Darcy Kempton at her showroom in San Diego, CA. Shot by Samantha Kaplan
The name of her interior design firm says it all — Simply Stunning Spaces. That’s what San Diego interior designer Darcy Kempton creates for her clients. She’s spent more than 10 years designing homes, offices, restaurants, bars and boutique hotels (including Petco’s Pooch Hotels) for celebrities, Fortune 500 corporations and hundreds of homeowners, working with blank-check budgets, to design on a dime.
“I live for the ‘WOW!’ moments that I get from my clients when they see their newly designed home for the first time,” she says. “Although I can’t deny that large design budgets are fun to work with, I personally enjoy the challenge of creating designer-looks-for-less and coaching people through the process of transforming their houses into homes. My goal is to give every client that jaw-dropping moment you see on design show reveals.” (She reveals how she creates those moments — and how you can, too — in her book Instant Dream Home, A Paint-by-Numbers Interior Design Guide. Read our review here.)
Darcy is different than most established interior designers who won’t take on small projects with small budgets.
“The truth is,” she explains, “[designers are] accustomed to making their profit from the sale of goods that go into your home. If you don’t have a lot of remodeling or furnishing to do, then there’s no incentive for a designer to want to work for you.”
But Darcy’s philosophy is everyone should live in a home that looks and feels like the place they just can’t wait to come home to. That’s why she wrote her book, and why we think she is a true inspiration. Keep reading, and we’re sure you’ll agree.
1. What inspired you to become a designer? What has your journey been like?
The unlikely idea of becoming an interior designer was first brought to my attention during a high school art class. I had always been interested in all things creative, including, painting, drawing, sewing, photography and really just about anything else I could get my hands on. I loved to make things, create things and learn new ways to express my creativity. I was really convinced that pursuing a career in the arts was destined to lead to financial hardship, and so I chose biology as my major in college (despite my persistent art teacher’s biased recommendations against the contrary). It wasn’t but one hour into college orientation when I had a strong epiphany that I had to do something creative! I remember my art teacher inviting an interior design college student to our high school class and that suddenly sounded like the perfect career path! I dragged my mom around campus to change my major and with her blessing, I never looked back.
Darcy helped this client create a chic, modern coastal look for her beachfront condo.
2. How would you describe your design aesthetic?
My personal design aesthetic is one that has a clean, modern foundation layered with contrast, texture, pops of color and carefully selected objects of interest that merge style, sophistication and charm to create a warm, inviting and personalized space that not only looks good, but feels good, too.
A comfortable, modern home to return to is essential for a busy, active, professional and philanthropic bachelor like Kiptyn Locke, a former suitor on ABC’s “The Bachelorette.”
3. What was your favorite project(s)? Why?
My most recent favorite project has to be that of our new showroom in San Diego. I’ve spent so much time over the years designing for other people and helping them come to decisions that make the most use of their design dollars and really reflect their individual style. It’s a process I go through with each client. However, when it came to making decisions for myself, it’s almost as if I needed to hire a designer of my own! Luckily, I have an incredible staff who helped push me over my own edge and into a space we’re all very proud of. I’m so grateful we didn’t skimp and that we splurged in all the right places!
Second to that, I’ll never forget designing Pooch Hotels for Petco. (Six foot fire hydrants will probably never come across my desk again.) And Bruce Buffer of the UFC holds a special place in my heart as he instilled in me a permanent reminder that the most precious parts of our home are those items which remind us of a special time and place in our hearts. [Watch this special video Bruce and Darcy filmed for celebritybachelorpads.com.]
4. What’s your favorite trend right now?
My favorite trend right now has to be the use of antique brass as a finish on plumbing fixtures, lighting and furniture. I know it’s trendy and I typically like to keep my interiors timeless, but I can’t help it on this one!
Need some more inspiration? Follow Darcy on Facebook and Darcy K. on Instagram @simply.stunning.spaces.