Featuring: Donté Kelly
Welcome to Day 3 of my inaugural Man Spaces Week!
Monday's post had us in awe of the jet-set luxury lifestyle of Bloggers Boyfriend. Tuesday's coverage of Truefitt & Hill, a premier barber and perfumer, gave us a glimpse of royal service designed strictly for gentlemen.
Today's post takes us in a different direction. It is an engaging story of one man's journey into the world of interiors.
It will ground and inspire you. If you happen to see yourself in it, it may even stir your emotions. I encourage you to pull up a chair, a blanket and a hot cuppa sumthin' and"listen" as he recounts it for you himself.
Affiliate links may be included in this post. This means that should you purchase a linked product, I may receive a small commission, but at no additional cost to you. To read my full disclosure click here. All photos featured not marked "J'adore le Décor" have been used with owner's permission.
My name is Donté Kelly. I am a 41-year old African American entrepreneur, born and raised in the beautiful city of Atlanta, Georgia. I am currently living my dream as the owner and operator of my very own Interior Design and renovation company. A dream almost unfathomable to me at one point in my life. Not for lack of talent or opportunity, but rather for the much more dangerous lack of vision.
You see “I was just a poor black kid from the projects.” Or at least that was the rhetoric being promoted to me and most of my friends at every turn. Eventually we all began to believe it. It was an easy enough idea to sell since there were no doctors, lawyers, engineers, or interior designers in our neck of the woods. There was only struggle, strife, and poor black kids. That’s all we ever saw.
Eventually, I grew up and was able to venture out into the world. It was then that I quickly realized the folly of my thinking. I came face to face with doctors, lawyers, engineers and so many other successful ones— who looked just like me. In fact, I can remember feeling as if I had been misled, lied to, and bamboozled by everyone around me. I vowed to be better.
I must admit, in the beginning it was a bit disconcerting. Being around such successful people both intimidated and fascinated me. However, the more I associated with them, the more that intimidation transformed into a form of aspiration. I aspired to have jobs like theirs, drive nice cars like theirs , and most importantly have big bank accounts just like them.
After talking to countless individuals within these ranks, I began to find the commonalities each shared and I emulated them. No path seemed as potentially rewarding as furthering my education, so I enrolled in college and set off to make my fortune.
Fast forward to two Masters degrees and several viewings of the cult classic movie “Hackers”. I found myself with a decent job as a computer programmer, a few nice cars, and a house to call my own. But I was also working in a cubicle, writing endless lines of meaningless code, and I was absolutely unhappy.
To cheer myself up, I decided to “fix up my home” with the extra income at my disposal. I instantly fell in love with it [the process]. I was like a man possessed, working from 9 – 5 then coming home to design and renovate late into the night. Eventually I finished my home and to my absolute surprise everyone loved it! I would get compliments from people of all different races, genders, and just about every age range.
Soon I had no more house left to do. So I begin taking on small projects simply out of a need to design and install spaces. I designed more and more spaces and got better and better, until I was booked for jobs months in advance due to word of mouth alone. That’s when I decided to take the plunge. I quit my job and followed my passion....oh and the money was pretty good too.
Company Name: Kelly Kreations
My Design Aesthetics: Transitional (a contemporary and traditional blend), monochromatic design with a touch of minimalism. It allows for the most variety in terms of tastes, and appeals to both men and women.
Where to Find Me: Facebook Business Page
I am proud to be able to say that I’ve never had any regrets. Never left a client disgruntled. And I have definitely never looked back!
It has been my absolute pleasure to present this first hand account to you. I hope you enjoyed it as well.
Donté and I would love to get your thoughts on this journey and discovery of his hidden talent. Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.
For more masculine-inspired design and fashion, follow my Pinterest board titled: Manly Things & Spaces.
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Welcome to "my place". I'm Ola, a self-confessed décor addict and DIY think-tank. I love working with small spaces. Please make yourself comfortable, and let's get to know one another better.
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