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Kia Weatherspoon on Interior Design for Affordable Housing

How do we build beautiful affordable housing without toxics?

Kia Weatherspoon, interior designer, founder, and president of Determined by Design, believes that well-designed interior spaces should be a standard for all. Join us as she discusses how her team insists on building beautiful, healthy, affordable housing that acknowledges a community’s history, culture, and diversity. Kia states, “Design Equity isn’t a trend. It’s our foundation.”

Design Equity™ requires a community’s story and history to be told in every texture, finish, and material.

The core foundation of Determined By Design is the belief that well-designed interior spaces are not a luxury for a few but a standard for all. They advocate for Design Equity™, so every person’s value is uplifted by the spaces they inhabit. This bold mission drives their partnerships, community collaborations, and design work as they work to elevate people’s lives. Their design direction comes from the particular history, culture, and diverse backgrounds of the people who will reside in the buildings they design. With this mission and commitment, they serve as the ‘People’s Design Firm’.


Kia Weatherspoon, Founder + President, Determined By Design

Kia Weatherspoon, NCIDQ, ASID, D.F.A (h.c) has spent the last 15 years defying every design stereotype. The most damaging—interior design is a luxury reserved for a few. Her voice, advocacy for Design Equity™, and design practice have shifted the narrative, making interior design a standard for all. Kia’s presence and leadership have created ripples, prompting housing developers, agencies, and industry partners in economically challenged communities to not just take notice of her work—but to do better.

As a design industry advocate and educator in business leadership, equity, and diversity, Kia has been recognized as ICFF Design of the Year, has an Honorary Doctorate from New York School of Interior Design, and ASID National Design for Humanity, a HIP Designer for Good by Interior Design Magazine, CREW Washington, DC Raise Your Voice Awardee, a part of the Washington Business Journal’s 40 under 40 Class and the International Interior Design Association Luna Textile/Anna Hernandez Visionary Award recipient.

Kia is adamant that change is possible when difficult conversations happen. She has them every day as a female leader of color, speaker, educator, and mentor who exemplifies what’s possible for those who are determined by design.

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