The Making of A Home with Kenneth Brown
Growing up in rural Louisiana, designer Kenneth Brown knows the importance of creating a space that feels like home, to put your feet up, relax and admire your surroundings. Interior design savvy and the approachable southern charm Kenneth exudes offer the perfect combination to show everyday people, not just the elite, how to make their home both attractive and comfortable.
With celebrity clients, HGTV, a nursery collection and fatherhood keeping him busy, Kenneth seems unstoppable, yet he kindly took some time to give me some insight into his design approach and where he’s headed in the future.
Renee Massaro: How did your journey to becoming a designer begin?
Kenneth Brown: I studied Interior Design in college and rode the wave of the Design movement to where it is today. Design is now for everyone, not just the elite.
RM: How do you approach each project?
KB: I like to empty out the rooms of all furniture and document the space with photography. I love studying photos of space – plus it really helps to put my head around the project.
RM: How would you describe your style?
KB: I bounce between a tailored transitional style and warm modern style.
RM: What materials are most important to you in your work?
KB: Organic materials such as wool, linen, and grass cloths are so important to bring into man-made space.
RM: Is it more interesting to you to change the identity of a material or use it organically?
KB: I tend to stick to it organically. Let it shine the way Mother Nature intended.
RM: Do you work with the architecture that is already there?
KB: If the architecture is strong and significant I know my job as an interior designer is to strike a balance between interior elements and the home’s structure. If I’m dealing with a generic spec-house, then I have to bring in the architecture.
RM: What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned from a design mishap?
KB: Create an accurate furniture plan!
RM: Are most clients specific about what they want?
KB: Yes most are specific as to what they want, but only when they see it. Communicating design is the most difficult for clients.
RM: Are there any architects or designers who influence your work?
KB: I love Thad Hayes. We’re from the same city in Louisiana and growing up I would read about him in the paper.
RM: What sets Los Angeles design apart from the rest of the country?
KB: We represent interiors as a casual lifestyle, something that the rest of the country tries to replicate. Our interiors are heavily influenced by the weather and that calmness that comes with a consistent environment.
RM: As a new father, did your daughter inspire your baby collection?
KB: Harper has inspired everything I do whether it’s my baby collection or the way I dress. She is inspiration and the reason I worked this hard for all these years. The best gift ever.
RM: What project was the most fun/free for you? Why?
KB: I did a ground-up job in Maui and it was the best. The client understood that design is very important. And of course I was able to visit often. It’s hard to say work and Maui in the same sentence.
RM: What would be your dream project?
KB: A neighborhood development that allows each house to have a unique style. Why do all developments still look cookie cutter after all these years? I hope people soon realize that individuality is worth spending more money for.
RM: How do you feel about the green trend?
I am very impressed with the companies that invest in new green products. Now we just need to get the idea that all green projects don’t have to look like green projects. They can look just like any style you want, with materials that happen to be green.
RM: What era in design is your favorite?
KB: Mid century palm springs. I love the indoor outdoor and clean lines.
RM: What’s your favorite thing in your house?
KB: A chair I had in my bedroom as a child.
RM: where do think the future of design is headed?
KB: It is headed in a new direction that no one has quite figured out. The economy and the value of one’s home have really turned the design industry on its head.
RM: Do have other exciting projects coming up?
We’re doing a fun wine bar and a boutique hotel in Santa Monica.
RM: Do you have hobbies outside of design?
I love to paint and ready for this…..watch college football. I know – who would have known?
RM: Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
Spending more time with family. Working to live instead of Living to work.
Images via Kenneth Brown
Special thanks to Min Cha!