There aren’t many interior designers who can say their career began when they were sophomores in high school – but Kevin Francis O’Gara can. A few years later at age 22, after studying interior design and hospitality at Cornell University, the Atlanta-based designer launched his eponymous product and design studio Kevin Francis Design.
In addition to creating pieces that are of-the-moment while still able to withstand the test of time, Kevin works with clients to solve any of their design dilemmas. With his keen eye and some help from Frontgate’s trade program, he recently helped create a primary bedroom that defies all the stereotypes for a young bachelor.
We sat down with Kevin to learn more about his process and how our trade program helped take his project to the next level.
FG: You’re such a young designer, but you have already accomplished so much. What made you want to become a designer, and what was your journey like getting there?
KFO: I have been moving furniture around for as long as I can remember. I’ve always been interested in all forms of design, but after starting my blog Thou Swell in high school, I started focusing on residential design. [I] started working on projects for my website and social media audience before starting to work with clients and my own product collection under Kevin Francis Design.
FG: People have been spending a lot more time at home the past two years. How has this unforeseen lifestyle shift impacted your work as a designer? What have you seen clients wanting more of?
KFO: I’ve definitely seen a shift in people’s approach to home design, such as investing in their homes less as a luxury and more as a necessity. After spending so much time at home, clients definitely feel more serious about making it a place they really love, which has meant more meaningful considerations of functionality and lifestyle when it comes to the design decisions.
FG: Was there a specific ask from the client regarding the concept for his bedroom design? How would you describe your inspiration/concept for the space based on the client’s needs?
KFO: This space is for a bachelor, and he really wanted to bring a cohesive look to the room but didn’t have a clear vision of how to get there. I leaned into classic layers of neutrals with soothing blue tones and a pop of color from the fabulous collaged artwork […] whose scale really ties the room together. I wanted the room to feel classic but contemporary and used a mix of silhouettes to achieve this balance.
FG: Why did you select the Frontgate pieces you chose? What features appealed to you for this space?
KFO: Frontgate’s selections provided a range of styles and materials that made my job easy by giving me lots of options while maintaining that unique mix that defines my work. The pieces I chose balance a sense of new and old, traditional and contemporary, and lean into materiality in a way that makes the room feel really special.
[Because] the bed has such clean lines, I chose more detailed nightstands that have such a classic French silhouette and marble tops and a dresser with a special texture. I love how the armchair brings in a pop of blue that ties together the nightstands and the colors in the artwork. The accessories I chose helped tie together the color palette and inject personality into the room. I love the detail on the throw pillows and the lively green faux plant that brings the outside in all year round.
FG: How do trade programs like Frontgate’s help you do your job better?
KFO: Trade programs are such an invaluable resource in a designer’s tool belt, and Frontgate is a fabulous partner in bringing together high-quality pieces for projects and being able to easily determine lead times and coordinate with their delivery partners.
FG: What element should every bedroom have?
KFO: If the architecture allows, I believe every bedroom should have some element of symmetry. More than anywhere else in the house, the bedroom needs to feel like a retreat, and leaning on design foundations of symmetry and proportion [is] a tried-and-true way to bring a sense of peace and ease to this space. I also believe bedrooms should have soft, dimmer lighting and a mirror somewhere.