Name: Kenne Shepherd
Company: Kenne Shepherd Interior Design Architecture PLLC (KSI)
What was your greatest professional accomplishment in 2019?
While celebrating 26 years of being in business, 2019 was an exciting year of continued growth for my firm and professional recognition of my work. I was honored to be recognized by the Mann Charitable Foundation as one of their “Leading Ladies Honorees” in June and later to be profiled by NYREJ in “Putting the Client First.” In 2019, it was a privilege to join the Board of ChaShaMa, a non-profit organization that supports emerging artists by partnering with property owners to transform unused properties into workshops and galleries and provides free art classes for underserved communities. ChaShaMa was founded by Anita Durst in 1995. Giving back to the community has always been an important to me both professionally and personally as I continued to be involved in CREW New York and now ChaShaMa.
What was your most notable project, deal, or transaction in 2019?
Our most notable project this year was collaborating with Canadian home furnishing retailer EQ3, their design team, and their former Creative director Thom Fougere to bring to life EQ3’s retail concept for their 11,800 s/f store in the Chelsea Design District in New York. We are currently working on a second 10,000 s/f store for them in Brookfield Retail’s SoNo Collection Mall in Norwalk Ct. Drawing upon 26 years of retail and residential design and planning experience, my firm successfully guided EQ3 through a demanding process that was taking place simultaneously at both stores. Another notable project completed this year is a residential renovation in the Alwyn Court apartment building. To see our design realized, we successfully navigated the complex City and Landlord issues involved in designing a project in a major Landmarked building in New York.
What are your predictions for commercial real estate in 2020?
Enabled by advances in technology and the integration of online shopping, retailers in 2020 will continue to build smaller more efficiently designed stores that creatively showcase the brand and capture the customers’ attention. Good retail design has always been about the experience of the brand and now the power of design is more important than ever. The worst of the “Retail Apocalypse” is behind us. Successful brick and mortar retailers have learned to provide their customers a unified shopping experience both in stores and online. Ecommerce retailers have realized that having brick and mortar stores substantially increases their market share while improving their bottom line. Lower rents and better concession packages from Landlords are helping to reverse the trend of the past few years and fill vacant storefront.