In addition to running a succesful interior design business in Ocean View, Matt teaches Interior Design at a local college. In this episode, we explore where both locals and out-of-town visitors can pick up some “beach” themed accessories for their homes or offices.
For today’s show, I get to sit down and have a conversation with Matt Keane from Matt Keane designs. And we have a great conversation about Ocean View. We I learned some things to do in the area that I’m excited for you to possibly be hearing about for the very first time. And so whether you’re a local, whether you’re a terrorist, whether you’re you’ve got family in from out of town, there’s some cool things to do in the area. And it was exciting to hear those about those. And so I tell you what, let’s just do that. So let’s go ahead and without any further ado, why don’t I play for you my conversation with Matt Keane.
Hey, everybody. So I am sitting here with Mr. Matt Keane. I get your Matt Keane, right.
Yeah, that’s correct.
Matt, welcome to the podcast.
Yeah. Glad to have you. So why don’t you start out for the people listening to the podcast, they can’t see where we are. Where are we right now? What’s going on in the background they might hear.
We are meeting at one of my favorite places, Coaster Coffee. It’s just this quaint little coffee shop here in the Oceanview neighborhood. It’s just it’s like family a little bit. We meet here often for the OVBA meetings. And I’m drinking a delicious cup of coffee right now. So I can’t complain.
Yeah, this is a great place. I think it’s been here. About two years. Maybe
It will Yes. It used to actually be a resale shop a long time. But I guess a couple years ago, and then they come the church bought it and converted it. And you know, now the community uses it as coaster coffee. And we’re right across the street from a fun Park skate park. Yeah. And what’s amazing, and if you can just imagine outside of this building is completely covered and wall murals that were painted by the community. I was actually part of that, which was really, really fun.
I’m gonna grab some pictures on my way out. And we’ll put the pictures in the Episode Notes for this. So people can go check it out if they’re listening in iTunes or something. Yeah. All right. Well, hey, Matt. So thank you, again for being on the Discover ob podcast. So you mentioned you were able to mention real quickly what this building used to be. Did you see it? Is that like, how long have you been in the area?
So I moved here in 2012. I built my house here in 2012, actually, and I just jumped into the community since then. Nice. What brought you to the area 20 years ago, a long, long time ago, I was a photographer in the Navy actually real and I spent six years as a photo journalist traveling all over, seeing the world photographing all sorts of things, beautiful places, people, officers, and when I am originally from the Midwest, very, very small town about an hour north of Chicago population couple 1000. And I had to get out of there, I needed I was a country boy, they needed to become a city boy. And the beach. I just can’t get away from it. It just beats farmland any day to me.
I agree. I agree. We moved from Ohio. Don’t get me wrong. I miss we definitely miss being that close to our family. But we my wife and I were just talking to not walk or not that long ago about moving back to Ohio. And we both said the same thing. Just the idea is claustrophobic feeling.
There’s this this thing that every time I go home and visit and I love my family and I get to see snow for a couple weeks, a couple days or whatnot. But every time I come over the bridge, right and ocean view and I smell the salt air, there is that like instant feeling of home and calmness that reaches me. Yeah, that’s captured me ever since.
Yeah. And I think that’s one of the unique things in this area. Like I’ve spent a lot of time now, you know, the last few years, we we actually originally lived in Virginia Beach. And now over here in Ocean View, but if you just go to the different communities and stuff on the bay, between us and like, you know, Virginia Beach and beyond this place, ocean view has a very unique feel.
Totally, totally, totally, totally. It’s it’s this old feeling, you know, that old salt new vibe they have going on. But there’s just so much life that is still here to a new life. And every time I see someone racing down the road and a lime scooter, or I see someone biking on the new bike path, or kids playing in the new park that they have, or people join the beach. It’s just that’s what creates this community and it sucks you in and you get to know everybody because it’s like this It’s like this smallest, biggest little town all in eight miles. Yeah. Where everybody knows everyone’s going.
Yeah, yeah. But then, you know, you jump right on the highway and you’re, you know, you got access right into the seven cities. You know, you’re downtown Norfolk’s not too far. You know, you’ve got all these places, but we find ourselves not needing to or even wanting to head to those places that often. My wife may have the occasional bug to hit up IKEA. But
I got you, I. It’s a weekly visit?
I bet it is. I’m sure we’ll get to that do. But, but no, it’s just the parks and the families. And I agree, it’s it’s just a neat, neat area.
The one thing it has done is it has definitely become a destination spot for my family to come and visit. So my house is quite full during the summertime, with cycling of family members. But I wouldn’t want to have it any other way.
We agree. Nobody ever wanted to live or spend a week with us at a house when we were in Ohio. But now that we’re here, we actually intentionally got a five bedroom house. So we could keep a spare room ready to go. And we have anyway, we’ve I don’t get into my house. But I know.
I know what you mean.
Oh, yeah, absolutely. Same thing, same thing. So um, so what is it now that you do here in Ocean View? What do you do?
