DESIGNER Q&A: TAKE FIVE
TRACI KEARNS thinks of herself and her Asheville design team as modern-day alchemists, transforming ideas into spaces that enhance the human experience and contribute to the longterm health of Planet Earth. At her firm, the well-named Alchemy Design Studio, creativity and thoughtful design can make a difference. For now, know that she’s a true design pro – educated, professionally esteemed and passionately engaged in the design community. Twice annually Traci makes the pilgrimage to High Point for the biannual Market. She’s highly qualified to weigh in on HPxD’s plans to open the city’s flagship showrooms.
#1 AS HIGH POINT OPENS UP YEAR-ROUND, CAN YOU DESCRIBE WHAT SHOPPING HIGH POINT WITH A CLIENT MIGHT LOOK LIKE?
“Back up just a bit! First, I have to say, well done, HPxD change-makers. I’ve dreamed about easy access to High Point – the showrooms, the talent, opportunity to exchange ideas – but I didn’t think it would happen. I love the Market. I know it will continue to be a peak event, but it’s not realistic to shop Market with clients. It would be overwhelming. Ongoing showroom access is the perfect for client engagement. It’s an easy day trip from Asheville. See you soon.” TK
#2 ANY CAREER ADVICE FOR SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO BE AN INTERIOR DESIGNER?
“Absolutely. If you aspire to be a designer, you probably have talent and a creative spark. Respect that, but don’t rely on it exclusively. Get an education, apprentice yourself to a master, join professional organizations. Become a lifelong student of design. Next, travel and try to be as much of a blank slate as possible. Be open to experiences, ideas, sights and sounds. Finally, remember that interior design is a 50/50 proposition. By this I mean equal parts creativity and business savvy. Develop an effective right/left brain balance.” TK
#3 IF BY CHANCE, YOU EVER GET A CREATIVE BLOCK, HOW DO YOU GET UNSTUCK?
“Travel is an excellent balm for the soul, especially for curious natures like mine. Design-rich cities like Milan are always a magnet for me. The tactile experience of working with my hands always gives me a creative boost, too. As a kid, I loved experimenting in my grandfather’s workshop, and designing and making my own clothes with my grandmother. These are formative experiences that prepared me for a life in the world of design – and provided ‘tools’ I still rely on today.” TK
#4 WHAT DOES A GREAT SHOWROOM EXPERIENCE PROVIDE YOU AS A DESIGN PRO?
“Inspiration and information, primarily. I expect to see great design with clear info on options, lead-times and pricing. I also really like the chance to exchange ideas. Really great brands are interested in feedback from designers. We are closest to the customer. We understand needs and expectations. We see what resonates with clients and have a keen sense of developing trends. I love being heard … and listening too!” TK
#5 THEY SAY EVERYONE HAS A SUPER POWER. WHAT’S YOURS?
“I’m an accomplished therapist. Let me explain. I work with many design clients, otherwise seemingly happy couples, who have very different decorating ideas – often at odds. They agree on very little – colors, style, floor plan, budget and so on. I’ve gotten very good at being able to hear all sides and develop creative solutions that bridge divides. Domestic bliss!” TK