Friday, 25 April 2008

In Conversation with Kenneth Brown

Kenneth Brown is a Los Angeles based interior designer best known for his use of rich colour and his attention to detail. After completing his studies in the US, Kenneth went to England to continue his education in interior and industrial design. He took time to travel Europe where he further developed his sense of style.

His clean, updated traditional style meshes comfort with interesting fabric choices and accessories used in a simple way to accentuate the space and create his signature style. A staple of HGTV, Kenneth is also listed as one of America’s top 100 designers by House Beautiful.


photograph courtesy of Kenneth Brown

Kenneth Brown in his office - above him are framed sketches he did as a child http://www.kennethbrowndesign.com/


Iván Meade - What was your first experience with design?

Kenneth Brown - When I was 12 years old I would rake leaves to earn extra cash. Living in the south, we had large yards that felt like a blank canvas. To make my job fun, I would rake the leaves into floor plans. I would clear paths for hallways, bagging the leaves to carve space for a large living rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms. Occasionally I would come across large roots from old oak trees and incorporate them as steps for bi-level floor plans. Little did I know that 20 years later, I would still make my living by creating floor plans.


photograph courtesy of Kenneth Brown


Iván - Who or what has influenced your style?

Kenneth - My style was influenced by the old southern homes on the Mississippi river. The classic Acadian style architecture set against the humid landscape was my visual playground growing up. These rich colours are embedded in my design sensibility. Moving to Los Angeles at 24 opened the world of casual living. The juxtaposition of my southern upbringing paired with my new California lifestyle continue to influence my style.

Iván - How do you define your style?

Kenneth - Southern Style and California Comfort


photograph courtesy of Kenneth Brown


Iván - What do you consider to be your greatest strength and weakness?

Kenneth - My greatest strength is listening. I can not design without having a firm grasp on what my clients are asking for. My weakness is real estate. I move too often.

Iván - What project are you most proud of?

Kenneth - I am most proud of my office. It embodies my passion for design and reflects everything I have worked hard for.



photographs courtesy of Kenneth Brown


Iván - What would be your dream project if you were given carte blanche? (Would it be a whole home or just one room? And what would you do with it and in what style?

Kenneth - My dream project would be to redo all of the historical homes in New Orleans that have fallen into decay and neglect. It's neither a whole home nor one room, it would be entire neighborhoods. I would bring back the glory of this amazing city's culture and sense of style that is seen no where else.


photograph courtesy of Kenneth Brown


Iván - How do you help your budget conscious clients achieve an expensive look without breaking the bank?

Kenneth - Projects don't have to happen overnight or over a weekend like all those other design shows. The key to achieving the right design on a budget is taking it slowly with a design plan in place. Spend your money on a great design plan and take your time to do it at your own pace. Savour the moments of design and do them as you can afford them.


photograph courtesy of Kenneth Brown


Iván - What is the most unusual request that you have ever received from a client?

Kenneth - To design a 500 sq ft dog house complete with AC, lighting, stone floors and celiling fans.

Iván - What do you think most homes will have in the future?

Kenneth - Furniture that reads your body temperature and adjust accordingly.


photograph courtesy of Kenneth Brown


Iván - I noticed that you are a big supporter of eco-friendly design. What small changes would you suggest to our readers to help them achieve a more green home?

Kenneth - The most important thing with eco-friendly design is to understand the difference between a trend and lifestyle choice. My goal is to educate people about the choices they make and to know that not all "green" labelled products are the best choice. Small changes like unplugging your small appliances and using CFL's can have a huge impact on your carbon footprint.

Iván - What can we expect to see in future episodes of reDesign?

Kenneth - I've completed my 52 episodes of reDesign and I am currently in development on a new show. During my hiatus, I am developing a line of bedding and home accessories as well as a line of Baby Bedding. Nurseries are the new kitchen - the hot room to design.

Iván - You are extremely well known for your residential spaces but do you ever venture into commercial design?

Kenneth - I have done commercial spaces and would do more of them if I could find the time.

Iván - I have noticed that you bring great and interesting art into your projects; what impact do you feel art has on a space?

Kenneth - Art is everything for a room. It gives the room personality. I often have my clients do their own artwork to infuse their personality into the space. Too often, rooms done by designers do not reflect anything about the people who live there.

Iván - I read somewhere that you are developing your own line of home accessories. When and where will they be available and what kind of products have you designed?

Kenneth - My line of home accesories and bedding will be available in September. The line will include bedding collections, signature sheets, pillows, throws, lamps, trays, vases, candles, and will continue to expand. I am also doing a baby bedding line along with accessories for the nursery. As soon as I can announce the exact date and locations, I will let you know.



photograph courtesy of Kenneth Brown


Iván - Lastly, you have already created a stunning body of work with many mediums and styles, what would you like your legacy to be?

Kenneth - The designer who taught his clients how to live beautifully through design.

To see more of Kenneth Brown's work please visit

http://www.kennethbrowndesign.com/




MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011

4 comments:

echito said...

Beautiful stuff, and a fun interview too :)

jane said...

I love hearing about designers like Kenneth Brown and why they have chosen interior design as their profession. His personal style seems to be influenced by his surroundings, making sense of his preference for Acadian style architecture.
I hope to see more of these interview posts in the future.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe he designed a dog house - lucky dog!

Tiffany-Jade said...

Re building new orleans would be money better spent then on a dog house!