Kelly is Founder and Design Principal at Studio H Design Group based in San Diego, California
Describe a project you’re currently working on to a 5 year old.
We're designing a home in a tropical marshland - lots of alligators. We designed a big bunk room with four giant beds, porch swings and a pool that is not quite big enough for swimming laps, but bigger than a hot tub - we call it a “spool.”
Your preferred method of getting that good creative vibe going.
“Good” is the key word here! I find being in nature, traveling and taking a step away at times help me stay in the design mode. We're fortunate to have clients around the country, so traveling comes easy and is always a source of inspiration. And I'm continuously inspired and influenced by new methods of construction I observe along the way.
One living artist or designer you want to have cocktails with.
Axel Vervoordt - although I think I would be extremely intimidated by him. I would love to hear how he starts a project and hear his pitch to clients. His work is inspired by a wabi-sabi philosophy- a concept that values the beauty of imperfection, simplicity and authenticity. I try to live and design with an eye towards the same philosophy.
A piece of art in your home that you LOVE.
I have a painting on wood by Yomar Augusto. He is an amazing, cheerful soul from Brazil and lives in San Diego. I love the graphic nature mixed with his artful hand in each piece. There’s so many layers and exploratory moments.
A quote or lyric that your brain won’t shake.
"Little things are the big things." This is part of our Studio H values. For me, it’s the little things that makes the impact. The small gestures, the details at an install - a client’s favorite drink or flowers, the accent zipper trim detail on the sofa, making sure the soap dispenser coordinates with the tile. Those little things takes a project and client service to the next level, to memorable.
What drives you absolutely nuts about the (design) world?
In general, when people do not commit to their word and do not communicate. Contractors that say they will be on track, then things happen…but there’s no follow-up or accountability. Currently the pandemic makes getting supplies very hard, which is understandable. Everything is nuts right now.
Advice, compliment, insult... something someone once told you that you will never forget.
The best compliments are when clients tell us how their friends say their house looks so much like them. We take care in getting to know our clients on a personal level, to design through them.
Last book you read that you couldn't put down.
Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam M. Grant.
Most recent song that you found yourself putting on over and over.
Quelqu’un m’a dit by Carla Bruni. Also helps me get into the creative space to make a beautiful dinner.
What was the most memorable field trip you can remember?
Whale watching off the coast of San Diego. It was a mess. Half of the kids were throwing up and it was raining. And of course we didn't see one whale that day!
If someone asks you to cook your "specialty" - what are you cooking?
I have one “panty dropper meal.” It’s a champagne risotto with fontina and pecorino romano, a little truffle oil, blanched asparagus, garlic butter shrimp and crumbled prosciutto on top. It’s fun to make with a date - to take turns stirring while finishing the champagne.