Kelli Richards Designs
Best Interior Designers has the pleasure of sharing with you an exclusive interview with the top interior designer Kelli Richards. She founded her firm in 2014, after graduation from College Interdec’s Interior Design Program. The designer is the owner and principal designer of Kelli Richards Designs – KRD. Her portfolio is full of numerous projects with a special focus on the luxury residential market.
Her fashion background as a model for over a decade gave her the opportunity of experiencing different cultures and this fact undoubtedly influenced not only her personal design but as well her outlook on life. “I love exploring all the possibilities of a space and getting to the essence of the client. There is no right or wrong design but when I have exhausted all the options and am left with the one that just feels right for the client and the space, that is when I know I have hit the mark.” – stated the designer.
For us, one important thing in an interview is to understand what the designer is most passionate about in her work. “I love dreaming about all the possibilities of a space and transforming something ordinary into something extraordinary.” – said Kelli. The past year was a big challenge for Kelli, but it was not the only challenge of her career. “Actually, the past year has been particularly challenging as we have been dealing with the effects of the Covid 19 pandemic on our projects. In the past, we were able to predict project timelines but now all of that has been come exceedingly difficult now that product lead times are all over the place. The best way we have been dealing with this is by trying to set client expectations from the beginning of the project. In addition to this, there are always just the normal challenges of construction that we deal with such as damages, human errors, and managing the myriad of people involved in every project, that work alone is always a challenge for sure, but I have found over the years that business systems and procedures are the only way to mitigate at least some of those problems. It really comes down to experience. You can never know enough and I am constantly learning with each new project.” – she explained.
Asked if she had achieved everything in life, Kelli explained that she is only starting. “Not even close. I still consider us a young business. It has been 7 just years since I graduated from Interior Design school and set up my business. I really feel like we are just getting started!” – said Kelli Richards. The designer is still lingering in some dreams even though she already achieved her dream of opening a showroom. “While I have achieved my dream of opening a showroom, my next dream is to design and produce my own collection of furniture. Another dream I have is to work on projects where clients allow us complete freedom to design. We have had a couple of clients like this and those projects are always our favorite to work on because we get to pour our heart and soul into our work and see our dreams manifest into reality.” – she said.
“At my core, I am an artist. Some design companies approach their business from the place of a business first, design second. For me, it is the other way around. Yes, I own the business and we do run it like a business, but first and foremost I am a creative person and an artist. I just feel when something is right. I feel the most fulfilled during the design process when I design the perfect layout for how the client wants to live and their family. I immerse myself into their lives, imagining I am them so I can design the best possible space.” – Kelli Richards
At this point of the interview, we found it interesting to know how Kelli Richards builds her relationship with her audience. “We take on only a select number of projects per year, because of this we tend not to do too much advertising. The main avenue that we use to showcase our work is via Instagram, we love the story feature so we can show the progress of a project which isn’t always pretty but it gives our audience an inside view of what the process of a project looks like.” – explained Kelli.
At the moment the designer is working on some new inspiring projects and told us a bit more about each. “We have a few new projects we are working on now. One of them is a renovation of a 100-year-old home for a family in the Westmount area of Montreal. The inspiration behind the design of that project is Parisian architecture and design. Our client wanted that old-school Parisian apartment vibe so although we are doing a complete gut renovation, we tried to add back various classical elements in the finishes and millwork to make it feel like it has always been there.
Another project we are working on is a condo renovation with a water view. Our inspiration for that project is hotel luxe. Our clients wanted it to feel like they are on vacation at the Four Seasons so we are adding a spectacular paneled Ethanol double-sided fireplace dividing the dining area and TV room.
A smaller project we are working on now as well as a living room project in which the client wants a blend of Wabi-Sabi style and Parisian luxury so natural and earthy yet still elegant and sophisticated.” – said the designer.
Even though the last year was tough, it is well known that it increased creativity in several areas, including the design one. To notice that nowadays, more than have an outstanding decoration, the design must be practical and functional. “The trend of the moment I would say is laid-back casual design. Less matchy-matchy and more carefully curated spaces where you can actually live. Aesthetics are always important but I feel like people just want to be able to use their spaces the way they want. For finishes, I would say hands down the trend of the moment is lime finish paint that has a plaster-like texture. We are using this in a lot of our projects right now as it adds a beautiful natural vibe to the room.” – explained Kelli Richards. Going a bit further on Kelli’s professional side, we asked what is for her the ideal client and it resulted in a busy and trusty client that devotes in her the entire responsibility to the project. “My ideal client type are typically busy professionals. They travel a lot, many of them live abroad for part of the year or own other residences. They are looking for a design firm they can trust to take care of the entire project for them from start to finish. They are design lovers and want to create a sense of elegance and luxury in their homes.” – she said.
Still, about new projects and collaborations going on, Kelli Richards just opened her first showroom where you can find her favorite pieces. “At the moment we have just opened our first showroom in downtown Montreal called ‘Kelli’. The showroom features many of my favorite pieces from the world’s top makers. This was a passion project of mine because I wanted to make the great design more accessible in my city and to streamline our sourcing process for projects since we tend to specify a lot of European brands which were previously not available to us locally.“
As craftsmanship is very important in the design world, we made a point and asked Kelli who, in her opinion, is leading the market. “We work with many different makers from around the globe and they are all wonderful. In terms of craftsmanship, we have been very impressed with Montis which manufacture’s its furniture in the Netherlands. We also showcase Editions Milano in our shop who creates works of art from the most exquisite marble blocks.” – she said. Wondering about design’s future, Kelli Richards pointed to sustainability and tradition as a new way to create a more conscious world – design should be above all about quality. “I think the future of the design world will include nature-inspired design, a focus on sustainability, local craftsmanship, and slow, thoughtful design and curation. I believe that the trend is moving towards more authentic, durable spaces where people can actually live their lives and not worry too much about damaging things. I would love to see makers put more of a focus on choosing materials that are easy to care for because the longer-lasting an item is, the more it is sustainable.”
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