Founded by Debra Kacher, dk INTERIORS is an interior design company based in London. Debra’s style combines practicality and style with her client’s interests and lifestyle in mind to create beautiful, timeless and elegant spaces. We recently worked alongside dk INTERIORS on the beautiful Hampstead Project where we designed the kitchen, utility / boot room and pantry so we caught up with Debra to find out how it all began and how dk interiors works…
What is your background and why did you decide to set up dk INTERIORS?
My previous career was in fashion, I was a successful buyer for a very large retailer which exposed me to such a wide range of products, fabrics, colour, trends as well as gaining a huge amount of management experience including running large teams of people.
I had, and still have a huge passion for fashion and loved my job but I really needed to re-invigorate my passion with a new direction and career path, I was feeling stifled and lacking creative stimulation. With my eye and flair for colour, fabric and style, I decided to explore other related career paths and directions and decided interior design was the most relevant and related path. A career change soon followed.
With such a professional background I decided to re-train as well as gaining work experience, I became probably the most over qualified and oldest (ha!) intern at an established and well respected interior design company with the objective of learning and progressing quickly. I had admired this company from afar and went into their showroom to ask for work experience and never looked back! In parallel I enrolled in an interior design diploma to learn and gain the necessary technical skills to ensure I was professionally trained as well as becoming a member of the BIID. My supposed brief internship (which originally meant to be a month!) turned in to 7 years resulting in my becoming a senior designer amongst a team of 8 gaining the professional experience I so wanted to have before feeling ready to set up my own business and launch dk interiors.
How do you begin the initial stage of the design process?
Each project and client is so unique however to start the process off is the same. I always explore the brief thoroughly with the client, exploring their lifestyles, their wants and needs, likes and dislikes as well as their vision/ end goal. The majority of clients can clearly articulate their end goal but not always their aesthetic vision and style, we aid in this process through exploring with them mood boards through Pinterest and other social media means as well as magazines, books, art, culture even their favourite items of clothing and furniture.
Your designs combine practicality and style seamlessly, how do you achieve this?
Style for me is the key driver but the majority of clients particularly with busy lifestyles, families and pets all need practicality too. This is always a consideration and part of the brief we explore before designing a home or rooms. Highlighting to a client the practicality of the end use of materials plays a key role in the job, such as work surfaces that may stain, fabrics that may mark etc. However, we strive to achieve the overall look first and foremost and fulfil the brief that has been agreed at the same time pushing design boundaries. It is a designers responsibility to be so aware and to make a client aware of the fit for purpose of all aspects of design.
What would you describe as a typical day in the life of what you do?
There is no typical day, although I do like to start with exercising most days if time allows as it energises me and clears the mind. Although each day has a structure it has to adapt to the project and clients’ needs, but organisation is so key. Maybe being a bit of a control freak, but without organisation the role of an interior designer would be even more stressful than it needs to be! However apart from site visits, client and supplier meetings, actual designing and sourcing with my team there is a huge amount of admin, e-mails and correspondence to attend to so I definitely allow a time in the day usually first or last thing (this can also extend in to the evening as days can be so jam packed).
What are your favourite interior design brands?
My favourite and inspiring interior designers span a wide range of styles but I would say Joseph Dirand, Thomas Pheasant, Dan Mazzarini, Christian Liaigre, Ralph Lauren and Kelly Wearstler provide the greatest inspiration. Their styles vary greatly but the common thread for me is the attention to detail and materials, the elegance of design, the juxtaposition of classic with contemporary. I still keep a very close eye on fashion trends too particularly for colour and texture. I like to use my previous career and strengths in influencing my design ethos.
What is your must-have item for a project?
This is tricky, as each project is so unique to the client but a dog is one! (a dog makes a home feel like a home) no seriously, I like to have an item that really means something special to a client. Something very personal or just reflects their interests and personality, I then incorporate it into the overall design, it could be a piece of art, furniture, sculptures, books, even jewellery, subtle or obvious. I had one client who loved amber jewellery; we sourced some amazing trims for soft furnishings that had a jewel like quality. Another client loved vintage planes, we sourced a metal desk made from an old wing from a plane for his office! adding such personal touches prevents a project looking and feeling over designed.
What’s next for dk INTERIORS?
We are always looking to learn and grow both creatively and personally, having established dk interiors nearly 10 years ago you never stop learning which is so stimulating.
The constant challenge though is to balance one’s own design aesthetic with the client brief, as we grow so does the confidence to be true to one self, trust your judgment and instinct, it tends to be right! The role of an interior designer is a very personal journey and if you are passionate and care about your projects and clients you can have moments of self-doubt or a creative hiatus. I am always looking for ways of stimulating that creativity.
We tend to run up to 5-6 projects at a time depending on size and complexity, whether full refurbishments which we love the most as you can really develop and influence the whole design process or just decoration and furnishing. Something completely new for this year and a first is that we are currently working in collaboration with the former company I worked for which is bringing together all areas of expertise to work on a multi property project, very exciting. As we are only a small team this is creating an opportunity to potentially work overseas, so watch this space! Another first is the team including the architects are all women creating a dynamic, respectful and stimulating environment.
I also decided that 2018 would be the year to challenge and expand our supplier relationships and portfolio looking to source newness and freshness, relationships are so critical in creating successful and delivering reliable projects, as well as achieving even greater client satisfaction, we love to build close working relationships and repeat business not only with clients but with suppliers too.
To find out more about dk INTERIORS visit their website here.