On the Road to Interiors with Casey Keasler
Recently one of our favorite interior designers to follow on Instagram is Casey Keasler, an interior designer who owns and operates Casework: an interior design firm located in Portland, Oregon. We chatted with Casey about what the road looked like to where she is today, her business mantra and how she designs spaces, and what her dream project would look like.
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You own and operate your own design company Casework. Tell us a little bit about how you got to where you are today.
It's hard to say exactly when, but for as long as I can remember, I've been interested in design and architecture. I was the 10-year-old reading my mom's Architectural Digest. I took technical drafting classes in high school, got a B.S. in Interior Design, worked for commercial architecture firms for nearly 10 years. I took woodworking classes and was part of a woodworking collective for a few years while freelancing. All of those things lead me to start Casework in 2015.
You live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. How does the scenery there inspire you in design?
As an introvert in a visually stimulating career, having visually expansive quiet places helps me recharge. The mountains and coast are a little over an hour away and spending time outdoors help me focus my energy and be more balanced. I have never wanted a desk job but to keep a business running, desk time is a requirement and spending time outdoors helps me unwind after a long week.
When designing a space, Casework focuses on environments and how they are experienced. Tell us a little bit about how that became one of the signatures of your company.
It started with a mentor in the mid-2000s who taught me to design intentionally, not to decorate. If I have a reason for every move or selection I make that goes back to the experience, trends won’t matter, even if that concept is built out of intuition. We spend a lot of time getting to know our clients and understand how they want to use a room, house, office, retail store, etc. That experience needs to fit the use, otherwise, we’ve missed the mark. I wouldn’t design a maximalist, brightly colored space for a minimalist who wants calm and quiet!
What is the best advice you have ever received, whether it be personal or professional advice?
Trust your instincts.
How would you describe the style of design in your own home?
My current home is a Ranch Bungalow hybrid that I named the Ranchalow. Since most of the work Casework does is remodel, we look to the architecture to inform the design process and the Ranchalow is inspired by these two styles. There are mid-century details, like brass hardware and vintage furniture mixed with a palette inspired by the early 1900s Bungalow years. Think soft green, blush, warm neutrals mixed with a modern black.
The spaces you create have such a minimalistic, calming vibe. How do you achieve the less is more look with still creating a warm space?
Constantly editing and by incorporating contrasts! Concrete, metal, black and gray is balanced with warm neutrals like brass, natural wood tones, upholstery, and rugs. I also love to bring vintage pieces into projects, those elements are one of a kind and tell such a unique story. Layering with rugs, wall art and textiles, even in commercial spaces, is the final element before styling and accessories.
What would be your dream project?
A winery hotel pizza kitchen located on a vineyard in the Oregon wine country without wifi. Or a taco and tequila bar with space for an ofrenda. Basically, anything that includes rituals and asks people to connect without their phone.
Portland, OR has so many great things to do and explore. What are a few of your favorite things about living there?
Oregon is approachable, it’s city living without the grind of a much bigger city. It’s close to the coast and the mountains and both of those places are incredibly recharging for me. Niche markets are supported - denim darning - you got it, handcrafted vegan ice cream, there are a few. There’s also a great makers market here. I can design and have most anything fabricated locally.
What are five things you can’t live without right now?
A dedicated space to work outside my house, a notebook to jot ideas, Papermate flair pens, my amazing team, and my family.
What is next for you and your company?
Growth. We’re in a major transition phase and I don’t mean that in terms of size but evolution as a team and the work we produce and share. By the end of this year, our website will host a ton of interior resources. Early next year, I’ll be offering workshops to share my experience with the design process. Interior design is a service that isn’t accessible to everyone and I strongly believe everyone should have a place that is more than a roof over their head. My goal is to educate people on the process and demystify the costs it takes to remodel. If that can help a few people achieve their dream home, I'll be satisfied! I’d also love to get back into product design. I have a running list of ideas for lighting, furniture, and rugs that we struggle to find when sourcing.