have a ton of friends from church and from moms groups, and I just feel so grounded here. I love the community and I feel so connected.'

For more information about Mary Bokovoy Design, call 503-469-1912.

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