Rainey Richardson is the principal of Rainey Richardson Interiors, Inc., located in Houston, TX. Richardson began her career as an interior designer in 2001 and in 2010 opened a 5,000-square-foot design studio.

CSTD magazine had the opportunity to talk to Rainey about how she got started in the business, projects she has worked on and trends she is seeing in the industry and kitchen and bath segment.

Talk a bit about your company.

RR: Our company is a full-service design firm. We do everything from ground-up builds to remodeling and top layer design. We do both commercial and residential design. Our staff of three full-time, talented designers and our design assistant have created many fabulous spaces for clients in many states and in every design style imaginable.

How did you first develop an interest in design?

RR: From a young age, I have had a keen understanding of textures, colors and forms. It just seemed like a natural career path for me.

What were some of your first design experiences as a professional or as a student?

RR: My first experiences were designing draperies and then grew from there.

How often does your company use stone in its designs?

RR: We use stone very often. It’s used in flooring, countertops, fireplace surrounds and exteriors.

How would you describe your company’s design philosophy?

RR: Our design philosophy is function first, then form. If a space looks great, but does not meet the needs of the client, then the whole project will be a failure.

What’s a project that you have done with stone and/or tile that you’re proud of?

RR: I recently did a ground-up build in a style that I refer to as “Texas Chic”. The client wanted to combine a classic rustic design with a contemporary edge. When I went to select the exterior stacked stone, I could not find a mix that captured the feel that I had in mind, so I mixed my own. It really turned out fantastic!

How do you go about choosing stone for a project? How about for tile?

RR: When choosing stone or tile for a project, I consider location, durability, style, size and color in that order.

What advice would you offer to a young designer?

RR: Design is not a hobby. It is an awesome responsibility to create spaces that meet the lifestyle and aesthetic of the clients that hire you. If you count it a privilege to create a space in someone’s home, chances are you are in the right field.

What are some trends you are seeing out there right now with stone and tile?

RR: We are seeing less glass and more glossy ceramic tile. Being creative with grout is a fun trend right now as well.

Talk about some of the trends you are seeing in the Kitchen and Bath markets.

RR: Kitchens and baths are trending towards a very clean and neutral palette. Earth tones are out and cooler tones are what everyone wants. In kitchens, taking the countertop material up the backsplash is hot!

Are there any common design problems you run into with your kitchen and bath projects that would be helpful for other designers to know? If so, how do you solve them?

RR: Every kitchen and bath project has a potential for wasted space. Careful space planning and creative cabinet inserts and layouts are critical.

Anything else you would like to mention?

RR: Lighting is an essential part of every design. It doesn’t matter how beautifully designed a space is – if it’s poorly lit it doesn’t matter. Under-counter lighting, decorative ceiling lighting and lamps should all be considered in an initial design plan.