Kari Ann Peniche is the owner of Revamp Décor. Ms. Peniche is a former Miss United States Teen and reality television star; here is a link to her website:
Q: What made you interested in design?
A: I moved around quite a bit growing up and after University, and with each new place, I felt I had to personalize and create a statement before I could call it home. I wouldn’t settle for living in a generic space, even if I hadn’t planned on living there long. It has always been important that my home represented who I am. Friends started asking me to help with their places, and I soon realized that there are many people that don’t have the patience or desire to do what I love doing. After I got married, my husband, who’s a residential developer asked me to be involved with his projects, which led me into the full time world of design and decor. Designing peoples homes has allowed me to apply my creative energy and artistic sense into interior spaces as designer which has had a profound impact on me, as well as my clients and their surroundings.
Q: Why should someone looking for a designer hire you?
A: My expertise lies in understanding the unique vision of each client with the belief that anything is possible. It is my passion to create original interiors, as well as finding creative solutions for budget-conscious clients. I have put the leg work into sourcing materials and furnishings by creating and sustaining relationships with fabric designers, manufacturers and builders, which in the end will save a client valuable time, money and headache. For all my clients, I diligently strive to create their dream home by capturing their personalities, goals and aspirations, while at the same time adding value to their space.
Q: Your site says you offer mood boards. What are mood boards?
A: A mood board is a group of pictures taken from magazines, books or websites, fabrics, textures, color swatches pretty much anything that can help express the mood, feeling or overall look you are wanting to achieve. It’s something I really like working with because it can help a client visually see my direction. It also helps me me get an idea of what clients are drawn to and if any changes need to be made in the overall feel of the design. I always use a mood board before jumping into the expense of the project no matter how big or small the project is.
Q: What kind of training do you have in design?
A: As anyone will tell you, the most valuable training comes from actually doing the work. For the past 10 years I have worked with a group of exceptionally talented manufacturers and principal designers. The knowledge I’ve gained from hands on experiences has been and continues to be invaluable. The theoretical lessons and guidelines learned in becoming certified in “Design Psychology”, and “Home staging” has given me a foundation on which every job begins. It continually amazes me to watch how my clients wellbeing and quality of life changes once we begin the process of designing their homes. Design Psychology is about understanding the impact these environments have.
Q: You were a Miss Teen USA. What do you think would surprise most people about the beauty pageants process?
A: I have found that most people are surprised when I say that I believe pageants offer a great opportunity for personal growth. Preparing for a pageant is doing everything you can to become the best possible you. How often do we get the opportunity to focus on ourself and give the attention needed to become our best both inside and out, physically, mentally and spiritually? Not very often. People often think pageants are about competing against other girls but the truth is you’re competing against yourself. At the end of a pageant every delegate leaves a little more poised, confident, has better speaking and interview skills all of which require really getting to know who you are, what you believe in, what your goals are, what you stand for and what you want others to know about you. I think having the experience of pageantry translates in a positive way to other areas of life and career.
Q: You lost your crown when you posed for Playboy. Do you regret your decision to pose for the magazine or did it help your career?
A: I do believe Playboy was a positive stepping stone in my entertainment career but that was over a decade ago and my career goals today are so different than what they were when I posed for the magazine. I was 20 years old. My experience working with Playboy was all positive and it was also a fun time in my life.
Q: You have appeared on a couple of Dr. Drew’s rehab shows. How were you selected to be on these shows in the first place?
A: My manager David Weintraub pitched this new VH1 show called “Sex Rehab with Dr Drew” which was a spin of the successful “Celebrity Rehab” series. David, having been a producer and casting director for “Celebrity Rehab” knew what the show was looking for, and stressed how being on the show would be good for my career and that the network was looking for a new starlet. I wasn’t sure I agreed with him and I didn’t consider myself a sex addict, but to be honest I was interested in being on television. It had been five years since I was in Playboy and the opportunity to be on the screen was tempting. To make a long story short the following day I was the first member cast for “Sex Rehab with Dr Drew”. Producers liked me and I was asked to be a part of Celebrity Rehab and then Sober House.
Q: Do you think you were portrayed fairly on the show?
A: No, I was not portrayed fairly for who I am in real life. I was cast for a part. Reality TV is not real! I portrayed a character that the producers were looking for.
Q: After being evicted from Dr. Drew’s Sober House for violent behavior, you asked the other residents if you could return and they said no. Do you now understand why they did that?
A: I needed to leave the show to take care of some personal things that had come up and I was told to ask the other members if I could come back, it was pretty much staged to look that way.
Q: If you could design a house for any reality star who would it be and what would the house look like?
A: I’d love to design a house for Donald Trump and not just any house but the White House. Now, if I could just do anything I wanted to the house, then I would go with a mix of its classic American history and Trumps gold bling style he does to most of his properties. It would be an old world modern vintage that sparkles. An understated elegance with a little flash. However, since I’d be working for Donald Trump it would be a collaboration of ideas. I’d be focused on what he and his family’s visions were and I’d be there to bring vision to life.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.