Today we’d like to introduce you to LaDarius Calhoun.
Hi LaDarius, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
If my mom were telling you this story, she’d say I started as young as 9 or 10 years old. Whenever we’d move or acquire new furniture, I would rearrange the house. It was my evident passion and vision I have for interior design and decor. Most nights I would fall asleep watching HGTV, envisioning the day I get to be a designer, and on weekends I would draw up plans to rearrange and add new pieces (often times thrift items from a family member’s home or someplace else throughout our house) to the bedroom I shared with my younger brother. But the COVID-19 pandemic really changed my perspective on things. I was teaching fourth graders from a 13-inch screen, quarantining with my boyfriend, and suddenly felt like his place needed some change if I was going to be spending an indefinite amount of time there. I started planning the redesign of his bedroom and living room, asking him important questions so I wasn’t just throwing all of my taste and ideas into his space. Because he trusted my self-taught expertise, thoughtfulness, and design sense, he gave me full responsibility for designing his pandemic-birthed barbershop. I loved the process of design so much, that I found myself willfully wanting to work for Los Angeles design firms for free. I knew I needed to be fully immersed in the world of interior design to understand it as a profession. I ended up interning at an L.A. design firm soon after leaving the classroom in August of 2021. At the design firm, I served as a design assistant, designer, junior, and eventually senior designer. My time there in the many roles, doing and handling aspects of the business, proved to me that I could handle the rigor of having my own design firm. Within two months of branching out and betting on myself, I worked on three exclusive LaDarius Calhoun Design Company projects.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It has not been a smooth road at all. But I figured it would be pretty tough and although friends and family congratulated me on stepping out, taking a huge leap, their kind words and belief in me scared me more than when I left the classroom, and even more than when I left the firm. Their words were confirmation that I actually had to make this work on my own, for my life, and for my future. The hardest part has been knowing when to momentarily stop the work. Since I’m able to work on the go, I forget to give myself downtime to regroup, and refocus. I always feel the need to give 120%, 7 days a week because I’m a new small business in such a detailed industry. I’m sure other designers could attest to some of the struggles of starting and maintaining a firm. Another tough part has been the number of inquiries I receive versus the amount of those that become LCDC clients. I’ve found two parallel factors in that: some people don’t value what we do as designers, and some don’t understand that it is true artistry from concept to execution. Interior design requires immense time and innovation for it to be unique because designers have a niche, a style. Certain things we do are a staple in our designs. Here is what I have come to terms with through the struggles of building this thing (my design firm): life always presents hiccups. In every field, there are the things you attempt to avoid. Yet they happen anyway. One thing is for sure though, the best things about the field of interior design are worth getting through any of the bad things.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
LaDarius Calhoun Design Company is a full-service design firm that specializes in residential and commercial interior design and space planning. Our services include full-service design where we handle the design of a space from concept to magazine-worthy finishing touches; virtual design via one-on-one video consultations with professional guidance and advice; home-styling for private residences and unsellable homes to get them sold fast; and sourcing and designing hard finishes for those who are renovating, planning a new build, or flipping a house. All of our services can be found on the website at ladariuscalhoun.com. I take pride in being a very inquisitive designer. Using a highly personal approach to design, we create comfortable, high-functioning spaces that are inviting and shaped by the distinct lives of our clients. Many of my designs exude quiet confidence achieved by contrasting qualities: vintage and fresh touches, modernism, surprise, but intentionality. LCDC incorporates one’s values, travels, cultures, and communities in the design process, finding the story of each client in hope that it becomes the voice of the project.
Have you learned any interesting or important lessons due to the Covid-19 Crisis?
As cliche as it may sound, one thing that the Covid-19 Crisis has taught me is not to sell myself short. You literally become so much happier when you get to do the things you love, day in and day out. Life doesn’t feel like a “job” anymore. The pandemic allowed me space and time to get away from crowds and routine in order to see life clearly. I started to realize that life really is as short as people say it is. I didn’t want to waste another moment or year thinking about the things I wanted to accomplish, instead, I just started doing and accomplishing them, one after the other. That is also a big lesson I’ve learned over the last two years: one day at a time, step by step. I’ve learned to stay in the present and seize the moment, learn from yesterday, and move on to tomorrow. Literally day by day. I use the same philosophy to tackle design. Step by step, space by space, project by project. Perhaps the most inspiring thing I’ve come to realize is that DESIGN IS HEALING. I say it every day, it’s in my bio. Through the Covid-19 Crisis, I saw the power of design firsthand. It transforms lives, and moods, and creates calmness. When we immerse ourselves into spaces and places that speak to us, our vibes-our energy, we feel at peace. That is what interior design has done for me, and I am so glad I get to gift peacefulness through such a meticulous form of art.
- Free Discovery Calls for your next project
The kitchen photo, fireplace photo, and exterior home photo were taken by Sam Wadieh.