Interior Design with Blayne Ross
Straight out of college Blayne Ross (University of Florida, 1998) didn’t want to get coffee at an advertising firm making $19,000 a year. Ross wanted to hit the ground running but realized making six figures at a job he hated didn’t make him happy either. He made his way back to his first love, interior design. Ross is now the founder and president of Kaid Design, a commercial and residential interior design firm, specializing in multifamily high-rise remodeling.
How did you get started in interior design?
Ross: My mom was an interior designer, I just started doing work alongside her and helping out wherever I could and thought it was exciting. She’d leave the house, and I’d push furniture around and try and figure out spatial things and how to make space better. I’ve had a couple of other things that I’ve done on the side along the way, but I just kept coming back to the design. My first design project was to redo the Delta Zeta Chapter house, renovate and furnish the whole thing, I just fell in love with it. I enjoyed it, and it grew from there.
How did Kaid Design start?
I came back to design during a trip to New York. I had just left the entertainment business and wanted to get into something that was going to be new and different. I reconnected with a friend that had a construction company in New York, and I pitched him, a combination of interior design paired with a general contractor, a one-stop shop for clients. We would do everything a client needs without them having to deal with a couple of different places.
Where do you find inspiration when designing?
For me, architecturally, the buildings have a personality. I respect that and then develop their initial intent into something contemporary and reflective of today. I get inspired by some little nuance of the original architecture and then go with that. Sometimes it’s just sketching; sometimes it’s looking at other inspiration photos. Those things kind of let you go off into the world without any constraints. It’s the dreaming phase. I think every time you have the opportunity to dream, you connect with the purest sense of your passion or your attraction to whatever that thing is. For me, those are the moments when I’m like this is really why I love doing this.
What is it like working with a blank canvas?
Anytime I start with raw space and imagining something new, I try and find a point of view that will evoke an emotion. The design has the opportunity to influence a lot of different people and if it is well thought out, you get to influence someone during their day. For example, if you walk into your building or out your front door from that moment forward, you’ve affected how someone’s day starts. I often work on buildings that are 20 years old, and tenants walk into a hallway that’s dark and dingy. It’s not a pleasant experience coming from their own renovated interior of their apartments. If I come in and do a fantastic renovation on the hallway side of things, then they walk out, and they go from their beautiful apartment into a nice hallway, and it feels like a continuation of their home.
What is Kaid design doing now?
I focus mostly on building rehabs for large residential towers in Manhattan. We work with two to 70-story towers and redo the lobby, hallways, game room, and the lounges to keep them updated with the rest of all the new construction in the city. They’re fun projects, they are big jobs, and they get to have an impact on a lot of people, so it’s really rewarding. Δ