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Meet Kay Genua of Kay Genua Designs in Fort Worth

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kay Genua.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I started working at The Market Antiques and Home furnishings in the fall of 1990. After the first month, I was in the top 5 sales people in the company–there were 5 locations at that point. I always went on my deliveries when I sold furniture and antiques. My clients started to ask me to help them with other areas of their house. At this point I started my design career–what I did not know I asked questions from other designers in the company. I had always had a God given talent to see space, colors, and to place accessories. I have a photographic memory and rooms speak to me when I walk in them as to what needs to be changed or how the room should be laid out. After 12 years with The Market I branched out on my own to form Kay Genua Designs. I rented space in my friend Adrian Wright’s new store Wright At Home. All of my clients except for one followed me. Adrian and I started out sharing an office, phone, and fax machine. I started Kay Genua Designs with $400 in the bank. In 2012, I hit my first million mark in sales volume. I officed with Adrian until June 2017 when I rented my own space on Camp Bowie Blvd. After 26 years–I finally had my own design studio. A very proud moment! I adore my new studio and I am excited about the future.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
In 2008 I hired my first full time assistant out of TCU. The bottom fell out of the economy and I had to borrow the money to cover her salary. I had faith that the economy would turn around. In the fall of 2008 we started a job in Beaver Creek. I have not looked back since.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I do mostly traditional residential interiors but do find myself in the world of commercial and contemporary from time to time. I tend to attract clients that love color.

A lot of the showrooms in the Design District in Dallas associate me with high end colorful fabrics. I have been told that I am a master at mixing patterns and colors. I am a bit of a fabric snob–I will use a less expensive solid in a room so I can use the more expensive print. I try to keep the most expensive fabrics on benches and pillows. I have an undergraduate degree in business from Tulane—which has been very useful in running my business and keeping to budget. When I am given a budget, I pride myself in coming in under budget. Husbands love me for that! My jobs all look different… I always strive to make the home reflect my clients and their loves and lifestyles. It is important to me to have every room in the house be functional and comfortable. I try to never repeat fabrics so that every one of my jobs are unique to that client.

What were you like growing up?
I was very tall and shy growing up. I have always loved beautiful things and my Barbie house as a little girl—which was a custom four room house and was complete with art, accessories, and rugs. I spent my graduation from college money on an antique table and six chairs that served as my dining room table in New York City. I had many dinner parties on that table in New York City and then when I moved back to Dallas. The table lived as my dining room table and chairs from 1982-1995 and then became a game table.

It now is my assistant Michelle’s desk. It goes to show you that a good antique will always be a wonderful purchase. I have always loved fashion as well as home furnishings and have been reading Veranda, Architectural Digest, Traditional Home, and House Beautiful for as long as I can remember. I was so sad when Southern Accents went away.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Photographer: Todd Ramsey (images wearing blue ballgown)
Photographer: Robert Caldwell (images wearing jeans)

Getting in touch: VoyageDallas is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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