1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I live in Austin with my husband, two daughters and Maltese. My background is in Fine Arts, which has greatly influenced how I view spaces - treating each space as a unique piece of art. I play tennis regularly and travel as often as I can. Carrie Keith Design could not exist without the help of my good friend and talented assistant, Janet. I like to compare the two of us to “Ethel and Lucy” as we tackle design challenges together.
2. What would you say your preferred design style is?
My personal style is a something of a collected boho chic. I love a home with interest - travel souvenirs, collections (the odder the better) and original artwork.
3. What design trends are you currently loving?
I love brass accents and I’m thrilled with their new affordability. Green is my favorite color and it’s making a comeback. I’m hoping I get the opportunity to do a green and brass kitchen soon.
4. How about your favorite book/magazine on design?
I’ve had a House Beautiful subscription since I was in high school. I also love Kelly Wearstler’s design books.
5. Where do you find your design inspiration?
Everywhere! I take hundreds of pictures weekly of things that catch my eye.
6. Do you have a recent project you are proud of or a favorite project?
My favorite project is a local, family-owned pizza restaurant, Marye’s Gourmet Pizza in Austin, Texas. The before and after transformation was huge, and now it’s one of my favorite places to frequent on weekends.
7. What is your biggest design challenge and how did you overcome it?
I don’t know if it’s my single biggest, but definitely high on the list is when I work with a couple who disagree with each other on design choices. My usual approach is to play the mediator until I’ve built up enough trust that I’ll take both of their views into account that they’ll give me the space to create a beautiful compromise that works for everyone.
8. Do you have advice for people with small spaces?
Go light and bright to make a space feel larger. Ground it with darkest tone on floor and paint the ceiling and walls the same color to keep eyes traveling upward. My go to paint is Benjamin Moore’s Simply White for a warm bright space.
Using mixed materials of metals, woods, mirror and textures will help give a room depth. Adding punches of color strategically around the room will keep eyes roaming, looking for the next spot of interest.
9. Do you typically design for residential, commercial, industrial, or hospitality.
Primarily residential, but we’ve had a couple of great commercial clients as well.
10. Do you do any charity work or have any involvement in your community? If so, describe your work here:
I was a founding board member for Austin Diaper Bank and have been amazed to see its growth and success. I’d like to find an organization that my daughters and I can work on together.
11. What is your biggest achievement?
My biggest achievement is being a mother to two amazing young women. I am very proud to be an example to them, showing them it’s possible to love your job.
12. What makes a happy home?
Having people want to be in it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but the space should come off as harmonious if the overall composition reads correctly and people will feel comfortable being there.
13. What is the most rewarding aspect of your job as a designer?
Making people happy. I think I diagnose problems fairly well. When a simple shift of a piece of furniture makes a client exclaim how it makes all the difference, it’s really rewarding - makes me feel like a magician.
14. The most frustrating part of your job?
Returning items. We triple check measurements and get swatches whenever possible but sometimes things still don’t work out as planned. It’s so disappointing to finally get your hands on a piece and it just doesn’t work.
15. If you had no limits (money, resources) what would you create?
I would love to own a brick and mortar design store and spend half of the year searching for items sourced from global travels and unique domestic finds from scouring tag sales around the country in a fully outfitted Airstream.
16. What's the best piece of advice you can give designers today?
Find contractors and vendors that you trust and you will save yourself all sorts of time and headaches.