Following an early career in child-welfare nonprofits, Kiyonda Powell switched gears to pursue her lifelong passion: design. She earned an interior design degree at Marymount, then joined a boutique studio focusing on hotel and restaurant projects.
In 2018, she launched her firm. “It felt right once I jumped into it. I was ready to have my own independent voice,” reflects Powell, who now splits her time between commercial and residential work.
Many clients ask the designer to instill their homes with the same sense of whimsy apparent in her hospitality work. “One of my specialties is pattern play and color combinations,” she says. “I like coming up with interesting palettes. I’m really eclectic in how I mix things.” Recent projects include a DC residence, an Atlanta apartment and a home she’s wrapping up in California.
Not a day goes by that Powell doesn’t put her original degree in psychology to use. “My clients say I’m good at listening,” she observes. “I make sure they feel good every step of the way.”
Interior Design: Kiyonda Powell, Kiyonda Powell Design Studio, Washington, DC. Styling: Charlotte Safavi. Portrait: Michael Ventura.