We chatted with Courtney about his career, design philosophy and what to expect at Dwell.
Did you always know you wanted to be a designer?
I grew up in Detroit where little black boys became engineers or rappers, not designers. So I went to college and got a degree in communications and worked in high-tech marketing for many years before pursuing my career in design. It happened organically and was the best way to transition from the corporate world to being a design entrepreneur.
What’s your approach to interior design when working with a new client?
Clients are often intimidated by the decision process behind design. I tell them that there has never been a war started by choosing the wrong sofa. Don’t be afraid of mistakes — they are part of the process and often are great opportunities for us to incorporate something unexpected into the design.
With that said, I often start with a psycho-analytical approach to my designs. We go through use case scenarios for each of the spaces and I ask how they want to feel in the room. From there, I determine if the use case aligns with their definitions of feeling. If they don’t, then we work on how to align those — from that point, we move forward with the room’s design.
What interested you about this project?
The fact that this is a home that is a model for low-income, high density, infill projects is really interesting to me. Often we think of this type of housing as generic and pedestrian. However, the innovation behind the design really excited me to see how we could find green, beautiful and cost-friendly products for the interior.
What are you most excited for people at Dwell to see when they tour the home?
I am most excited by the bedrooms — they are unique and space saving concepts that I think people will love and want in their own homes. (Click here to learn more about the bedroom furniture from Resource Furniture and other home products.)
What are the challenges for an interior designer when working on a low-income housing project?
Money is tight; budget-saving DIYs may not be able to happen as they often require space and tools to complete. So we partnered with vendors who do great products at nice prices but are readily accessible to the public.
Make It Right believes that good design has the power to inspire and bring hope to communities in need. How does this translate to your work?
Your home is this single most important investment you will ever make. It’s where you make memories, recharge your spirit and find solace. To provide a space that helps people relax, smile and recharge is a blessing. I often tell folks, “I have the power as a designer to impact how a person views the world…can your lawyer really say that?”