Kahi Lee, a California native, is an accomplished designer. She uses modern stylistic achievements, with her own unique colors and patterns. She believes in innovative creativity and bold designs. She enthusiastically speaks about how she has grown up around the beauty of design her whole life (her mother is a famous interior designer in Asia) and after college her work landed on television; an ultimate dream come true. She recently signed with HGTV’s Design on a Dime. She has showed off her style and transformations on the Style Network, with My Celebrity Home, Freestyle on HGTV, Ultimate Gamer on Spike TV and Renovate My Family on Fox. With all the shows she has worked on, Kahi manages to represent her intricate artistry while helping people use what they have and letting their style and budgets work for their tastes. In the future she hopes to continue with television and even start her own home furnishings or decoration line. Asiance chatted with Kahi about her career from designer to television personality to entrepreneur.
ASIANCE: Tell me about your recent history and path towards designing.
Kahi: I went to UCLA where I majored in Art History and English Literature. At that point I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life. I graduated and went to work in the Christie’s Auction House Contemporary Art department. I wanted to be more creative so I went back to school and studied Interior Design and Journalism. I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do but Interior Design ended up being the winner.
Paint can really transform a room and it is cheap! Choose a color that is one shade deeper, darker or more saturated than what you think is “safe”. Your youth is a time to be experimental.
ASIANCE: Did you do a lot of art and design when you were young?
Kahi: My mom’s a designer so it’s always been a part of my life as long as I can remember. I didn’t know that I really wanted to do it myself probably until I was 23, I’d say. Pretty soon, after I decided to become a designer, I landed my first interior design television show. So from about 2004 until now I worked in television. I feel very lucky.
ASIANCE: What are some ideas someone can use to spruce up their apartment or house and make it their own style?
Kahi: The biggest bang for your buck is definitely paint. You know, for 30 dollars one gallon of paint can really transform the look of the room. And if you have a color you don’t like, you can get another gallon of paint. It really changes the look.
ASIANCE: What are your favorite colors to work with?
Kahi: I just love to work with colors period. I’m not a fan of everything in the room being earth tones. That’s definitely not my style. I love all colors. Personally my favorite color now is a kind of limey, yellow green. Really vivid fun colors I’m incorporating a lot. Vivid rich blues…
ASIANCE: What do you see for the future and your career?
Kahi: I want to create my own home decor line and continue working in television.
ASIANCE: What is a good piece of advice for young people and their designs in their home?
Kahi: If you think it looks good, that’s it. Don’t be afraid. It’s not brain surgery. You should do what you want and use what colors move you.
ASIANCE: What do you suggest for young people decorating their homes?
Kahi: I really encourage young people to be bold. You are young and “allowed” to be a little wilder and more unconventional with your style. Paint can really transform a room and it is cheap! Choose a color that is one shade deeper, darker or more saturated than what you think is “safe”. Your youth is a time to be experimental. And hey, it’s just paint so if you don’t like it…paint over it!
ASIANCE: What do you see for your future with your line?
Kahi: Everything! I’d like to design and manufacture drapery, bedding, furniture, tableware, rugs, wallpaper…etc. My head is bubbling over with ideas for everything from forks and spoons to patio furniture.
ASIANCE: What is the best description of your overall style and usage of
colors within design?
Kahi: I can tell you what does NOT describe my style. “Subtle” and “Minimalist” are definitely NOT words that describe me or my style. But it is difficult to capture my style in just one word or phrase. I truly appreciate all style movements in design and enjoy the blending or juxtaposition of different styles. I prefer dramatic, glamorous, unexpected and whimsical designs. I love patterns and colors.
For more information on her creativity and to see what else Kahi is up to, check out her website www.KahiLee.com