TRENDER: Interior Designer Kelly Taylor

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


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"The one thing I find missing from so many homes is great art." Kelly Taylor, interior designer.

Who are the Rhode Islanders leading in arts, fashion, food, and style? They're Trenders, and GoLocalProv offers glimpses of the people you most want to know on the scene. Today, interior designer Kelly Taylor, whose work has been singled out for attention both regionally and nationally. She has just been named one of the region's hottest emerging talents by New England Home.

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Age: 39

Local cred: Born in Tennessee, lived and attended college in Charleston, SC. Attended Parson's School of Design in NYC. In the summer of 2001, moved to Providence with her husband.

What brought you to your field? Were you always interested in making places more beautiful? 

I grew up surrounded by the stunning beauty of Charleston's architecture against the background of the sea, so in a sense, the world around me was always beautiful.  Art was also a big part of my life.  My grandmother was a genealogist and painted exquisite coats of arms.  She introduced me to paint and color, and I think much of my innate design sense comes from her.  Arts education also figured prominently in my life.  My elementary art teacher fostered a love of art in me, which continued through high school and into my adult life.  I am a concrete example of why arts education is so important in our schools.  But design is not simply about beauty; it's about solutions.  It's the age old design dilemma:  Form over function or function over form?  For me, it's both.  Lasting design will solve problems and be beautiful.

What do you think are the 3 hallmarks of great interior design?

Great residential design responds very specifically to the people who will live in the space, but some things are vital. Contrast:  whether through texture, color, light, form or a combination, great contrast is essential.  A simple palette in shades of white can be dynamic with layered textures, various forms, and dramatic lighting. Drama:  it doesn't have to be relegated to movie sets and theatrical productions and it doesn't have to be overt.  But a space without it feels soulless. Comfort: not necessarily “comfort” in the traditional sense of lounging, although this can also make a wildly great space. Well-designed spaces should be easy to be in; they should be warm, welcoming and safe.

What do you feel defines Rhode Island style when it comes to design and decor?

Certainly one could argue that there is such a thing as "Rhode Island style," but I don't subscribe. There are coastal styles, city styles, country styles, eclectic styles, etc. all over the world. Ultimately design is about personal style.  Although some people will gawk at this, everyone has a sense of style. It is my job to unearth, edit and and transform it into a cohesive vision. 

What's the most frustrating thing about working in RI? The best thing?

The best thing about being a designer in Rhode Island is the creative community surrounding me. We have so much talent. I have resources for both brainstorming ideas and seeing them to fruition right at my fingertips. It is frustrating that the rest of the country sees this asset far more than our very own state does. We have put a lot behind other economic development here; Providence alone has pushed the Knowledge District and other great sectors. But we are not supporting creative businesses as much as we should. The creative sector has seen consistent job growth over the last five years during the worst economy of my lifetime: we have a creative economy right under our nose!  I am a board member for Rhode Island Citizens for the Arts, Rhode Island's arts advocacy group, and we are currently encouraging state government to get behind us and promote what we know is an enormous economic driver in this state.

If a person can splurge on one item for their house, what should it be?

The one thing I find missing from so many homes is great art: a collection of well chosen pieces.  With so much local talent in Rhode Island, you don't have to go anywhere else to fill your home with a variety of artistic expression, from art glass to paintings to sculpture and everything in between.  Some of my favorite local artists are Mark Friedman, Tracy Glover, Coral Bourgeois, Mimo Gordon Riley, Toots Zynsky, Howard Ben Tré, and Peter Diepenbrock. But the list goes on and on.

To see Kelly Taylor's work and learn more, go to

For more Lifestyle coverage, don't miss GoLocalTV, fresh every day at 4pm and on demand 24/7, here.



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