“I like all things beautiful!” That’s how Ross DePriest, owner of RD Interiors, describes the driving force behind his business and his life.
DePriest, a native of Mississippi, relocated to Kansas City by way of Michigan five years ago. Since his arrival, he has developed an impressive portfolio of clients, both private and commercial, started a signature line of accessories and opened a storefront for his business. And all of this has happened while he’s been continuing his education in interior design at Park University.
DePriest first demonstrated a passion and determination for his chosen career during childhood.
“When I was a kid, I was always moving the furniture around at my mom’s house,” he said. “I enjoyed helping my mom with drapes and furnishing.”
His family and friends praised his early aesthetic sense. He began college anticipating a degree in business, but with much encouragement and feedback, he soon realized that his calling required a focus on design.
“The difference between a decorator and a designer is education,” he said. That education allows him the flexibility to take on projects of different scales.
DePriest has recently designed the footprints for a new multi-state apartment complex. Working with substantial commercial clients is an important piece of his business, but he also has an obvious love for the individuality of older homes. Discussing a favorite project, a 1927 Tudor redesign, he speaks highly of the construction quality of that era.
“One thing about an older home,” he said, “nine times out of 10, the bones are good.”
Those bones give DePriest the template to create a living space for his clients that will last well into the future.
A typical current job for a client’s home is a reworking of the master bath and kitchen, including fixtures and cabinetry – a roughly 60-day project. Simple redesigns are often accomplished in two weeks or less.
The RD Interiors Studio itself, at 1807 W. 45th St. in Kansas City, Mo., is in a 100-year-old building situated in a neighborhood known for antique shopping. It’s a showroom and a working studio where clients can select fabrics, accessories and furniture. The one-year-old store carries a variety of unique items, with a notable English influence, including the authentic bobby helmet, for a British police officer, on display.
The store features a signature line of RDI handmade candles. They are made in Kansas City, and the scents have been developed by DePriest. He is also working on several new products to be released soon, including designer pillows and furniture.
DePriest lives in the Crossroads District. With the many art galleries around his home, he says, “I’m surrounded by inspiration!” His hobbies include cycling (a vintage road bike hangs in his office), shopping, and enjoying the First Friday art openings.
DePriest is enthusiastic about the Mid-America Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce as a business resource, saying, “It functions as the new Yellow Pages.”
He has found the Business to Business connections to be quite valuable, noting that the personal interaction has become more valuable than social media platforms.
As he looks ahead to his work and his future, DePriest says, “Design is everything about me.”
Photo credit: Landon Vonderschmidt
The Mid-America Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (MAGLCC) is an organization that advocates, promotes and facilitates the success of the LGBT business community and its allies. Learn more at MAGLCC.org.