At Ivy Lane, we pride ourselves on the design team approach that we bring to every project. It gives clients a chance to see design solutions that are developed through a truly collaborative creative process, one in which each of us brings a particular expertise. What clients may not know well is…who exactly is part of that design team beyond Courtney and me?
In past posts I have often referred to the “Ladies of the Lane,” which encompasses not just the two of us but also the other fine, talented women who work with us. Each one is a blessing in her own way but today’s post is to highlight the efforts of our very own “Guardian Angel,” Karen Kelly.
In our line of work, the biggest challenges are often the logistics — important things like vetting, proposing, ordering, and scheduling installations for all our clients. The client appointments and the creative design vision is really where Courtney and I like to spend most of our time and do our best work. It takes an organized personality type with the patience of a saint to handle the many other cogs in the wheel that keeps the design process moving. We are lucky enough to have just that person in Karen.
Karen and I were introduced and started working together more than a decade ago, through a mutual friend (thank you, Susan!) who knew I had started an interior design business and was looking for an assistant to help keep things organized. I did not realize at the time just how near and dear Karen would be to me, not just in a professional way but as a close and genuine friend.
There are few people that come into your life and make as great an impact as Karen has on mine and Courtney’s. This post alone would never be able to recognize all that she does for us and Ivy Lane Living. Karen is our Studio Director and we often joke that she is behind the scenes and in control of the mothership, like the Great and Powerful Oz! It can be a bit of a three-ring circus at times and she can crack the whip when needed. She has worked with us for so long she can practically finish our sentences.
I can speak to her many professional skills but that would only scratch the surface. She is a great many things. She is a loving mother and wife. A loyal and constant friend and a deeply faith filled person. She keeps a steady calm disposition almost always! 😉 She is ready with a warm smile and has a sincere and sensitive side that resonates with everyone she meets. She has a great sense of humor and is willing to laugh out loud! She is full of lively color.
Karen is one of the large, beautiful branches of our Ivy Lane family tree!
How do you spend your time? Working at Ivy Lane Living, shopping, cooking, hanging out with friends and family
How long have you lived in Alexandria: 27 years
What is your hometown? Corinth, Mississippi
What brought you to Alexandria? My husband came to work in D.C.
What would surprise people about you? I have a sassy side
You’re a superhero: what’s your superpower? My real superpower? Probably hospitality. My wish superpower? The ability to teleport myself and others instantly.
Favorite cocktail: Moscow Mule
Last book read or movie seen: The movie “The Case for Christ”
Guilty pleasure: Definitely ice cream
Facebook or Instagram? I participate in both but love Instagram
Latest binge-watch: “The Guardian”
Bucket list travel destination: Costa Rica
If you only could have one for the rest of your life: wine or coffee? Coffee for sure, can’t function without it.
Define your style in three words or less: Classic with a twist.
The go-to piece in your wardrobe: A long linen blend cardigan sweater, I have it in multiple colors.
Beauty product you can’t live without: Kevin Murphy Young leave in treatment oil for hair, it helps tame frizz.
Heels or flats? Heels, I’m on the short side.
Favorite room in your home: My kitchen is my happy place.
Antiques, modern, or a mix? Definitely a mix.
Last item bought for your home: A Julian Chichester Desk in brown vellum for my husband’s office.
Next planned purchase: New furnishings for my living room from Ivy Lane Living.
Favorite way to entertain: Small groups of close friends seated around my dining table with fresh flowers and good food. My specialty is dessert so that is usually where I put a
little extra effort.
Wallpaper — yes, totally modern or no, so dated: Yes!
Your go-to work-out: Walking up and down the stairs of Ivy Lane Living!
Group exercise or solo: Solo, my preference, my pace, and my time.
Favorite spot in Alexandria: First Baptist Church on King…in that building is family.
Last purchase in Alexandria: Make up from Bellacara
Best coffee / happy hour / date night spot: Best Coffee: Misha’s / Happy Hour: Hank’s Oyster Bar / Date night: Vasso’s on King
Favorite annual Alexandria event: Small Business Saturday. Old Town Boutiques + shopping = two of my favorite things!
Alex Deringer and Courtney Cox combine their formal training in design and fashion with their renowned sense of style in Ivy Lane, a full-service interior design firm that curates casually elegant family dwellings that are elevated by a unique spark. Whether an entire house renovation or a one-room makeover, Alex and Courtney’s extensive experience and collaborative dynamic inform a successful design philosophy: thoroughly understand the client’s lifestyle, bring a thoughtful spatial perspective, and enliven the space with the freshest aesthetic interest.
309C Cameron Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314