“I didn’t choose Design, Design chose me” – Keith Powell
LuxExposé: Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
Keith Powell: I grew up in Southern California; I now reside in Miami Florida
LuxExposé: Does your geographical location fit your style of design?
Keith Powell: Interesting question and the answer is yes and no. Yes in the sense that I am very versatile and I fashion a look around the needs and desires of that particular client, and no because I love a very eclectic look. Here in the United States we are spoon fed an ideal of design which usually tends to be very homogenized and a little flat. I try in every project to push my clients a little bit beyond their comfort zone. This will ensure a design everyone can live with and something unique that no one else will have!
LuxExposé: What determined your passion for design? Tell us about the moment when you decided this is the way to go and this is your calling.
Keith Powell: As I have always said I didn’t choose Interior Design, it chose me! I came to Florida to study Marine Biology; fortunately I had zero talent for math! So I was offered a job doing window display for Ralph Lauren. After a few weeks then it was obvious I had a talent for putting things together, so I left Ralph Lauren and opened a window display company. A few years later I received offers from clients to do homes and the rest is history!
LuxExposé: What preparation did you take to launch your own company and what were the challenges?
Keith Powell: Back when I started my company it was a little easier to fly by the seat of your pants! Honestly I just dove in, leap before you look! (The attitude of most 22 year olds) It was a bit of luck, talent, extremely hard work and long hours, I never really looked back.
LuxExposé: What has been the most unique and rewarding job for you to date?
Keith Powell: I have several that I can think of, one that really stands out is a small project I did for a family in Fort Lauderdale who had a very small budget, and 3 beautiful little angels that stole my heart. It was such a pleasure transforming their family room and bedrooms to something magical! The reaction during the reveal was intense; I still remember the big smiles and tears of joy when they saw exactly what they dreamed of when we met come to life. It was a very satisfying experience to know I made a real difference in this family. It’s always a great day when you know you’ve your client happy.
LuxExposé: What is the most frustrating aspect of your job as a designer? And the most rewarding one?
Keith Powell: The most frustrating thing is when you get hired to do a project with a great presentation that the client loves, only to be micro managed before the process is done. Sometimes you have to wait and see the finished results.
Hands down the most rewarding aspect of my job is seeing the look on the clients face during the reveal. I arrange for my clients to leave the home during the install phase which is usually only a couple of days. When they return they are blown away by their new environment. It’s absolutely priceless!
LuxExposé: How has the economy affected your work?
Keith Powell: The economy has wreaked havoc on most designers I know, the most important thing I have done to survive is to adapt to the present situation. I have always been able to work differently than most designers because of my display background which has been an invaluable tool for me. I work quite and filter information from a different aspect than most people. One of my favorite quotes from my personal hero of Design; Elsie de Wolfe…….”Simplicity, suitability and proportion.” It’s the hardest thing to achieve yet the most effective in conveying the story you are trying to tell.
LuxExposé: What’s your approach to communicating and interacting with clients for interiors?
Keith Powell: I like to spend a lot of time to really get to know them; Jeff lewis had it right when he said it’s like dating! I “go steady” with my clients and get to know the most personal details of their lives. This is a sure fire way of creating an understanding of how they live their lives and how best to design around their needs.
LuxExposé: Do you have any current projects that are keeping you the most engaged?
Keith Powell: I am working on a large Soho loft in New York City that requires a lot of attention. The client is a lovely couple that lives in California. Working in NYC can be very complicated!
LuxExposé: What inspires you today?
Keith Powell: I love to travel and just about every week i find myself on an airplane. It’s great to get a change of environment and see other places. I get to meet so many interesting people and that for me is the best inspiration to draw from.