A Conversation with Kelly Deck!

In the beginning of this month at our IDS Blend West Party I had the honour to sit down with the beautiful, and amazingly talented Kelly Deck! She is the team leader behind her design firm Kelly Deck Design.  I will say that I was a tad nervous as to how I was going to be able to covey all that she had to say to me and bring it to you in a cohesive way. I have admired her work for years now since seeing her first on “HGTV’s”  – Take it outside episodes.

 Kelly Deck’s ideas and dedication to West Coast design often draws her into the public eye. From newspaper columns, magazine articles, her own past HGTV series Take It Outside and various media appearances, Kelly’s message is always about the importance of good design and encouraging simple, natural style.  {Courtesty of Kelly Deck Design}

Please let me introduce to you Vancouver’s well-known Designer Kelly Deck!

 

{HGTV}

As I sat down with Kelly with what felt more like a conversation then an interview,  I knew this would benefit now only myself but for the benefit of you, my readers. All of you would have different things to ask her, or that you would have taken away from my short visit with her so I will try my best to convey what she said to me, her passions and her outlook towards design.

Timeless and Simple.

I asked her, “What is one of the best ways that home owners can spend their decorating dollars?”.  Afterall, most of us spend our dollars in all different ways.  To this she responded with something that I really wasn’t surprised by. Kelly’s mission within her designs is to stay clear of trends or anything that isn’t lasting. The best ways in her opinion were to invest in quality pieces. Decide what you want for your home, even it means saving for a while. The words that resonated with me from her response was. “Timeless, quality, Non-trendy, and Simple.”  

 

{Kelly Deck Design}

 

Food for the Soul.

Kelly is a pretty busy gal like most successful designers, but I really wanted to know what she does when she’s not designing? 

Her love and passion for Yoga showed and her face lit up when she spoke about it. She places her practice of yoga at the utmost importance for her week.  She has been practicing for 12 years and she said her mind and body would not be complete without it.

She shared her love for travel and that she tries to take in one trip abroad each year.  She recently went to India and it was such an eye-opening experience.  She wouldn’t recommend such a trip to India if you’re just not the type of traveller that can like they say, ” Roll with the punches!”.  She shared that while it is such a beautiful place to visit, it did and can post some challenges.

Kelly Loves to cook at home and her motto for food  is “fresh, healthy and fast.  For someone like myself that appreciates good wholesome food, this was so great to hear.

Sustainability.

I asked her “When you think of Kelly Deck Design, what are you most proud of?”

Kelly is really So proud of her designers and all of her team.  The energy, experience, and knowledge that they have brought to Kelly Deck Design is without a doubt why they are all so successful.  She is proud to call them family and she said that’s why it makes designing as a team so sustainable!

Simple Design Boutique.

The question that you all are dying to know. “How did you get your start in Design?”

She studied Ceramics at Emily Carr and after she graduated she opened up her Boutique in Downtown Vancouver in 2002..  Her housewares designs were loved by the community and many designers and soon she was getting requests to work with variety of her store clients with designs in their own homes, helping some of them with the process of renovations. Working with numerous clients  lead to working with a particular clients General Contractor. The road started tough and all began in her little apartment that she also called her office because that ‘s all she had then. The rest, as they say, is history as Kelly has gone on to build a large design firm, all from the humble beginnings of a small apartment.

 

{Design's by Kelly Deck}

While she states she is a self-taught designer, I wanted to know her thoughts on this route.  As a hard-working designer, she relayed to me that there would have been times that she wishes she got formal training. There were some cases early in her career that she got too deep into what was required of her and there was nowhere to go but to only move forward.  She is not necessarily an advocate for one route or another. As a designer with passion she overcame pretty much any obstacle put before her and her career. However,  there are facets of the design world where the proper credentials and certifications are required. In Kelly’s case she has filled her design company with so many equipped, and educated young designers that all work together so well together.

Her thoughts on this spoke to me personally on my journey into the Design world.  As I sat with her and as she shared her route into fulltime design and if she could have done it differently she would have gone to design school.  This was not the case for her at that time, and as this isn’t really the case for myself as this time either. While this conversation was going on, I wish you could see the passion in her words and the real talent and drive that will take her to where ever she needs to be.  I am challenged in a big way after my conversation with her to move towards my goals and not let “the conventional way of thinking” towards design to get in my way. If I indeed went for training in my 20’s I don’t  think I would have the drive and persistence to full- fill all that I needed to do back in my life then,  I am highly doubtful. My priority back then was being a young mother and I am still a mother, but now I am at the point in my life that it’s okay to start thinking of what I want as well. My dreams and talents that have been provided for me to share with others, so I hope Kelly’s story of persistence challenges you in so many ways too!

I wanted to know from her what advice did she have for anyone stepping out in the design world?  In so many ways she also values the work of a hard-working, brave, and naturally talented individuals out there. While the safe route can sometimes involve formal training, there is a sense of braveness that has to come from with in all of us. She says ” to follow your heart” for all those stepping or sometimes leaping in this busy design world.  “Be careful to not become to safe”, but  be aware of what you can and can’t do.  Do what you  love to do and be really passionate about and it will show.

 

The Element of Surprise.

The world of design through our eyes can look so differently depending which lens you look through. For an emerging designer like myself I wanted to know what is one thing that most of us would find surprising about the world of design?

“It’s all in the numbers she adds”. “Twenty percent is all creative, and eighty percent execution”. While the end results of design are all so exciting, the man hours that it takes to pull off a big project is a lot of hard work and it’s not glamorous like people think. She told me that she hasn’t worked less that 60 hours a week in 5 years. All her hard work has paid off and I hope that she still will find some time for rest and relaxation too!

Another thing that she added is that she believes that people would be surprised to find out that residential design is really exciting! This didn’t surprise me because Darryl and I are so passionate about building. It has been one of Kelly’s main passions from the start of her career in design.  So what does the future of Kelly Deck Design Look like?  I could see the passion in her eyes as she shared the new vision for her business.  “It’s in the plans to work with an architect from the ground up. Building homes to develop a collaboration of landscape, interiors, and exteriors”.  The whole package is what this talented lady is working towards and I applaud her!

Then and Now.

Kelly Deck started her journey by selling her passion of ceramics to where she is now successfully with her team. What a story of persistence, hard work and passion.  I was privileged to have sat down and had a real conversation with this woman and I hope you have taken home a little more of her life as a designer and any insights to which can grace your life.

A big thanks to Kelly for taking the time out of her busy life to meet with us at our Blend West Cocktail Party.  The words that you spoke to me that night have been a real way for me to reflect on my own future in design, and what lies ahead for us!

Comments

  1. Great interviewing job Jodi! Wow, 60 hours a week for the last five years!! She’s obviously taking good care of herself to keep up that pace!

  2. Fabulous interview Jodi! You guys looked like the best of friends sitting there chatting away at the Blend. Lucky you to interview such a talented girl.

  3. Fabulous interview. So inspiring for us dreaming on the sidelines :)

  4. I love her thoughts on braveness. Great interview and you did a very fine job of conveying the feel of the interview as well as the concepts.

  5. I love Kelly’s outlook and approach to design, to her team, and to life in general. I find her words continue to float through my mind, and have resonated on a very deep level. She is an amazing talent, and a true inspiration. Thank you for this!
    xo Sheila

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