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Life and Religion

Design star shines bright
Will Smith shares how a home makeover changed his life
Published Thursday, February 21, 2013 8:42 am
by Michaela L. Duckett

 In any space – whether it’s inside or outside a home, a movie set, a sneaker boutique, or dry cleaners – interior designer Will Smith sees it in a way that most people don’t.

Will Smith, owns Interior Movtives, a full-service interior design firm with a showroom located on South Boulevard.

“I have the ability to look at a space and see it for what it could be and not just for what it is,” said Smith.

Smith’s passion for design and eye for detail earned him a spot on the second season of HGTV’s “Design Star.”

Smith describes the experience as a “whirlwind” and said it taught him a valuable lesson.

“It is really true when people say that you want to stay ready so you don’t have to get ready,” he said. “Because when that moment in your life happens, it happens so quickly that you don’t have time to get ready. You need every aspect of yourself together when it comes to doing something big.”

Since appearing on the show, Smith, owner of Charlotte design firm Interior Motives, has continued to carve out a niche specializing in modern furniture and creative designs that add a “wow factor” to any space.

He believes interior design is more than merely arranging objects around in a room. To him, it is a lifestyle.

“It has very big impact on your life,” he said. “It affects everything about you. It has an impact on your mood. It has an impact on your self-esteem. It has an impact on what you value and what you feel about your surroundings. It kind of sets the tone for your life.”
Smith did not discover his knack for interior design until late in his 20s.

“Before that, I never really thought about it at all,” he said.

Growing up in Kenansville, N.C., about 55 miles north of Wilmington, Smith said he had no idea that the career field of interior design even existed. He wanted to be a lawyer.

He changed his mind shortly after earning a degree in criminal justice from UNC-Charlotte.

 “I did an internship at an attorney’s office downtown during my last year in school… I didn’t like it at all,” he said. “I literally hated it. The internship opened my eyes to a world that I didn’t want to be a part of. I realized that I would have to have a different career path.”

Smith found himself at a crossroads and was unsure which path to take. Then, he said, interior design “found” him.

Shortly after graduation, Smith ended a relationship with a live-in girlfriend. He said decorating his new “bachelor pad” after she left became his first design project.

“It was a big step for me to change that environment in which I was in to make me feel different,” he said. “When you go through things in life that kind of change you, you want to make a change.”

Smith said the simple act of redecorating had a profound impact that was far beyond what he could have imagined.

“It strongly affected me,” he said. “Surrounding yourself with things you like in your environment is probably the most important thing that people can do. People have no idea the impact that it can have on their lives.”

Smith said too often people go for what they think are safe choices. They’ll select a brown sofa because it goes with anything or shy away from light fabric for fear that it will get dirty. He advises making selections that reflect your true style.

“Choose to surround yourself with what makes you happy,” he said. “The key is to find your style. One way to do that is to look inside your closet. You’re wardrobe is a good indication of your style.”

Smith said if your wardrobe is full of color, your home should  be also. If your wardrobe is edgy or seductive, that should be reflected in the ambiance of your home as well.

Smith’s next project is expanding his inventory to include a selection of pet furniture, supplies and accessories, which will roll out in April in time for National Pet Week.

“Pets are very much a part of people’s families,” he said. “If you don’t want your animal all over your furniture, then you’ve got to understand that they’ve got to have their own place.”



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