Some may describe her style as bold and authoritative, others may find it simple with a touch of sophistication. No matter the opinion, her creative evolution is without a doubt as grandiose as it is humbling.
Describe your childhood. I didn’t grow up surrounded by beautiful things, in fact it was pretty middle-class average. However, I was fascinated by design and decor shows on television. When I was able to earn my own money, I saved up every penny to redecorate, repaint, and rearrange my environment to be surrounded by beautiful things. I knew from a very young age that interior design was what I wanted to do.
How do you draw inspiration in creating the visual identity of Kelli? I was fortunate enough to have spent fifteen years travelling around the world as a fashion model. This allowed me to get out of my local bubble to see what’s out there. I drew inspiration from all these places I’ve lived in for long periods of time.
Where were the places that inspired you the most? I spent many years in Japan where I really fell in love with minimalism. The way they live, the way they treat each other, it’s all so simplistic yet so beautiful at the same time. I also had the occasion to stay in Italy where I learned to appreciate the elegance and sophistication of Old World luxury and opulence.
In what way did these contrasting experiences influence your design signature? The store vibe represents a mixture of my two loves, one for minimalism and the other for luxury. For example, the Atollo Lamp is a fine example of Mid-Century Italian design. With its simple cylinder and cone geometry, topped by a domed diffuser, it has become the archetype of a classic bedside table lamp today. It has a commanding but not overwhelming presence. I’m also fond of Wendelbo furniture. From sofas to coffee tables, the Danish brand is known for perfectly blending the minimal and the elegant.
What colors do you favor? I’m not sure if I could consider it as a color, as it’s quite neutral, but I love the luxurious tones of taupe and beige. We use it throughout the store as well as in our design firm’s identity. I find these tones make a very elegant backdrop for splashes of color in many design settings.
Who are your role models in the design industry? I could name a few. Christian Liaigre and Paul Conrad are both a major source of inspiration for their minimalist style. I also love to study the work of Joseph Dirand who designs spaces with a modern Parisian take on interior design and architecture. From a personal career standpoint, I really admire Kelly Wearstler for her business acumen and her level of success she’s achieved in the industry.
From a personal perspective, what do you hope to achieve? If there would be one thing I’d want to achieve, it would be contribution. I want more people to experience these amazing designs in their homes. There are many high-end furniture showrooms across Canada but they’re mostly in Vancouver and Toronto, so I felt it was my responsibility to bring this experience to Montreal. I think at the end of the day, it’s all about what we can bring to people that will help make their lives more comfortable, elegant and beautiful. Happy customers is the greatest achievement I could have.
And as a business, how do envision the growth of the Kelli brand? To have more storefronts would be a start! Although the online store has been running since 2019, we only opened the physical store in May 2021. I would love to see other locations being developed, but for now we will focus on this one.
Outside of interior design, what are some of your hobbies? I barely have time for hobbies, but I do enjoy long walks in nature with my two dogs and reading books. It’s beneficial to set our work aside sometimes and just spend a moment to find inner peace. It’s also important to keep learning, especially in my field, to absorb valuable experiences from other highly successful designers.
The Kelli Store is now open at 4396 Saint-Laurent Boulevard, in Montreal, Canada. Check out their showroom featuring beautiful original pieces such as the delicate Asian-inspired lanterns from & Tradition, and the timelessly iconic GamFratesi Beetle Chairs from Gubi.
To buy online, visit their e-commerce site, kelli.shop.
Kelli Richards is also the Principal Designer and Founder of KRD, a full-service upmarket residential design firm. The company was recently shortlisted for The International Design & Architecture Awards 2021 for one of its luxury condo designs. The same project was also published in the book ‘150 Best New Interior Design Ideas’ released this spring.
Visit the firm’s website at kellirichardsdesigns.com, or call +1-514-800-4572 for business