The name Parker Kennedy Living is well known in the design community with their incredible use of color and their “Preppy on the Edge” look . Lance Jackson and David Ecton started the design firm company just five years ago, but their incredible growth in that short span of time is like none other. Prepping to participate in two show houses this spring, they have been featured in Traditional Home, Southern Living, HGTV, Atlanta Magazine, Town & Country and are soon to celebrate a feature in their first overseas publication. Partners in business and in life, Lance and David believe the key to their success is hard work and truly getting to know their clients.
I met Lance and David a few years ago while shopping at Scott Antique Market in their booth and about a year after meeting for the first time a friendship blossomed. Since then I have had the pleasure of watching their business grow into the well known brand it is today. They are truly the hardest working people I have ever known and two of the nicest people on the planet. I had the honor of chatting with this talented duo recently about their business, the growth they have experienced and what they think every good design includes.
First of all, tell me about Parker Kennedy Living and each of you. What are your backgrounds, how did you meet and how did PKL start?
Lance – PKL is a high end interior design studio that also specializes in vintage and new product development. I graduated from SCAD Savannah with a BFA in Interior design and a minor in art history. I have been working in the interior design and product development industry ever since.
David – I have an MBA in international trade and worked in the world of Technology as the Director of Marketing for most of my career.
We met at Barnes & Noble here in Vinings and it was full speed ahead without looking back. We started PKL initially as vintage sellers at Atlanta Scott Antique Market during the years when the economy was down.
How has PKL grown in these five years?
Lance – After about a year after we started and formed PKL I had former clients contacting me to design new projects, renovation projects and much more. It blew up overnight as well as our popularity within social media and magazines. Within our first 2 years we had a full 3 page feature in Southern Living around our vintage restoration in our signature “Bamboo – Palm Beach Chic” style. Our love of color really made us stand out here in Atlanta where the norm is to have all neutral, subtle, tone on tone colored interiors. When we busted in on the Atlanta scene and the south in general people and the design industry took notice and we have developed an amazing loyal following that spans all over the US and we have an extremely large fan base in London and Australia. We have our first interiors feature coming out in ADORE Magazine an Australian interior design magazine – it hits newsstands in Australia this late spring 2016. I am super excited to be published in overseas publications.
David – The growth has been wild. I grew up in suburbia with a population of 45,000, we have more than 46,000 followers and growing. I told Lance with a smile on my face, it’s like an entire suburban town is following us. It is just a simple feel good thought.
Would you do anything differently?
Lance – I would not do one things different. We are growing still by leaps and bounds and it is so exciting to have our own firm that we love and enjoy.
David – We are where we are supposed to be, and we had to take this journey to learn how we want to grow.
Share two people who have influenced your career and why?
Lance – My older sister – she has always believed in my talent to see things in a creative 3 dimensional way. She has and still asks me what shoes, earrings, outfits to wear and even wants my approval when changing her hair styles. Of course I have designed all of her houses.
David Hicks – I have had this mad love affair with David Hicks since I was in High school. I love the fact that he was such an amazing male designer that not only was uber talented and successful in the 60’s and 70’s before the age of social media but he was one of the first men interior designers to really brand his name and designs. I love all of use of color, geometric and the sexy interiors he designed mixing historic antiques with fresh modern artwork. He was a pure talent and I only wished I had the opportunity to meet him before his passing.
David – Lance Jackson, he taught me the value of the curated look. To be inspired by my surroundings and not by the retail catalogs.
What inspires you to create?
Lance – Vintage furniture, color, texture, jewelry and fashion.
David – PROJECTS! When we get awarded new projects, I cannot get it out of my mind. I then think about how I can gain an Ah Ha!!! moment from our clients. I am inspired when their eyes being to dance when we nailed the possibility.
Name three things you think every good design needs.
Lance – The appropriate scale and proportions on furniture within an interior, texture and contrasting colors.
David – A little crusty of a piece of ugly, meaning that the items in the room need to have a story. You don’t want to have a show room look, where everything matches to a T. You want a curated look, and it comes from vintage or from a special find.
One item that should be left out of good design?
Lance – Too many opinions
David – AGREED
Favorite item on your desk.
Lance – My antique chinoiserie dancing dragon pattern tea saucer I use as a coaster.
David – A pencil sharpener, I love to work with a sharp pencil.
What is your favorite way to unwind?
Lance – Looking at design books both new & vintage.
David – Laying on my sofa with our dogs.
Five must haves.
Lance – A faux bamboo piece of furniture or accessory, brass, drapes, a fabulous style cocktail table, amazing artwork.
David – A BUDGET, Big or Small, You need to know how much you want to spend. Patience – Know that schedules are subject to change. And be able to express to the client that they will have this look for 8 plus years and the 1 more day is not the end of the world. A 30 Foot Tape Measure, a paint deck, and a good design Partner like Lance to bounce ideas off of.
Don’t you just want to invite them over for dinner? You can see their impressive portfolio of work on their website and you must follow them both on Instagram and Pinterest. Their work will be on display later this month at the Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Southeastern Designer Show House and Gardens in Atlanta and next month at Traditional Home’s Southern Style Now Showhouse.