Designer Ebony Stephenson, CLIPP, CAPS is known for making her homes not only beautiful, but also safe and accessible for her clients through life’s ups and downs of life. Along with being a Certified Living in Place Professional (CLIPP), as well as a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS), Stephenson was an NKBA 30 Under 30 member and currently serves as the president of the VA State Chapter of the National Kitchen and Bath Association. Connected Design spoke with young designer to find out more.
How did you get your start in interior design?
“I got my start in interior design as a child. I loved building doll houses and my very own Barbie Dream Homes from scratch, and I also loved rearranging and decorating my room all the time. My parents and art teacher both saw my love for architecture and design, so in elementary school they enrolled me in a special art school for gifted and talented children in Virginia Beach, Va. I continued to attend there through middle school, and then in high school I was enrolled in a vocational program at the local community college where I studied architecture and drafting. After high school I continued my studies in college at Virginia Tech.”
How would you describe your style?
“I would describe my style as ‘Biophilic Contemporary Chic.’ Yes, I made that style up, but it 100 percent describes my home. I love plants and I have more than 100 inside my home, not including the ones in my garden outside. I have plants in every single room of my home and I balance them with sleek black floors and lots of light. For my clients I like to bring in a little biophilia to enhance wellness and a connectivity to nature, while at the same time respecting their own styles and aesthetics.”
What is your biggest challenge in your business today?
“I would say that my biggest challenge in my business today is keeping up with the growing demand for professional designers like myself who hold certifications such as CLIPP and CAPS. More people are staying in their homes and remodeling rather than taking their chances with buying a new home in this high stakes real estate market. Because of this the number of leads that we receive even on a daily basis is like nothing that we have ever seen before.”
Talk about your work with Living in Place and why you chose to be certified.
“If you know me or follow me on social media, then you know that I have always been very vocal about my own medical issues and physical limitations due to having Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, which in my case comes with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. These medical issues have no cure and are often seen as “invisible illnesses.” That is why Living in Place is so important to me. Not only can I use my own personal medical experiences to aid and guide my clients as I help them to design for the future and to stay in their homes but having the formal education with my credentials makes clients know that they are in good hands.”
How do you see technology impacting interior design in the future?
“I can already see and get a taste of technology impacting interior design in the future, at least from the CAD side, which I use every day. Even before we get to the phase of working with an integrator for smart technology, I am able to use the ever-progressing technology with my design software Chief Architect to present to my clients without them even having to leave the comfort of their homes. This became even more important with COVID-19 and the need to social distance. I love being able to see my clients in person, but sometimes it is so much easier to show a walkthrough of my design virtually.”
What is a non-industry related fun fact about you?
“A non-industry related fun fact about me is that I am obsessed with eating shellfish. I would say that I find myself eating some type of shellfish at least five days out of the week. This is only a fun fact, because I am highly sensitive to shellfish! I’m not deadly allergic, but enough to break me out in hives and have my face swell. I just deal with it because I love shellfish so much.”