A Place That Has It All
Written By Carrie Edelstein
Photography By Alise O’Brien
You could compare it to the Merchandise Mart of Chicago, but closer: the Interior Design Center of St. Louis is a destination where trade professionals, builders, remodelers and their clients can plan, select and purchase everything from appliances, home automation, audio visual, flooring, plumbing fixtures, cabinetry, design services and furnishings at a single design center location. And it’s all comprised of locally owned businesses that have been in business a minimum of 15 years.
Kevin Kenney is the president and CEO of KDR Designer Showrooms, the anchor for the IDC. Kenney started KDR more than 25 years ago, and has expanded over the years to several showrooms throughout the Midwest. “KDR has always been known for outstanding luxury interior products but most importantly we are known to have amazing people. Our people are dedicated professionals who have a passion for interior design and the ability to help navigate design professionals in specifying the right products to bring their creative vision to life,” Kenney says.
Inside the showroom, you’ll find what feels like endless displays of furnishings, arranged from entire rooms styled to individual pieces highlighted in sections sorted by item, color, brand, etc. There are hundreds of thousands of fabrics, wall coverings, hardwares, even tassles on display for pillows, curtain ties, pretty much anything a designer or homeowner could dream up in a room. There are larger labels like Baker furniture on display all the way down to smaller but largely successful businesses – one owner in particular answers her own phone and hand paints every detail in items ordered. The range of options meets the needs of residential and commercial design projects, even those for the private jet or yacht.
It was Kenney who had the vision to bring other like-minded businesses together in St. Louis under one branch – the IDC. He says the one thing they all have in common is building 5-star reputations with their customer base, and all have been tremendously successful in growing their businesses at the IDC.
“One of my first tenants when I began developing the Interior Design Center of St Louis was Working Spaces. Nancy [Apel] and Marcy [Handlan] had nearly 20 years of experience in the contract/commercial market and Working Spaces had been in business eight years when they moved into the IDC in 2007. They are the primary driver of commercial business at the IDC and all of the showrooms benefit from their outstanding reputation that brings the commercial customers to the IDC. Today Working Spaces is one of the largest contract dealers in St. Louis and their business has grown by 800% in the last 10 years,” says Kenney.
Places like KDR make it possible to visit thousands of designer labels without having to go to individual corporate showrooms. That makes choices more convenient for not just interior designers, but also the homeowners who want to see more than just a single swatch book.
Kenney says, “The KDR reputation has brought brands to the St. Louis market that as little as 10 or 15 years ago did not consider it important to be represented in St. Louis. With nearly $3,000,000 of inventory and over 300,000 fabric and wallcovering selections, our 60,000 square foot showroom is expertly crafted and merchandised to inspire interior design professionals and today's astute consumer who recognizes and appreciates luxurious home furnishings and interiors. Frequently we are told our showrooms are the best in the country.”