When you think of style blogger and OG influencer turned interior stylist, Kellie Brown, one word should immediately pop into your head, fabulosity. The celebrated influencer and founder of the boutique interior design lifestyle brand, Deeply Madly Modern defines herself as the connoisseur of cool, and rightfully so. With 154K Instagram followers for her personal page and a growing community of 80K followers on her interior design Instagram account, Brown has the reach to prove her influence and the design chops to cement her expertise and stylistic eye.
Her recent design venture, an ultra-chic, mid-century modern, dreamy, and design-forward bungalow minutes away from downtown Palm Springs, boasts just how much Brown is intentional about curating specific and inviting spaces for not just her loved ones but for the Airbnb community as well. Her interior design journey started when she relocated from New York City to Los Angeles in early 2019 and into a new home weeks before COVID-19. She took on the daunting task of furnishing a home during a pandemic, ultimately providing her purpose and perseverance in designing meaningful spaces. She told Domino Magazine in a 2018 interview, “It lets me focus my energy on something I love doing; it lets me get creative with my space; and it feels like self-care.”
Fast forward to 2021, Brown decided to expand her design footprint by closing on a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Palm Springs to have a safe space for her to retreat to with friends and family and to provide others a similar experience rooted in thoughtful and joyful interior design. And the home doesn’t disappoint. With sweeping backyard pools and modern interiors featuring bold and funky prints, artisan rugs, and art, it’s no wonder her home is consistently booked during the summer and beyond.
We caught up with Brown to learn of her interior design process, vision for the Palm Springs home, and some of her favorite decor and furniture within the Palm Springs bungalow.
ESSENCE: What inspired you to buy and design your Palm Springs home?
Kellie Brown: I am a New Yorker and moved to California in 2019. And I always loved Palm Springs. We went for like a friend’s 30th birthday, and I had been there once before for a press trip. And I just thought it was just such a dope city and always wanted to own something there. Flash forward to 2021, when I bought my house, I wanted to purchase a home, and I wasn’t sure where I wanted to live full-time. And so I thought it would be good for a place I wanted to be and potentially a good investment. So I started to look around, and the purchase happened quickly. At first, it was like me toying with the idea, and suddenly I was in escrow. The house is quintessential Palm Springs- like a cute little mid-century bungalow.
Let’s back up a bit and talk about your interior design journey. I am familiar with your Instagram presence and what you share there. But our readers might not be, so can you talk to us about how you got into design in the first place?
I’ve been on the internet for 1,000 years. I used to work in PR and marketing, and I was like the OG fat girl fashion blogger. However, I always was a big fan of interiors, and I loved furniture and making my house represent my style. However, interior design kicked up a lot when I moved to Los Angeles because I could decorate for the first time without a partner in mind. I started the journey of vintage and secondhand shopping in Los Angeles, learning more about different furniture types and styles. I’ve also had a point of view regarding interiors because I think, like most fashion girls, if you’re just like an aesthetic person, you look at things through the lens of expression.
When I decided that I liked Los Angeles, I decided to get a one-bedroom to make sure I liked it here; then, I moved into a house. COVID-19 happened right after I moved into my home, so I was forced to decorate online, as I couldn’t access flea markets and other stores. The experience made me scrappy and creative and taught me how to get what I wanted. Ultimately it strengthened my sourcing skills, especially locally.
So that was how the journey of Deeply, Madly, Modern began. So I would try many things with each space I design, decorate, or redecorate. I discovered it’s not like a tattoo; you can change things if you don’t like it. I started to share those processes, journeys, and projects online, which is how “Interiors Kellie” was born.
We love to see it. It’s cool to see you transition into this designer space. It’s also inspiring, given that you are a self-taught interior designer; that’s not discussed enough, especially with the pandemic and how everyone got crafty and creative in their homes. You are proving that self-taught interior design is possible.
I always say I am not an interior designer; you don’t have to be either to have a stylish space. My understanding of space has been very much like my approach to fashion. If you want to know your interior design style, look inside your closet because it typically mimics each other. If you’re into clean lines and minimal pieces, you probably want that reflected in your space; if you’re a little more adventurous, you may be into color. My style is very eclectic, with a lot of juxtaposition. So my interior style is very much that.
In the same way that you can understand the color and proportions of your outfit, it does translate to a room and weave in the way that my brain works. So I would say I’m still a fashion girly, and I love creating that kind of content but interiors opened up doors for me that allow me to express myself in a way that is not quite the same as fashion, especially being plus-sized and not having every option. But with a room, I have every option. So it’s cool.
I’m more of a postmodern person. I like a lot of elements of mid-century; it all needs to be mashed up. I wouldn’t want to style a room with only one note. That always makes for the best style because it looks more curated and collected and doesn’t look like a showroom. I like round edges and things like that, but it’s a mix.
So let’s dive into your Palm Springs home. It is an aesthetically pleasing space, and I know your design style pays homage to the Palms Springs environment. It’s flat; it seems white and minimal. Can you talk to me about the design inspiration for some notable decor selections in the home?
So the inspiration was just playing into the environment. As you said, the house is mid-century, it’s quintessential Palm Springs, it’s white, it’s a bungalow. And so the number one thing, because I knew that other people would be staying there, was to make it a gorgeous space. I’ve always believed that it needs to be nicer than my house if I have to pay to sleep somewhere. I was conscious of everything being comfortable because I booked many aesthetic places while traveling, but often the furniture and everything is just not plus-sized friendly. So the number one design principle for the home in Palm Springs is that everything is super comfortable. So, wanting pieces you can flop down on lay on, be comfortable, and be durable was pretty key for me. As for decor and furniture items, I sourced this glass tabletop for 100 dollars on Facebook, which was amazing. There were a lot of collected items that I’d been holding, and it just came together with wallpaper from Lulu and Georgia. I also leaned on local businesses in Palm Springs to help flesh out the interiors. So there’s a lot of fun, vintage elements mixed in with contemporary pieces. It was just playing around and making it visual. Everywhere you turn is a cute moment.
What are your favorite rooms in the home and why?
I love the living room area and living dining because it is open. And so when I’m there with friends and family, my sister loves to cook. So she’s in the kitchen, but it’s because of the island. It’s facing everyone. And you know, my nephews might be at the dining table, my friends are lying on the sofa, and we’re just relaxing. And it’s because of the wall of windows right there that we go to the backyard. It just feels chill.
If you want to call the backyard a room, it’s my favorite place because the pergola seats eight people, and it’s a vibe. It’s enjoyable to spend time out there. Then, of course, like, I love to swim, and being from East Coast, pools are rare, so having a huge pool and the hot tub is amazing.
What are some ways or tips for our readers who want to curate creative spaces in their homes, especially for the summer?
If you love it, buy it. Typically things you love will work in your space. Also, measure things. People will do wild things like buy giant pieces of furniture, and they don’t measure anything, and be upset that it doesn’t fit. Also, shop secondhand, and get out of your comfort zone. I always say inspiration doesn’t need to be replication. You can be inspired by something, but trying to copycat someone else’s space never really works as it’s so impersonal and looks like a catalog. The last piece of advice is don’t rush the process. Take time to collect things slowly to avoid buying everything from a big box website or store.