“Home is where love resides, memories are created, friends always belong, and laughter never ends.”
My husband and I recently purchased our first custom (or semi-custom) home. During the process of closing, I was also managing our family's third cross-country move in less than a year, while trying to navigate the (first trimester) of our first pregnancy. Talk about exhausted. Can you imagine the chaos and stress we were under? This was not an easy feat! However, in the midst of what felt like a never ending saga of dramatic life changes, I was referred an amazing interior designer by a good friend. Little did I know that this designer would become such an important part of the next chapter in my life. She is someone whom I now consider a great mentor and friend. Meet Deena Knight, of Deena Knight Interiors. She is not only a phenomenal mom and wife, she is a female boss who is thriving in the design industry because of her creative eye and ability to create comfortable, luxurious living spaces within a reasonable budget. This was our journey, together as we transformed a house into our home.
The Design Process
From the very first time we spoke on the phone, I could tell Deena had a knack for creating impeccable work and she was capable of creating a space that my family would truly love. Because our home was new construction, Deena had a blank canvas to work her magic. After our initial conversation, we created a private Pinterest page to gather our ideas and our must have items for our new home. Lucky for me, my husband only had a couple of requests- big closets, a nice lounge area for him to relax and no white couches. Myself on the other hand (whom I thought was rather simple) turned out to be quite demanding. However, Deena was an expert at curating a design theme that included our lengthy list of request, addressing design elements we never even contemplated and maximizing our budget. Before we closed on our property, she addressed custom window treatments, custom light fixtures, custom gates for our stairwell. She created renderings with the space to make her ideas come to life. It was really exciting to watch her ideas unfold. Ironically, while all of this beauty was being cultivated behind the scenes, we still had not invested in our “real” furniture. The first night in our new home, we slept on an air mattress with two towels as covers (most of our personal belongings were still being shipped from across the country) but, the best was yet to come!
Because of my obsession with all things pink, (possibly to the point of obnoxious adoration but, who's judging?)- I was not allowed to select any of our color palette throughout our home. Under Deena’s brilliant guidance, she helped me to create a foundation of classic neutrals, blended with my preference for luxurious textures, enhanced with rich metallic golds and the perfect pop of color. Each of the spaces she curated have their own special place in our home and in my heart.
The Master Bedroom
This is one of my favorite rooms in our home. I never imagined a bedroom so serene and comfortable, yet featuring many elements of modern luxury. With us having an infant, this room has the highest demand (of both our creative energy and usage) and is the most intimate space in our home. My vision was for it to be multi-functional. I wanted something cozy which would have the ability to occasionally transform into a neat luxurious space. For this room, we layered the neutrals with my husband’s favorite color of navy. To make it extra relaxing, we added lighter blue hues.
Because the windows welcome beautiful natural light, Deena opted for simple and elegant linen drapes in slate blue, which allowed the scenic nature scenery to shine through into the room. We also installed window shades to make those oft-needed midday naps that much, more peaceful. The custom light fixture is the most “glamorous” piece in this space and honestly, it works well with the clean, cool theme of the room. The off-white color of the fixture and the beaded style adds a touch of soft glam. Deena also had the electrician install dimmers on the fixture to allow us to manipulate the mood of the room.
My husband and I went back and forth about having a television in the bedroom. I was not a fan of it because I think it is a distraction. However, he loves staying up late watching basketball games and reruns of Martin or Fresh Prince, so ultimately, we compromised. Deena created a sitting area in the bedroom with soft, comfy and elegant chaise lounges and a small reading table. This was an awesome addition because it allows the bedroom to double as a private lounge area for us. Deena did a great job fusing together all of my requests and creating a space that is welcoming and comfortable.
The Living Room
Full disclosure, the country girl in me wanted to put white couches in our living room. All I would be missing is my old-school plastic covers over the chairs that stick to your skin in the summertime when you sweat! Thanks to Deena, this did not happen. We went back and forth with colors for quite some time and this off-white color scheme happened accidentally. Because we created a lounge upstairs with dark-colored, comfy sofas, my husband compromised and allowed me to use a lighter color on the seating in this space. Deena masterfully used the size of this room and created ample seating around the beautiful fireplace surrounded by stone. This area is perfect for cozy conversations by the fire with family during holidays. This is another area with ample natural lighting, so Deena used beautiful, yet, simple ivory color linen drapes. Another aspect that I love about this space is the built-in custom shelving that Deena had constructed. She styled the shelves with subtle decor and plenty of family photos. She also used a custom light fixture in this area to add another element of glam to this cozy area. Rounding out this space is a luxe, soft and uber comfy area rug for Marri and I to play freely.
