We had the good fortune of connecting with Kennedy Norman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kennedy, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I was originally a pre law / political science major in college. It was so monotonous and demanding, and looking back now I feel like it was sucking my soul out. I wasn’t doing well in one of my upper level courses, and my professor whom I had had for multiple classes told me he would pass me if I changed my major. So I sat in his office for a couple hours talking to him about what I was interested in. At that time, I was buying furniture for super cheap off Facebook and refinishing them to sell for much more than I bought it for. He immediately said, “Have you ever thought about interior design?” No. I had not. I didn’t even know Mississippi State had an interior design program, or honestly that such a program existed.
The next day, I walked across the street from the political science department to the Interior Design department and spoke with an advisor. I remember her telling me, “Interior design is not just choosing paint colors and picking out fabrics for pillows, it’s very challenging.” And boy was she not wrong. Her class also coincidentally ended up being probably one of the most difficult. However, it all started to make sense.
I was always interested in changing my furniture around growing up, and I changed my furniture layout in my college apartments NUMEROUS times. Both my aunts are also in the industry, so you could say it runs in my blood. I have always had a natural eye for color and style.
I worked at an interior design firm in Starkville while in college, and that 100% propelled my career and highly contributes to my success today as a designer. I gained invaluable knowledge and experience that helped me score a job right when I moved to Dallas from Mississippi.
It is because of all of these things that I had the courage to move 500 miles away and pursue my career. I have always had a natural eye for design, and paired with my experience from my mentor in college as well as what I learned in school confirmed this was the field for me, and I have loved every minute of this job. I have the best clients and truly love what I do.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
For the last nearly 5 years, I have primarily been in kitchen and bath design, although I have a broad range of experience. I started out in furnishings, doing a lot of gameday condos, being in an SEC town. Today, I do a little bit of everything. Kitchen and bath remodels, whole home remodels, new construction, floor plans, furniture space plans, furnishings, custom window treatments & bedding, and 2D and 3d renderings and elevations.
I think what sets me apart from others is that I deliver a custom design to each and every client. Not 1 of my designs look alike. There are so many tiles, fabrics, etc. out there to reuse the same things over and over. I love when clients trust me and go out of their comfort zone a little bit, because the end result is always amazing! I also love developing a relationship with my clients. It takes trust for someone to change anything in their home, and some people (even if they really need design help) have difficulty relinquishing control and letting the designer to their job. Very rarely do I have to reselect anything after presenting a design to a client, and I think that is because I really take the time to get to know each of my clients and their wants, needs, and style.
It has taken almost 5 years to really get established in the community and start getting fairly regular leads. I have done a lot of networking over the years, and it is finally paying off. It has not been easy, but owning a small business usually rarely is. However, if it weren’t for the people who trusted me in the beginning of my career, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Over the years, I have learned how important communication is. Whether it be with clients, contractors, vendors, or trades, communication is of the utmost importance!
I would want people to know that I truly love to curate a custom design for each and every client. I love seeing the look on their faces when I deliver a presentation, and my vision for them is clear and comes to life. Hearing a client say, “after meeting with you I just felt a weight lifted off my shoulders,” is why I do what I do. Although seeing a design is exciting, seeing the final product and their reaction then is what truly makes this job so satisfying!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My all time favorite spot is Beto and Son in Trinity Groves in Downtown Dallas. I take EVERYONE there! They are known for their liquid nitrogen margaritas, but their food is absolutely amazing as well. The best queso I’ve found in town hands down. Since moving closer to Fort Worth, I usually will take people to the Stockyards or downtown Fort Worth. The architecture is so beautiful downtown, and it just feels a little closer to home than downtown Dallas. There are also so many areas of both downtowns, all rich with history and uniqueness. I love exploring when friends are in town and trying out new places that even I haven’t been to. There are a lot of unique breweries that are also kid friendly, so that is a popular option. Top Golf is an activity most people enjoy, and my son LOVES golf, so we go there often. Billy Bob’s usually always has someone well known playing, so I would probably round the week off with a concert in the historic Stockyards of Fort Worth!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Cyndi Parker, who has believed in me and my skill set from day 1. She saw something in me from the day I interviewed with her at Something Southern in Starkville, Mississippi. She not only is one amazing designer and taught me most of everything I know, but she has also been like a mom to me and is still supportive and here for me every step of the way through my life and career. I definitely would not be who I am today as a designer or person without her mentorship. Thank you so much for all you have done for me, Cyndi!