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Multidisciplinary, dedicated and well organized. Three words to describe a woman who has managed to turn her passion into a job. A professional who pioneers and redefines the rules of interior design. Kari Whitman, head of KWI, based in Los Angeles, confesses to us what others can't say and that's why we really thank her very much...

Kari Whitman

Kari, you have a portfolio that every interior designer would be jealous of. How do you manage to maintain success all these years?

I love my job... it’s not work. I work 100 hours a week. I’m also an over achiever. We say, in our office under promise over deliver. Only way to success I believe. We throw in a few things, to make clients feel happy and appreciated. At the end of every job I gift my clients with a substantial gift from me. So, they remember the love from me and my team.


Can you share with us some highlights of your career from 1994 to today?

Oh there are so many. The hotel in Baltimore was our biggest job commercially. I was scared to death when we started it and it ended up absolutely beautiful. Now I feel that I can do anything. For me it’s all about the passion and the artistic flow of the job. Sometimes will take on jobs that have no budget just because we want to do that job, and experience it. I did a tiny house with very little budget but it was so rewarding and so fun. All of my jobs are extremely fulfilling. Having clients like Jessica Alba, Don Henley and President Obama have been a highlight. But the highlight really is the success of my company that I started with little or no experience. My team is beautiful and I couldn’t do it without them. Everyone from our top designers to all project participants that go to the design district to get samples for us all day long. I am grateful

You have completed projects all over the world. Is there one client or project that stands out for you?

I’ d say the clients have all become family members for me, so I don’t know that I would say that one job stands out more than another. But I always dreamt of going back to my hometown of Boulder Colorado, and working between there and Los Angeles. Our main office is in Los Angeles. So it’s been hard and rewarding to reinvent myself in Boulder Colorado, and we’ve had some amazing projects there. We have two covers coming out in September on our Boulder projects. Working overseas is really fun too, in London, in Saudi Arabia has been a blast.


700 Pearl Street

Can you describe a typical day at work?

We start our day with a quick meeting of what we want to accomplish to push jobs forward. Remember, under promise over deliver. I’m a stickler about my staff pushing jobs forward, so we never miss a deadline. I’m proud to say we’ve always stayed on budget and on time. We are average about a 10 hour day in the office and I average about a 14 hour day. So it is work work work, and we have a blast doing it. I don’t believe in Office spaces that are creative, so we always work either in my home or in our warm comfy office. I have to give my designers a place to create, breath and have some fun.


Can we have a peek at what comes next for Kari Whitman Interiors?

Oh wow, we have so much work coming. We are doing two city blocks, one in Pasadena and one in Alta Loma. These are big big commercial projects! We are doing a huge residence in Saudi Arabia, two tattoo studios and a dispensary. I like diversity! So presently we have many jobs in the LA area, in the Colorado area, in London and Saudi Arabia. Again, I am grateful.


Weho

Our target audience is fellow interior designers & 3d artists. So, can you share with them the creative process you follow? Any tools that you use & help you save time and streamline your operations?

Most of our tools come from our very extensive library, both online and in the office. I am constantly saving things, even pieces of earth like tree bark or oyster shells that I bring back because I like the color. As an artist, Ι always strive to leave a feeling with every client in their home or commercial space. At times this gets very difficult, because we' re running our day to day that we forget the creative and have to jump back into that. One of the apps that I use a lot personally is Bazaart. It allows me to throw things together look at them together, and send it to my team so they can see the path that I want to lead on this particular project. After we have an idea we put everything on a concept board including the cad layout. After the client sees this we submit it to Margarita where she makes it all come to life at High Q Renders. We love Margarita, she’s worked with us for many years, and I am grateful for her.


Can you say a few words on how our services at High Q Renders have contributed to your work?

Honestly, it really helps me a lot to see the space, see my choices, and feel confident that this is all going to work together. It also helps me a lot because we work all over the world. We have overseas clients from different cities, we also have clients from US and I can see where we are at on their project. A lot of times you can’t tell the difference between the rendering and the finished photo shoot. I love Margarita and I love her company. I attribute a lot of my success to her beautiful time and work on our projects.


Arapahoe

What is your advice to the new generation of interior designers?

The best advice that I can give is work hard. I feel like the new generation wants things to fall on their lap. Hard work pays off. Do more than you plan to do, don’t just do enough to get by. Also be a trendsetter not a trend follower. I don’t understand who makes all these trends. Who is skilled enough to do this? I was asked in a magazine interview the other day what I thought of the color of the year. I found that so funny. Every color is the color of the year, so please new designers color your world with art, hard work and over achievement.