One of the most intriguing aspects of recent modern home design is the open concept and interconnectedness of new construction. Our home is inviting and spacious and the beautiful kitchen opens up to the living room and eating area which is the perfect space to wine, dine, and let the sunshine peek through. I love entertaining and Deena did a fantastic job with creating ample seating for different guest. The tall bar stools are nice and I can easily wipe them down if any of the little people in our family spill on the counters or floor. The additional seating area gives each room its own feel while tying them all together into a maze of perfection. It can be as enclosed or open as I would like depending on which area of the house I am using.
The spa blue window treatments in the eating area mesh well with the neutral colored window treatments in the living room while still complementing the gray and gold hues in the kitchen. Deena, using a color pattern of nudes and grays, allowed simplicity and elegance to take center stage.
Custom lighting for the WIN. Prior to hiring Deena, I never grasped the concept of how changing the light fixtures in a space not only enhances the custom look but it is like giving the room a facelift. Lighting is such a crucial element of a design. Deena did a fantastic job with not only finding lighting that fit our budget but, she also found pieces that were functional, timeless, and high quality, would transcend trends and look great in our home decades from now. I was a little skeptical about what custom lighting could do to a home, but Deena describes lighting as a moment to showcase the “Beyonce” pieces of your home. Invest in quality lighting and your home will slay, shine and sparkle.
Dining Room- Fit for Royalty
I admit that it’s the southern girl in me who vividly recalls growing up in the country, only sitting in the living room or dining room on special occasions. I almost held on to this tradition but, for what and why? Your home is meant to be enjoyed. I invested in having a larger table to showcase tablescapes, holiday-themed dishes, create memories and discussions with family.
My husband deserves his own private space. He works very hard through the year and I wanted him to have a room that was strictly his to enjoy fellowship with his friends, relax and unwind. Well, he had that until our son turned 6 months and his lounge turned into a playroom. However, this space was so large that it’s functional and it is multifunctional and we keep my son's toys and gadgets confound to one area and because This room is perfect because hubby and baby can escape to their own oasis plus with the custom entertainment system they can watch what they want simultaneous. We also have a built in bar and fridge in this space for his snacks and beverages. I love it when he can relax and unwind for hours into the comfort of this space. The natural light in this space opens it up for so many uses. Deena also installed a custom high top coffee table so that I can work on my laptop, while hubby lounges and baby plays. This is the perfect space.
Meet My Phenomenal Interior Designer Deena Knight
DS-What inspired you to become an interior designer?
I have always enjoyed, decorating homes. In the words of the late Interior Designer extraordinaire, Dorothy Draper: “I started this career because I loved doing houses. I'd done three of my own and I couldn't keep on moving my family all the time, so I decided to decorate other people's homes and buildings.” I had a similar journey. Only my count was a bit higher thanks to several relocations with the NBA. With my husband retired from playing, and my oldest daughter off to college, it felt like the right time to jump in.
DS-What is your favorite aspect of taking on a new client and creating their dream space?
DK-Each new client represents a new challenge. I love the beginning of any project. It’s that phase where I get to dream up the possibilities. That’s the fun part! That said, I also get the most nervous at the beginning stage, because I’m actually establishing a relationship with the client. That first conversation always give me butterflies. Like any relationship, it is exciting to get to know them and to hear their hopes for their space.
DS-What makes Deena Knight Interiors unique?
DK-I believe in helping my clients maximize their budgets. I try to be extremely respectful, and to spend their money, the same way I would spend my own. I implement a high-low approach, encouraging them to invest in quality foundation pieces and items that they know can survive their evolving taste. But I will layer in accessories and supporting pieces from discount sources in a heartbeat. That will allow them to switch out things like throw pillows, rugs and lamps to create a semi-new space down the line, while keeping the base the same.
DS-Tell me about your design inspiration?
DK-I draw inspiration from everywhere. I am never not looking at design details, in my day-to-day experiences: from commercial spaces, like restaurants, hotels, and retail stores to first time visits to someone’s home, I will notice design choices. If something is really cool, it gets stored in my brain to borrow from, in a future project. I am also active on Instagram and Pinterest. There are tons of professional designers and even personal home decorators who are sharing their spaces on these platforms. There’s certainly no shortage of design inspiration, if one is looking.
Confidently sharing our home with you would not have been possible if it was not for our amazing interior design decor experience. If you can find a phenomenal designer that respects your budget but has the skillset to be amazingly creative then I believe it’s well worth the investment. Thank you, Deena, for making our house a cozy, beautiful home for us to create decades of joyful memories.