We’re excited to share this interview with Kimberly Horton, an award winning interior designer and owner of KH Home Designs. She shares her insights on design, the industry, and more!
Q: How did you start working in the industry?
A: On a complete whim and I know that isn’t the answer everyone wants to hear. My story doesn’t involve a 4-year degree or working my way up in the design world. In truth, I was in a chaotic time in my life, and designing my own home gave me peace. I woke up one day and decided this was what I was going to do and here I had a first-hand account of what the Client goes through that could allow me to relate on a completely different level. I had my business up and running just a few short months later and never looked back. I ran full steam ahead on a keen eye and on entrepreneurial heart. My education in the field came a bit later than most.
Q: Who is your biggest inspiration?
A: My kids, hands down. They inspire me to show up every day as my best self and to show them what determination and a vision for a better life looks like. Aside from my kids, I find traveling to be so inspiring. I think there’s something to be learned from everywhere we go. Between the application of materials, color palettes, design trends, etc I think the biggest source of design comes from different cultures.
Q: We’re interested in learning more about KH Home Design. Can you tell us about the early days of your company? How has your company evolved since it was founded?
A: Oh, it’s been a whirlwind and has changed in so many unexpected ways! I never envisioned being where I am today. I always saw my company just being a small one-woman show that specialized in one thing. While I maintain operating all aspects myself, I went from just offering Full Service in furnishings and accessories to incorporating Kitchen and Bath designs – something I swore off in my earlier years. I also saw a need in my state for A La Carte services and expanded my offerings to those DIY clients who need a bit of assistance but don’t fit most firms ‘ideal’ client. But I think the most unexpected evolution has been my offerings to other Interior Designers and Decorators to help them grow their own business with my fully customizable business forms. It wasn’t an intention I had starting my business but I’ve truly loved helping my colleagues grow and develop on the foundation of what I’ve learned the hard way.
Q: What has been the most rewarding part of running your own company?
A: I feel like the typical answer here is the look on your clients face at the reveal and/or those stunning transformations and while all of those are true for me, I also really enjoy the freedom of knowing what works for me and being able to implement that. My business gets to evolve as I evolve – and much like the Kitchen and Baths I swore off, I get to expand in any way I please. I have the capacity to listen to my clients and adjust my offerings, processes, methodology and creativity accordingly – and that is very freeing.
Q: Have you ever had to work with someone who was really difficult to please when it came to interior design?
A: I really try to get to know my potential Clients to know how to approach them best and mitigate some of the mismatch in personalities or frustrations that come with this sometimes tense process. Construction can put a strain on Clients and the responses to that stress can vary widely. I take a great deal of time to know where these pain points are, identify them early and give Clients a reprieve however I can. I think that’s what makes a good design experience and something I work to achieve with everyone who comes my way.
Q: You have a lot of experience under your belt, and you even won a HGTV’s Designer of the Year Award which is a big deal! Do you have any advice for someone who is just starting out in the home improvement industry?
A: Find your voice and know your value. I talk with a quite a few Interior Designers who are new to the industry and I’ve heard a lot of fear of starting their business, charging what they’re worth, and more. Creativity is not a one size fits all and there is not one single way to define what creative is. We all bring a unique perspective to the table and it’s important to let your voice be heard. Clients want to hear that voice so even if you’re scared and uncertain, own who you are and know what you offer to clients. There’s something special in you – maybe in your approach, your offerings, your creativity, the way you view things – that’s what you’re offering – YOU!
Q: What do you see as the future for you and your company?
A: Here’s hoping for continued fulfillment. I truly enjoy what I do and the service I provide to clients. That’s my measure of success. But I hope to continue servicing clients in CT and bringing fresh ideas and out of the box thinking to their projects. I have plans for continued expansions of my offerings to the trade and hope to continue developing this area of my business.
Q: Can you share your top design tip to our readers?
A: Find a colleague, someone who is at the same phase of their business as you are and have a meeting of the minds monthly or biweekly. Networking and discussing ideas with like-minded colleagues can be paramount in your business, as it has been for mine. That honest feedback and different perspectives can really be a game changer.
Thank you for your time and accepting this interview. We appreciate it. And to our readers – stay tuned because we have more interviews on the way!