Updated: Sep 3, 2019

When asked to participate in our new blog series, Carla Cadzin immediately agreed. Her responses to our questions were direct and honest, illustrating a modern woman who successfully copes with the challenging professional path she has chosen to follow.


DAVINCI HAUS

Her dynamic character, self-esteem and love for work made her stand out from her competitors and led her to a successful career path. Carla Cadzin, after eight years of tough work in the real estate business, managed to take over the steering wheel of marketing management for Sotheby’s International Realty (Hamptons, Long Island, New York).


In her workplace the duties are demanding and the responsibilities different and multidimensional, but always client-centered. She loves to know what makes the owners of each property ''fall in love with it'' while, in her words: "All of our clients share the same importance - we aim to provide white glove service to all our clients no matter how small or large the demand." In addition, it is equally important to identify new buyers through "exceptional digital advertising".


But to survive in this competitive environment, it is imperative to adopt diverse approaches: ''Combining all of our marketing assets are the most effective - from PR to social media, to digital advertising, print advertising, photography, etc. '' Finally, it is essential for Carla to give each project the promotion it deserves: "I'm very hands on with assisting agents in staging and promoting a property. Behind the scenes I help you to virtually stage, stage in real life and whatever else is needed to promote the property in the best light.''


23 Maple Lane


Difficult and demanding projects require a lot of personal work, but also the right partners to deliver the project on time. Davinci Haus USA was such a project and it led Carla Cadzin to a fruitful collaboration with High Q Renders, generating "realistic renderings that we can now proudly use as marketing material.''


Carla Cadzin has come to stay. Visit her company website (https://www.sothebyshomes.com/hamptons) to see for yourselves. We thank her and renew our meeting with a new fascinating interview.

Updated: May 20, 2019

She is young, talented and ambitious! Within a few years, Diana Gomes from DGD Interiors has managed to establish her own business in downtown New York, Manhattan, and put her personal stamp in the highly competitive market of interior design. The interview with her was as we expected: highly revealing!

Diana Gomes

1.What's the story behind Diana Gomes?

My journey started in the Ironbound section of Newark NJ where I was born and raised by a loving Portuguese speaking family of hard working immigrants. I’ve seen and experienced secondhand the poverty that my parents and grandparents came from. My drive and fire comes from knowing my family history and recognizing the limitless opportunities for a successful life. My passion and persistence in starting an interior design business comes from the desire to work for myself, being able to live a more meaningful, purposeful journey.


2. What challenges did you face starting an interior design firm? Did you have a defining moment in your career?

It’s now been six years of living in Manhattan with my own personal struggles and triumphs that comes with starting a business from the ground up. Initially finding clients that would take a chance and entrust me in completing a successful design was a continuous effort. I’m still growing day to day, building my foundation one step at a time with passion, integrity, hard work and dedication. Every successfully completed project is a defining moment in my career. I am grateful and proud of myself for every opportunity small or large. It hasn’t been the smoothest, easiest path, but it’s my path. It’s what you make of it and I’m the type to enjoy the ride regardless.


3. What are your influences?

My influencers are my family, mother nature, other designers and friends who I see chase their dreams and accomplish inspirational goals and experiences.


Dor L' Dor-Storefront New York, NY

4. Can you share with us the creative process you follow?

My creative process starts with being a good listener, it’s client driven. Everyone has a vision, feeling, or personalized aesthetic they need and want accomplished for their space. My job is to convey each clients’ vison bringing it to reality. I listen carefully, take notes, ask specific questions geared to help guide me in determining their style and likes. I try to get a good grasp of what they’re looking for and envision a space and source pieces that I think they will love.


5. Is there a balance between functionality and design?

Yes, there’s a balance to everything in life. What’s the use of having an expensive high end, desk if you can’t open the drawers? Why buy a coffee table if you can’t put a book or a drink on top? For me design is supposed to look amazing and serve a purpose.


6. Can you say a few words on how our services at High Q Renders have contributed to your work?

I have worked on a project with High Q Renders and know from my experience that they are super responsive, friendly and deadline driven. I was very happy with the outcome of the 3D rendering they completed for me.


Lincroft Residence-Lincroft NJ

7. Can we have a peek at what comes next for DGD Interiors?

Currently I’m working on a few projects at the moment. I’m doing my first outdoor space in Brooklyn, which we just got the permitting for, I’m wrapping up a townhouse project in NJ, and a couple other projects in Manhattan that I’m excited about and will be unveiling shorty.


8. What would be your best advice to young interior designers trying to emerge in the industry?

My advice to other designers would be to study and spend time figuring out what your own personal style is. Secondly, and most importantly practicing and getting comfortable presenting and projecting your design ideas to a client seamlessly without hesitation or pauses. Doing this will help you become more confident and can make it easier when it comes time to present.