Charlotte Designer Continues To Live Out A Lifelong Dream

Posted on | July 23, 2015 | No Comments

Few of us can say we have truly had a lifelong passion for our vocation. Charlotte interior designer Kevin Carpenter of Kevin Carpenter Interiors has literally wanted to be an interior designer for as long as he can remember. Kevin’s long-term love for design, combined with his exceptional skill, versatility and sharp intuition, have made him one of Charlotte’s premier designers for over 20 years. North Carolina Design met up with Kevin to find out more about his style, his process, and what makes him tick, design-wise.

Images Courtesy of Kevin Carpenter Interiors ©

Kevin can work with any client’s style preferences, but he does have preferences of his own. “When you spend over 20 years in this business, I don’t know if you can’t help but to develop a style,” he says. “I would say my style is ‘new traditional.’ I like to use traditional pieces with cleaner or bolder lines and a combination of colors and textures that’s more ‘today.’ This style seems to work well with my clients’ needs.”

Kevin’s style speaks to his design philosophy. “When I was younger, I thought everything should be modern, but as you work and you age, you realize that longevity and a sense of history are important,” he reflects. “Traditional doesn’t have to feel old. It can be fresh, and clean, and ‘now.’ It all depends on how you pull it all together.”

“To me, traditional design is more about choosing things that will endure, rather than trendy things that will look dated ten years from now. Interior design is an investment, and it’s expensive. It should stand the test of time. A classic piece will always work – a quality sofa with good lines can last you 30 years. You can reupholster it to update it and give it new life when you need to.”

While Kevin knows his craft inside and out, he does run into his fair share of challenges. “Clients don’t always have a realistic budget,” he explains. “They don’t realize what things cost, and I often have to help them work through sticker shock. Some clients develop a bit of an adversarial relationship with their designer because they have trouble visualizing his or her ideas for their space. If you’ve asked a designer to provide their expertise, you have to be open to what they suggest. You can trust that they have your best interests at heart.”

To give his clients the perfect space, Kevin first has to identify their wants and needs. “I ask a lot of questions, and I look around to see what they have,” he says. “I ask them to show me what they like, so I can get a feel for their taste level. – Do they want casual, formal, rustic, etc. Sometimes an accessory or a piece of art will open up a conversation.”

“Sometimes it’s just as helpful to hear what a client doesn’t like, and why, as it is to hear what they do like. If they say they want something bright, but that they don’t like yellow – that helps me understand their preferences in a more nuanced way, and raises the chances of me getting things exactly right.”

Just as he imagined he would as a small boy, Kevin enjoys every aspect of his job as a designer. “Every project is different, and there’s something to love about each one,” he affirms. “I even enjoy the challenge of project management. If the project runs smoothly and is in good order, the client gets a beautiful room at the end. I have always loved colors, fabrics and textures – what a great thing to get to work with them every day!“

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