North County Interiors has been helping residents beautify homes for almost 40 years


By Karen Billing

North County Interiors has been providing high quality flooring and window coverings in Encinitas for 38 years. The company has become well known for its products, design, installation and customer service.

Since taking over the company just six months ago, new owner Kenneth Smith has spent time making sure the exterior of North County Interiors looks just as attractive as the inside. The business is located in an iconic gas station building west of the freeway on Manchester Avenue. Smith refreshed the orange paint with a modern, pleasing teal and paired it with green awnings and wood and steel planters full of succulents. A matching wood and steel fence and gate surround the property, designed by Smith’s son.

“It’s been a lot of work renovating, getting the new website up and keeping up with the business walking in the door,” said Smith. “It will be nice now to just focus on the business walking in the door. Some know exactly what they want and we get it for them, others take a little more time. It can be overwhelming if you don’t have someone to help you and talk to you about different styles and price points.”

Former owner Rod Gould started the business in 1976. Smith, who has a background in real estate development and design, had been looking for a small company to purchase and couldn’t resist when North County Interiors went up for sale — it fit his particular set of skills and the location especially couldn’t be beat. Smith said it’s so central, close to the freeway and easy for everyone to get to.

He runs the showroom along with Gayle Baker, who has been in the industry for 18 years and knows the inventory backward and forward.

“I wouldn’t have purchased the business if Gayle had not have promised to stay with me,” Smith said.

The company specializes in redesigning living spaces.

“For a lot of people, buying flooring is a huge decision, they may only do it once in a lifetime so there’s a high fear factor of ‘Am I choosing the wrong thing?’” Smith said. “We work with them on coloration and price and make sure it fits within their budget. We bring down a lot of the anxiety that comes with such a big purchase.”

With their free in-home consultations, Smith said they aim to make sure people put the right flooring in the right area. As an example, a family with high traffic — such as three kids and two dogs — might want to steer clear of a house full of white carpet.

“When I get into the home I can get a feel for the family lifestyle and their design tastes,” Smith said.

The home consultations are also helpful because Smith said most people have no idea how big their homes are — he knows budget is always an issue and once he gets into the home, he can have honest conversations about square footage and cost.

“I understand a lot about the building process and contractor issues and I get a lot of questions when I get into people’s homes — they start talking to me about complete renovations,” Smith said.

In addition to helping people choose the right kind of flooring, Smith has even given suggestions on countertops and bedroom paint colors.

According to Smith, the business is moving away from carpet and more toward hard surfaces, such as wood floors, laminate and luxury vinyl tile — known as “LVT.”

“Laminates have come a long, long way,” Smith said, noting the new laminates realistically mimic different styles of wood and stone looks and are super durable.

This is not to say carpet isn’t still in — people are still carpeting bedrooms and living rooms, Smith said. The trends in carpet are textures such as lines and patterns, lower piles and carpets that are super-soft to the touch. Dupont’s Smartstrand has become quite popular for its stain-resistance and its silky softness, according to Smith.

“Every company is coming out with a version of super-soft fibers. It’s really fun and it’s wonderful if you have a room where people spend a lot of time on the floor,” Smith said.

For more information, visit or call 760-436-5552. The showroom is located at 2959 Manchester Ave., Encinitas, 92007.

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