MH+D Inside Out: Annie Kiladjian on the Tradespeople Who Make Her Vision a Reality

Sixteen years ago, Annie Kiladjian of Annie K Designs gave up a successful career in fashion and moved to Portland, not realizing that an upcoming design boom would draw her into another career as an interior designer. As she delved further into design, Kiladjian learned that behind every good designer is a team of high-performing tradespeople who turn dreams into reality. Read on for her full interview with Maine Home+Design.

Q. What do you like about design?

A. My favorite aspect of design is seeing the before and after images. I like that when I see a space, I can close my eyes, and it becomes something completely different in my head. As a designer I have to translate that, not only through the products I choose, but I have to translate that to the client as a concept they can understand.

Q. When you first started out as a designer, was it difficult to transmit your vision?

A. Thankfully a lot of people believed in me at the beginning of my career. I’ve been very fortunate that I have been busy from the minute I started my company. Now it’s almost ten years later, and I’m still doing it.

Q. How do you translate your ideas into reality?

A. To implement the design that’s in my head, I have to depend on the trades. I can put a pretty idea together, but it has to translate somehow into products to become real, and that’s only possible because of all the amazing trades that we’ve got in this town. I can’t do it alone. I just can’t. If my tradespeople don’t perform and create beautiful products, I’m done. They’re the people who make my vision a reality.

Q. What are the limitations of your ability to design a space?

A. When I come into a space, I know that I can’t make it more than it is, especially if you’re hiring me for one room, like a kitchen. If I’m doing just one space, I can’t make it a complete disconnect from the rest of the house.

Q. What inspires you about living in Portland?

A. We started having this incredible style about our town, and I don’t know when it happened or how it happened. It’s also just the city itself. It’s the restaurants and the people. It’s become a completely different place to live than it was 16 years ago when I moved here.

Q. How does good design affect your life?

A. It makes me happy.