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Known as the “Color Whisperer,” Kellie Smith loves to break all the design rules (and society’s, too). Her work has been featured in books including Rizzoli’s “Decorate Fearlessly” by Susanna Salk and Sandow Media’s “Best of Office” and “Best of Residential.” Her work as a contract carpet designer and colorist has made a splash in office buildings, hotel chains and commercial establishments around the world. You can also find her signature paint line, Velvet Finishes by Kellie Smith, in the craft rooms of DIY-ers around the country.

Kellie warns that this interview may contain sarcasm and inappropriate language.

What’s the one interior design trend you can’t stand?

Lacquered walls.

Your perfect vacation in 3 words:

Don’t rush me.

Velvet or silk?


Silver or gold?

A mix of both.

Urban escape or rural?

Again, both.

Fly or drive?


What’s the #1 design secret you’ve ever learned?

Never shop the middle.

Name the item in your home you can’t live without.

My little schnorkie, Elsie de Woof.

Favorite color?

Black, like my soul.

Favorite texture?


Favorite animal print?


What’s the best souvenir you’ve scored abroad?

A piece of 17th century art I found at a flea market in Italy.

What are 3 items always in your travel bag?

Evian spray, movies on my iPad, and a toothbrush.

Your worst travel experience in one sentence:

Sitting next to an old man farting on an 8-hour flight from Amsterdam to Delhi.

Your best travel experience in one sentence:

Traveling through India solo.

Who would you most like to dine with at an international dinner party?

The Dalai Lama, a Masai warrior, Dolly Parton, Kate McKenna, Bri Bri.

Any travel pet peeves?

Travelers with large wingspans.

Any design pet peeves?

Lack of editing.

What’s next on your bucket list?

I really want to do an African safari.

That’s the end. What are you going to do now?


(for Q&A with Melanie Hönig, click here)

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