By: Mark Thomas
Photography: Landon Vonderschmidt Photography
"I like all things beautiful!", Ross DePriest, owner of RD Interiors, describes the driving force behind his business and his life.
Mr. DePriest, a native of Mississippi, relocated to Kansas City by way of Michigan five years ago. Within that span of time he has developed an impressive portfolio of clients, both private and commercial, began a signature line of accessories and opened a storefront for his business. All this while continuing his education as an Interior Design student at Park University.
Ross demonstrated a passion and determination for his chosen career in childhood. "When I was a kid I was always moving the furniture around at my mom's house," he states. "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 soon realized, with much encouragement and feedback, that his calling required a focus on design. "The difference between a decorator, and a designer is education," he notes. That education allows him the flexibility to take on projects of different scales.
Ross 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 his love for the individuality of older homes is obvious. Discussing a favorite project, a 1927 Tudor re-design, he speaks of the construction quality of that era, "One thing about an older home, 9 times out of 10 the bones are good." Those 'bones' give Mr. 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 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 is located at 1807 W. 45th in Kansas City, MO. This 100 year old building, in a neighborhood known for antique shopping, is 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 as indicated by the authentic "Bobby" police helmet on display.
A signature line of RDI handmade candles is featured in the store. Made local in Kansas City, the scents have been developed personally by Mr. DePriest. He is also working on several new products to be released in the near future, including designer pillows and furniture.
A resident of the Crossroads District, Ross says of the many art galleries around his home, "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 and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce as a business resource, "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.
Ross states it accurately when commenting on his work and future, "Design is everything about me."