6 Things with Kristine Renee of Design Alchemy

Kristine's journey into the design world began in the midst of construction, raised by a general contractor father and a mother immersed in design. After studying Women and Gender Studies, she embarked on a Fulbright Grant in Malaysia, where her passion for furniture sourcing ignited. Returning home, she launched a retail store featuring her designs, eventually teaming up with her mother to form Design Alchemy. Today, with two studio locations and a roster of cherished clients nationwide, Kristine continues to weave her creative magic into spaces across the US.

1. What started it all for you?

I essentially grew up in the industry so to speak — my dad was a general contractor constantly flipping homes (yes, there were tarps acting as temporary walls in our home, and a Christmas where we all slept in the living room). My mom started in the design industry at Sega/Sony in the 1990s, developing their creative offices worldwide.

I ventured off to a small liberal arts college where I studied Women and Gender Studies, and after graduation, moved abroad to Malaysia for a Fulbright Grant. While abroad, I began traveling to furniture markets throughout Southeast Asia sourcing product. I partnered with a manufacturer in Northern India and began designing furniture for a handful of big box retailers. I traveled home in my mid-twenties and launched a brick and mortar retail store featuring products I had created.

A few years in, my mom and I decided to join forces and voila our firm, Design Alchemy was launched. Fast forward to today, we have two studio locations and partner with the loveliest clients across the US.

2. What drives your creative spark?

I draw a lot of creative energy and inspiration from travel — a mix of researching the latest restaurants and boutique properties, but at the same time carving out time to simply stumble upon hidden treasures.

But more important than travel, is the need for quiet time to rest and recharge. This is what keeps me going. From my annual holiday break, sitting by the fire at home having a lazy morning, to mid day walks to let my brain reset. These are the times when new ideas surface, when I truly feel a sense of creative recharge.

My mom and I also take a trip at the start of each year to strategize our goals. This time is indispensable to the success of our firm and keeps us dreaming. We’re always trying to shake up the breadth of projects that we take on. By working on a handful of different styles of homes — we just signed a historic home built in 1905 that we will be restoring, and at the same time, we have two ultra modern contemporary new builds— we stay fueled. It’s all about the mix for us and constant design challenge of creating for our clients.

3. Most treasured home decor item?

There are too many to name. But for starters, one of the first original pieces of art I purchased by Alan Post, from a local gallery, is one of my absolute favorites. When I purchased my home in 2020, she was the first piece of art that we hung on the wall — right by the entry, so I pass by it daily!  

4. What’s the best advice you've ever received?

It may sound cheesy, but my mom really does encourage me to stay true to my voice and to push boundaries with my designs. She rarely says no to a crazy idea that I have. And she’s always up for the adventure.

I really don’t reflect on a ton of business advice. But I do always resonate with the idea to continue to create, even when I’m not feeling creative. It definitely takes practice, especially when 90% of what I do is not entirely creative. It can be difficult to switch rolls and problem solve on a job site, or feel energized to conceptualize a new project. I’ve found it’s important to cut yourself some slack, to not always have to be the ultimate perfectionist and to learn from the journey.

5. It's 5 o'clock at home. What would you be pouring?

The bar is always stocked at our home! And I’m either going for a Beefeater martini with a twist, or a glass of wine. Whatever is most accessible really!

If my partner is mixing up drinks, I typically ask for this one: (still have yet to name this gem of a cocktail!)
2 oz Sweet Vermouth
1 oz Pastis
1 oz Fernet
Lemon Twist
Stir over ice and serve up

6. What are your 6 favorite accounts that you follow for inspiration?

As designers, it’s difficult (and a lot of pressure) to always feel the need to post content. And sometimes content can take years to produce! While we have many talented designer friends that we follow on social, we tend to look toward some of our favorite publications and textile/wall covering vendors for inspiration, as they have endless inspiring images of designs “in the wild:”


"I draw a lot of creative energy and inspiration from travel — a mix of researching the latest restaurants and boutique properties, but at the same time carving out time to simply stumble upon hidden treasures." -Kristine Renee