I had a few of you emailing me asking about working with an Interior Designer…the process, the details, my favorite part of collaboration, and so I thought it would be fun to have my dear friend, Kendall Simmons,
join us for a little Q&A session to provide some further detail about her background, her aesthetic, and of course host a little show and tell of some of her favorite spaces she has completed.
ONE || Tell us a little bit about your background and how you came to be an interior designer.
Absolutely! I’ve been interested in art and design from a young age. I grew up with a wonderfully creative mother who always kept me engaged in artistic projects and classes. I graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in interior design, and then started my career in New York City as a designer at Campion Platt Architect. It was an amazing opportunity and I like to call that my ‘trial by fire’ year. Things I learned during that first year still inform my designs on an almost daily basis! From there I went on to work for other firms like Jed Johnson Associates and McAlpine Booth & Ferrier before opening Kendall Simmons Interiors.
TWO || What three words describe your design aesthetic.
Fresh. Sophisticated. Timeless.
THREE || What would you say is your design “specialty”?
I specialize in taking each client’s vision for their home, processing it through my filter, and delivering a personalized space that reflects their aesthetic.
FOUR || Why hire an interior designer?
The motivation is different for every client. Some people are busy and just don’t have time to focus their energy on perfecting their home. Other people have a difficult time nailing down exactly what they want and need a guide. Some have great style and know what they like, but they need assistance with specifics like scale and proportion. Others just love the process because, well, it’s fun!
No matter your reasons for doing so, working with your interior designer should be an exciting and rewarding process. Your home should reflect who you are and where you’ve been.
FIVE || Tell us about the overall design process when a client comes to you and wants to completely redo a space.
Sure! First things first, I have a conversation with any potential client to discuss their wants and needs, the scope of their project, and their overall expectations and budget. From there, if I feel that I’m a good fit for the project, I determine my fee structure. If the job is large-scale (for example, furnishing a entire house, or a new construction project) I provide a customized fee proposal for the client’s approval before we begin any work. If the job is smaller (for example, furnishing one room) I bill for my time on an hourly basis. Then we get to the fun part. I meet with the client and ask tons of questions. The more information I can gather from the client, the better and more personal my design can be. I take all of that info and develop a design presentation based on it. This presentation may include drawings, furniture, fabrics, paint and wallpaper, art, accessories, and whatever else I feel is needed. Once the design is agreed upon, I send the client an itemized proposal with pricing for all of the items we decided. From there it’s pretty straight forward! The client submits payment and I order all of the items. Then once they all arrive, I schedule an install day or week where I assemble the room(s) from top to bottom. The client comes home and sees it all for the first time, and the rest is history!
SIX || What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken in design and what did it teach you?
When I first started as a designer in New York, I was bright-eyed and in awe of decisions that the designers around me were making on a daily basis. A custom banquette covered in $300 a yard magenta fabric? Ok! Importing a one of a kind antique Italian chandelier that fills an entire room? Of course that’s the right decision! They were so confident in their momentous selections, but to me each one seemed like an extraordinary risk. What I’ve learned in the years since then is that those grand strokes aren’t risks if the design has been thoughtfully contemplated and carefully drawn.
SEVEN || What can we find you doing in your free time?
Definitely traveling. Or reading. Or reading about traveling. I also spend as much time as humanly possible with my awesome husband Kane.
EIGHT || What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
A coat of white paint can fix almost anything. And, if you don’t know the answer, say so.
NINE || Share with us some of your favorite projects you’ve worked on.
It’s really hard to pick favorites! But, the projects that stand out in my mind are the brave ones. The ones that aren’t afraid of bold color combinations, or unique furniture pieces. The ones that let me stretch a little bit! My musician’s cottage project fit that bill perfectly. I love the mix of funky wallpaper, bright fabrics and family antiques.
I also love working on children’s rooms so much! People don’t always want to go to the expense to design for their kids, but when they do it makes me very happy! Your sweet Caroline’s room was an absolute ray of sunshine!
TEN || Where are your favorite places to shop for home decor, accessories, and one-of-a-kind items?
I have so many favorites! In Nashville, I love Gas Lamp Antiques (I and II), 8th Avenue Antiques, Cadeau, Lumen, and the Nashville Flea Market. Yard sales and estate sales are excellent too, although I don’t make the rounds as often as I’d like!
Other favorites include Revival in Chattanooga, Bungalow Classic and South of Market in Atlanta and Mecox Gardens in NYC. Last but not least, I love finding one-of-a-kind pieces on my travels like Turkish rugs and pillows from Istanbul, or special trinkets from the Paris flea markets!
Finally, tell us all about your new e-design service offering and how people outside of Nashville can utilize your design services.
After a year of planning, the Kendall Simmons Interiors E-Design
program has launched! The goal of E-Design is to provide a budget-friendly alternative to my traditional interior design services, while still delivering a completely unique and customized experience for my clients. By simplifying and streamlining the process, I’m able to provide custom designs at an incredible value. This service also allows me to work with clients anywhere in the world!
Here’s how it works:
2. Take a look at the menu of rooms. Each room type has a corresponding flat rate. Do you have a room that doesn’t fall into one of the categories? If so, send me an email for a custom quote!
3. Once you’ve selected your service, fill out the online questionnaire. Be as thorough as possible! The more information I have the better!
4. As part of the questionnaire, you’ll also send me overall room dimensions and photos. Take your time with this step. Accurate measurements ensure that all of your new furniture will fit!
5. If you haven’t already, take the time to put together a Pinterest or Houzz inspiration board and include the link in your questionnaire.
6. Submit your questionnaire, and payment via PayPal.
7. In approx 2 weeks, you will receive a personalized room design in your email inbox! Your E-Design will include the following items to ensure you can execute your room flawlessly:
– Hand-drawn furniture plan showing the placement of all furniture items in the room.
– Design board showing images of all items to be purchased for the room, as well as any additional info you may need such as paint colors, hardwood floor stains, etc.
– Shopping list of each item to be purchased and where exactly to find it online.
– Comprehensive list of my tips and tricks to pulling your room together.
8. The service comes with one round of revisions, so if there’s anything that you’d like another option for, let me know!
9. You get to work! Your E-Design package will have provided you with all of the information you need to purchase your furniture and accessories, place them in your room, and style the room to perfection.
10. Take photos so that I can see your finished product, and then start planning what room you’re going to work on next!
Isn’t she just THE best?? You’ve seen her work in Caroline’s Big Girl Bedroom
and My Home Office
, but just wait until she is done with our Formal Dining Room… it’s definitely where I took a BIG risk and I couldn’t be more pleased with how it’s coming along!