Dawn Allison Starling

February 15, 1952 to March 26, 2019

“With boundless energy, ideas and enthusiasm for all things engaged in, I love this industry – creating, learning, growing and the wonderful people I now call friends from the NEWH organization. There is nothing I would rather do.” – Dawn Starling


Dawn Allison Starling, NEWH, IIDA, was an amazing, accomplished woman with incredible spirit. Her light filled the room and will be missed by so many whom she touched. Dawn had a zest for life and lived a life committed to service, raising awareness and education. She gave her time so willingly to countless organizations and charities. She was a founding member of NEWH South Florida Chapter, with 10 years spent in various positions on the Board of Directors including Chapter President. She was also a Founding Member of IIDA, International Interior Design Association and National Hospitality Design Director for 2 terms initiating the HD Expo Product Design Award Competition.

Her vast achievements include College of Architecture, University of Florida Bachelor of Design with High Honors, Principal Designer / Owner of Starling & Associates specializing in Hospitality Design since 1990, Licensed & Registered Professional Interior Designer, NCIDQ Qualified, Florida International University Adjunct Professor and Mentor. Dawn was published for prestigious projects such as the Haute Decor Cover & Feature Story, Biltmore Hotel Historic Renovation and the Shore Club with Ian Schrager /Philippe Starck and so many others over the course of her career.

Dawn was recognized for excellence in interior design as well as her volunteer work and received many awards including but not limited to the Gold Key Award, Art by Design Award, Who’s Who in INTERIOR DESIGN, Lifetime Achievement Award 2018 IIDA South Florida Chapter, Silver Star Designer Lifetime Inductee Hospitality Hall of Fame Hospitality Design Network, NEWH Joyce Johnson Award 2008 & 2013, and most recently inducted into the NEWH College of Fellows 2019.

She gave so freely of her time, passion and expertise to not only many industry organizations but also charitable organizations she cared for……. Autism Speaks, Dress for Success, Children’s Cancer Fund, Cat Network and Pet Rescue, Miami Learning Experience School, Lighthouse for the Blind, Pelican Harbor Rescue Center, Big Brother/ Big Sister, Special Olympics, Cancer Foundation, History Miami, Perez Art Museum and the Coral Gables Museum.

Dawn is survived by her sister Lane Starling, nephew Wilson Blade, his wife Ana Lisa Blades and Justin Blades, sister Shirley Starling, nephew Adam Starling, his wife Laura Starling, grand-nephew Luke Starling and grand-niece Emily Starling, niece Katrina Micheli and her husband Nick Micheli. Please join us on Saturday, May 4th at 1:00pm to celebrate the life of Dawn Allison Starling at Coral Gables United Church of Christ, 3010 De Soto Blvd, Coral Gables FL 33134. All are welcome to come by Eve Cater’s directly after the service. Her address information will be distributed at church.

Contribute to the Dawn Starling Memorial Scholarship Fund
Scholarship to be presented by the NEWH/South Florida Chapter.