Featured Artist Q & A:
A Designing Woman
Designer and artist Kristi Hughes specializes in helping clients think outside the box to create one-of-a-kind, but most importantly, comfortable environments. Drawing from her background with the acclaimed LeavittWeaver design firm, Hughes seeks to create “inspired calm” by weaving together client ideas, unconventional interior furnishings and her creative talents.
Read on to find out what drives the skilled interior designer below:
1. You pride yourself in pushing the boundaries of “normal” and “traditional” in your interior design work. What design rules do you love to break?
Because of my artist roots and design and manufacturing background, I have the ability to design for a specific need — I don’t just purchase items for a home. If you do both in a prudent manner you will end up with an interior that is interesting, functional and inspired.
2. You previously worked for the design company LeavittWeaver. What motivated you to go out on your own and open up your studio?
Working for LeavittWeaver was the best training I could have received. My first project was for a private 727 airplane, and two custom 747 airplanes for Boeing. I was exposed to some of the most innovative ways of designing and manufacturing. I knew in order to reach my potential I would have to learn to fly using my own wings — so apropos!
A few of the many treasures found at Atelier 20.
3. Speaking about your studio, tell our readers more about Atelier 20. What can visitors expect when they visit?
An atelier is a studio used by a designer or artist. Being both I knew that it was a perfect name to portray what I did. At Atelier 20, you will find interior accessories (much of which we make in house), art (works by me and by other artists), antiques, objets d’art (art objects), and one-of-a-kind finds from my many explorations. Some of the unique items I have in studio right now are a folding screen made from 1930s window screens, furniture from industrial salvage, and chairs with custom finishes and hand-painted fabrics.
I also encourage artists to think beyond canvas to show their creative skills. I hold classes where guests can carve stamps and print on pillows, plates, towels, etc. At Atelier 20 I am also working on a new line of jewelry made with vintage findings and silver plated elements that are made in house. And this is just a sampling of what happens within studio walls!
4. How has living and working in Sacramento influenced your interior design aesthetic?
My aesthetic hasn’t changed but I did start painting trees when I moved to The City of Trees!
I try never to have a “look.” I design for the client and help them develop their own aesthetic. I can do a very clean artful loft environment or a Tudor style home where the interior looks original to the architecture. I pride myself in being able to pull my clients ideas together to form their own style — even when they don’t know exactly what it is.
5. How do you balance the desires/expectations of your clients while remaining true to your personal creative vision?
I try and always remember that at the end of the day I go home. It is my job to help my client make the best decisions based on the desired outcome and for me to use my creative vision. Good design is being exposed to a great number of choices for any given element. There are always several great solutions for any given situation and my job is to figure out which is best for that particular client.
6. What are your favorite colors and materials/textures to work with this year?
As with everything that is creative, my inspiration is nature. We are much more relaxed in a natural environment. A perfect interior is one that feels great — you should have an immediate feeling of calm when you enter a room. All interiors need several layers of detail, texture and interest; if everything is in its perfect place, an interior will give you a serene energy. The best compliment I’ve ever received from a client was when she said that my work made her “feel younger.”
According to Hughes, “a perfect interior is one that ‘feels great.’
You should have an immediate feeling of calm when you enter it.”
7. What inspires you (both professionally and personally)?
Integrity — in product, execution of tasks and being able to trust and be trusted.
8. Regarding interior design, if you had to recommend just one way to update your space, what would it be?
Choose any one of the “Three C’s”: (1) combine different interior elements together; (2) change a color, and of course, (3) call me! You would be surprised how easy it is to transform a space by using what you already have.
9. Lastly, what is on the horizon for you for the rest of 2014?
I am currently developing products for my own interior accessory line and expanding my jewelry line for wholesale.
Keep up with Kristi:
Make sure to explore the beauty found in everyday objects at Atelier 20’s
Lola M’s Show + Tell: Visual Anthology exhibit before it ends on April 8.
Interview by Sacramento365’s Content & Social Media Coordinator, Jamila B. Khan.