Since 1996, Kelly Cruz has successfully headed her self-named Kelly Cruz Interior Design firm in Charlotte. Kelly Cruz specializes in finding and fulfilling the interior design needs of each client. She believes in using her design talents to tailor to the uniqueness of each project she and her team undertakes. With careful attention to detail and a design that’s approachable but luxurious, Kelly’s full-service interior design company has grown to the third-largest firm in the Charlotte area over her many years.
We had the chance to talk to her about starting the business, leading a successful company, and why she loves designing so much.
What led to you getting involved with interior design?
An aptitude for getting the best use of space and an interest in a wide variety of architectural styles led me to major in Interior Design in the Architectural College at a large university.
In 25 years of Kelly Cruz Interiors, what lessons have you learned?
There are many lessons I have learned over the years, but the most important one is to trust my instincts. This applies to business decisions as well as knowing what my clients will like in their homes.
What makes Charlotte perfect for an interior designer?
The location: Charlotte is close to beaches, mountains, as well as other major Southeastern cities. All of that has an impact on the design influences our clients are exposed to. Charlotte-based designers can also get to all of these places which easily broadens our market base.
What is most important to you when working with a client?
Getting the style and ambiance of a client’s home to suit them is absolutely the most important objective. Of course, design principles are practiced and I guide my clients to good design choices, but as I always say, “It’s not just another pretty home; it’s where you live.” Their home should reflect them, the comforts they enjoy, and be a place of refuge from the stresses outside the home.
What is your personal design aesthetic?
Ha! I am all over the place! There are so many interior design styles I love and enjoy combining them too. I tend to get my craving for different styles satisfied through my clients’ homes. Right now, a well-done elegantly rustic (think Ralph Lauren mixed with some clean lines) is speaking to me. Our current political/economic affairs can probably be credited for me wanting an understated home that is very welcoming, has a useful kitchen, and plenty of space for a garden. Ask me again in your next issue and I will probably say I’m looking to create a very modern high rise in Uptown Charlotte. One consistent thread, no matter what the aesthetic is, that it must be clutter free.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Nature always gets it right so I am most inspired by that. Specifically, the colors and textures of bird feathers are fascinating. When I start a project the first things I consider are the architectural style of the home, its setting/views, and the people that will be living there.
How do you balance your design aesthetic with that of your client?
That is very easy because I really love so many styles that we rarely clash. I like to see a client’s home from their point of view, not mine, at first. After I get a clear direction in what type of lifestyle and design styles they are drawn to, I work on their behalf to get the best out of the space to accomplish their goals.
Describe your design process, from ideation to finished product.
It starts with a consultation, getting to know the clients and developing parameters such as style, budget, timeline, and ends when art is hung, draperies are installed and all furnishings are in the right place. It is full-service, turnkey interior design.
What does the future hold for you? What do you have planned next for your business?
For the immediate future, I have been in negotiations with a few very interesting residential projects. I’m excited by these opportunities and the creativity they will allow in renovation and furnishings. A new design studio is in our not-too-distant future as well.