By Jamie Yoos
The vastly different worlds of law and interior design may rarely seem to intersect, but for Kevie Murphy of K.A. Murphy Interiors, the two passions have come together as the driving forces behind her successful career and business.
Murphy is the founder and principal designer of K.A. Murphy Interiors, her self-started, full-service design firm with a focus on high-end residential interiors. A harmonious balance of function and beauty are the key components of all projects and fundamental to Murphy’s overall vision for any space.
The company breaks down its process into 3 categories, the first being to inspire. The team collaborates, listens to the needs and desires of each client, and works to conjure up a vision for their space, with the intention of turning something they need into something they love.
Then, it’s time to design. They present the client with a fully comprehensive design plan of action, going into extreme detail to ensure that the client can clearly envision the final product. Finally, they transform the space. The vision is brought to life. Every single detail, the installation of every little element: furniture, lighting, wall coverings, window treatment, carpets, and accessories — is all overseen and coordinated by the team. “We make an effort to listen to what our clients’ needs are, how they use their homes, what their wants are. What we do in your home will not be in anybody else’s,” says Murphy.
K.A. Murphy Interiors isn’t limited by any specific design aesthetic, however, one common theme amongst its design repertoire is bold, vibrant color that sets its designs apart.
One of Murphy’s favorite projects was a colonial home from the 1940s on Elderfield Road in Manhasset, New York. The project was extremely personal to Murphy because… it’s her own house! When renovating and designing the home, she desired something colorful, comfortable, family oriented and durable, but still pretty.
The color scheme was inspired by the patterned wallpaper Murphy chose for the foyer that boasts mesmerizing magentas, aqua blues, turquoise, deep muted purples, and gold. Each room is unique and vastly different from the last, but they somehow seamlessly blend together to create a stunning home.
Interior design was not always Murphy’s focus, or even on her radar. She grew up in Port Jefferson Station, New York, with an interest in law. “I always wanted to be a lawyer. My dad is a lawyer; I always felt like it was a natural career choice for me,” says Murphy. She was a swimmer from age 6 into high school, which she used to her advantage in order to help jumpstart her future. “I think my trajectory was guided by the fact that I was going to use swimming to get into the best colleges that I could afford, with the idea that I was going to apply for law school.” Murphy’s swimming ended up earning her a full ride to Boston University. Then she went on to attend New York Law School, just as she had planned.
From there, she went on to work as an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn. “I did that for my commitment of three years and loved it, but my real passion was doing medical malpractice defense for the doctors and the hospitals.” She then began working at a law firm as a partner doing exactly that. Her impressive career in law was smooth-sailing and moving in upward strides. She eventually retired there as a partner in litigation when she had her first child.
Like most undiscovered passions, interior design took Murphy by surprise when she and her husband purchased a Brooklyn Heights home that required extensive renovations. The passion project of tirelessly perfecting her own home opened up a new door for Murphy, allowing her to realize her zeal for interior design.
“The interior design business idea was sprouted from a girls’ trip I took with two of my roommates from college. I said, ‘I think I’m going to go to school for this, I think I would be really good at it.’ To which they said, ‘the world is your oyster. If you think you can do this, we know that you can — go do it.’” Murphy recounts.
“It’s such a shock when you tell someone that you went from being a partner at a law firm in Manhattan to an interior designer. But a lot of the business-end skills are translatable. I was willing to give it a shot.” It wasn’t long after that Murphy was enrolled at the New York School of Interior Design.
The supportive roommates from the girls’ trip helped Murphy in kick-starting her business until it was time to take the next step — getting an office. “I felt like that was the first step in becoming super legitimate. Then, I hired my first employee. We just grew, we needed more help and we were able to take on more work.” Hence, the K.A. Murphy Interiors team was born, consisting of Murphy herself as the principal designer, Liudmila Tapia as the design director, Alyssa Devoe as the senior design/marketing manager, and Essilevi Medina as the senior designer.
All of this has brought Murphy to the current stage in her career. Murphy’s unwavering passion and undeniable people skills have allowed her to use her design talents to enhance the lives of her clients through her work. Her skills gained from working as a lawyer do, in fact, aid her in running the business. “It definitely helps with drafting design agreements or reviewing paperwork, contracts; I’m extremely confident reading them. My power of persuasion is very honed as well, based on my litigation skills — when I believe in something, my client knows about it and that translates into sales,” says Murphy. She plans to expand the business even further and hopes to purchase an office building for the company in the near future.
Murphy lives with her husband and 4 children in the Flower Hill home she designed in New York. She often says that “Home is your memory maker.” This mantra has become the forefront of K.A. Murphy Interiors’ mission. “[Home is] your family, your heirlooms, and where your lifetime of memories are held. It’s where you wake up, comforted by what you love, surrounded by things that are invaluable, that can’t be replicated anywhere else,” the K.A. Murphy Interiors website states. “We aspire to convey this in homes that are exquisitely tailored and highly personal.”