Meet The ASPIRE HOUSE McLean 2020 Designers: An Exclusive Interview With Kiyonda Powell

Inspired by the Recreation Room’s architectural details and finishes, Kiyonda Powell of Kiyonda Powell Design Studio embraced what was already in the ASPIRE HOUSE McLean room and enhanced it by designing a remote cabin setting. This “Cabin Cool” space makes getting together a lot more fun. Kiyonda shares her inspiration and what the future holds for her firm in an exclusive interview with Sherry Moeller.


Rendering of Kiyonda Powell’s Recreation Room in ASPIRE HOUSE McLean 2020. Rendering by Richman Studio/ Kiyonda Powell Design Studio.

Sherry Moeller: Describe your room at the show house. How did you come up with the concept and what’s the backstory?
Kiyonda Powell: I am designing the Recreation Room on the terrace level at the ASPIRE HOUSE McLean Show House. With a focus on entertaining, I let the space guide my design direction. There are architectural details and finishes that are prominent in the home so I chose to embrace and enhance the room’s envelope. The walls are wrapped in shiplap, which inspired me to come up with a design that celebrates entertaining in a remote cabin setting. I wanted to create warmth with wood textures and layer the space with familiar, yet reimagined patterns and motifs. I have coined my design concept Cabin Cool – the place where people can gather and enjoy each other’s company with games and lively conversation. The cool place to be!

SM: What’s a favorite element you plan to incorporate into your space at the ASPIRE HOUSE McLean?
KP: It’s hard to select a favorite, but I am most excited about manipulating the wall finish, as well as the custom modular sofa that was inspired by the game Tetris. I want the space to have a relaxed and casual mood, sprinkled with playful elements befitting a recreation room.


Kiyonda Powell Design Studio designed this office space. Photo by SEN Creative Photography.

SM: What projects have you done in the past that most resemble or relate in some way to what you plan to design at the ASPIRE HOUSE McLean? Or is this a completely different concept?
KP: Most of my design work has been in hospitality and commercial settings. This will be my first opportunity to design a residential recreation room, but I would take a similar approach to designing public spaces in a hotel or even one of my office space lounges. For this recreation room, it was important to create zones for conversation and activities, along with flexible seating arrangements for entertaining and comfort.

SM: Have you participated in other show houses and why?
KP: This is my first designer show house and what excites me is having the opportunity to showcase my residential work and capabilities. I am looking forward to testing and pushing my limits to create an experience for the visitors.


A closer look at this office space designed by Kiyonda Powell Design Studio. Photo by SEN Creative Photography.

SM: What’s next for you design wise—are there some projects you’re particularly excited about? Are there any projects you’d love to tackle, sort of a design bucket list?
KP: My residential design business is new and I look forward to seeing my company grow. I am working to expand my service offerings, as well as beginning product development in the coming years. I am also excited to work with the Black Artist and Designers Guild on a very special virtual concept home that will launch Fall 2020.

Proceeds for ASPIRE HOUSE: McLean will benefit the ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME Diversity in Design Scholarship Fund. Click here to learn more, and purchase tickets for the event; opening August 21 through September 7, 2020.


About the Designer | Kiyonda Powell, Creative in Chief of Kiyonda Powell Design Studio, is a creative composer whose mission is to provide each client and project with an exclusively curated experience. With a boutique decor studio based in Washington, DC, Kiyonda also works with clients across the country. She takes a collaborative approach with clients by encouraging conversations within the creative process. Kiyonda loves to visually stimulate the client and users with the design experience; pushing the limits of risk and reward while instinctively understanding what her clients want through keen observation and thoughtful management of their expectations.

With a background in the hospitality industry as well as residential and boutique commercial design, Kiyonda has made an indelible contribution to the design industry for the last 17 years. Throughout her career, she has held multiple leadership roles in design and public service. Kiyonda is a mainstay advisor, volunteering on multiple committees for charitable and community organizations throughout the DMV (DC, MD and VA) by offering her service, skill and expertise. Kiyonda attended Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia and received a Master of Arts in Interior Design. Kiyonda has been featured in numerous publications showcasing her work and expertise in the industry.


Sherry Moeller is a contributing editor for ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME magazine.

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