When interior designer Kevin Dumais first opened his own design firm in the aftermath of the 2008 recession, he established his business out of his own home. Flash forward about 10 years, and he’s upgraded to a 10th-floor Manhattan studio. “It’s very refreshing when you walk in and it’s flooded with sunlight,” Dumais says to AD PRO. “That’s such an important aspect of design and interiors and in making yourself feel energized.”
Of course, the six-person staff has spent a fair amount of 2020 working from home, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. “Like most businesses, we had to temporarily close our studio in March and our team has been working remotely,” Dumais explains. Now, in accordance with New York City guidelines, the workspace is indeed reopened, but Dumais emphasizes that employees are setting their own schedules and only coming in on a want-or-need basis. “The studio is meant to be a creative and welcoming space—which we all need more than ever,” he adds.
Generally speaking, Dumais loves walking into the bright space on a Monday morning, grabbing a coffee, fixing breakfast, and joining his team to plan the week ahead. “Those moments are really exciting for me because we come together as a team. We talk about what we have on the table and also have casual banter about whatever we got up to on the weekend,” Dumais reflects. “I love our studio. It’s my home away from home.”
Dumais describes the workspace as “very calm and quiet.” He says that when he welcomes clients into the space, they get a good sense of his midcentury-inflected design ethos, which is rich with textured materials and neutral color palettes. “All the materials, textures, and colors that we pull from are represented in our studio,” he says. These include velvets, distressed leather, and tweeds. “We layer in rich indie blues mixed with ochres, mossy greens, and terra-cotta browns,” Dumais explains of how he tends to build off a white or gray base.
Clients are welcomed into all corners of the studio, whether that means the sketch area, the conference space, or the library where pin-up presentations happen. Dumais says that he enjoys talking with his clients about their lifestyles and hobbies, and that engaging with them in an environment that activates their imaginations is important. “We are dealing with people’s homes…so there’s a sensibility and a friendship that is built [along with] a business relationship,” he says. Later on, Dumais adds, “Getting a chance to create somebody’s environment that they feel so comfortable in—that’s what keeps me going.”