So I’m, I’m an interior designer, home stylist. I started my business seven years ago, but I went on my own a couple years ago. And so I work out of my home now actually. And I’m a full interior design consulting firm, I work with commercial buildings, excuse me, commercial clients, residential clients, I’ve actually am completing one down the road from my house right now, which is really great. I love that proximity to go to work every day. So I do a lot of renovations for people, I do a lot of home styling that’s kind of going in and refreshing a space painting it maybe some new accessories and lighting and just kind of helping them get through the feeling of their home that they want, that they don’t necessarily know exactly how to do. I love it. I mean, I love working at home and having my dog at my feet. While I’m at my desk every day. I love when I get I get tired, I need to stretch out on my little Back Stretcher and maybe think upside down for a few minutes about how I’m going to put a space together. And that’s all here. In OV or when I need to get inspiration, I can go outside and I can walk down to the park and just go to the beach and kind of get a feeling of centeredness and where I need to go see that’s a word I made up centered
And centered. That’s not that. That’s okay. It is now
Exactly, I consider myself and find out what I need to do to continue the project.
Yeah, and this is a great place to do that a lot of home businesses,
A lot of home businesses.
I mean, I own a web design business. And same thing. Now my office doesn’t have a Back Stretcher board. So I’m thinking already from this interview that might be my check that out.
I swear to god 60 degrees upside down, like changes your life after five minutes.
I’m gonna have to check it out. That sounds good. That sounds good. All right, cool. Um, so you said you do commercial? You do residential? Now? I follow you on social media. And I’ve seen some pictures. Yeah, no worries. I’ve seen some pictures of like, bathroom projects, or our various you know, poor outdoor spaces, outdoor porches and things like that. So like when you are doing let’s say, a kitchen, bathroom or living room, and there’s actual remodeling happening as part of it? Are you full service? Like you’re coming in knocking down walls and things like that? Or do you? What does that look? Do you have a team of people that come in and do those parts? And I’m sure some of the trade stuff like the plumbing and electrical just for code reasons. And then you’re coming in and, and just guiding all of that, or what what what level of full service does it include?
So um, I would say full service, except that I am not licensed as a general contractor. So we subcontract that piece out the parts that have to.
It’s it’s easier. That’s their full trade. So a lot of times I act as what I would call a design, mentor or design advocate. And that means that I work with the homeowner directly initially, we design the space, how it’s going to be we plan it out, we pick all the finishes, we put it all together. And then we bring in our GC and we kind of go over that and how to look at the budget and figure out what we can and can’t do. And I always tell my clients where we start with a project, the end result will always be a version of that no project ever goes perfect. It’s it’s false to say that it does, you know, there’s just life changes, something gets on backorder a pipe needs to be moved the wall can’t come down all the way. You know, there’s just various things that can happen, right.
But what I do is beginning to end really Yeah, and I can be involved as much For as little as a client wants, I have some clients are like, Look, you know, my husband’s a general contractor, I just need to get him on the same page. So I need the designer to whip this up and work with me for a couple weeks in putting it together. So that’s no problem I do that just a design fee. Sometimes. I just go shopping with people and help them pick out the things that they need to put their space together. And then like you said, there’s the big projects, those big projects. I’m not HGTV, we’re not done in 30 minutes. We’re just not, you know, but with big projects, that is quite a process. I can tell you the bathrooms that I’m working on right now is two bathrooms in one house. We started that project in February, we’re just not finishing it. Now. It doesn’t mean we’ve been in construction since February. But the idea of our first initial meeting and working it out starts there. That’s the way to do it right. When people rush in, it never comes out good. And I’m just not that guy. So I never take on more than I can’t handle. It’s usually just two major projects at once. And just a few other in between here and there.
Yeah, All right. All right, that makes sense, I can see that all playing out. And anytime I’ve been part of a renovation project always takes longer than what people want.
I’ve also been a really good marriage therapist. Let me just go ahead and add this in here. That is part of what is I think an interior design school, you are the in between stopping fights, making sure you’re listening to both sides, making sure each part is being heard and kind of advocating for both of them and coming to like a peace treaty. So that’s a big part of what I do, too.
I would I never even thought of it. But I can see because my wife and I are right now in the process of buying another vehicle. That has been, you know, we haven’t agreed on everything. You know, we each have different ideas. And not there’s not a vehicle out there that includes all of our ideas, right? So that’s interesting. All right, very cool. So you’ve mentioned going shopping with where some of your places in this area to get inspiration or even like there’s a great place to go look for, you know, supplies and resources.
I want to actually recently on the client that I’m working on here, I’m just going to go back to the one that I’m working on recently in Ocean View. We she found these great little knobs that are fish and starfish. They’re glass and their knobs for a cabinet that are going in the bathroom remodel. It’s like a linen closet. And they came from a place called the Attica East beach, which is here locally. It’s just a fun little eclectic store that has a little bit of this and that it has a beachy vibe. And just taking that little touch and adding it just makes that space. So just really, really makes the space work really, really well. So that’s one place I’d go to.
I would say outside of the OV area. Oh my gosh. I mean, it’s endless, really. I mean, if you go to TJ Maxx or home goods on a Wednesday, every stay at home parent is there shopping for everything you can possibly imagine. So I try to go late at night like after school’s been picked up. But they do that’s a pro tip it is because those those stores actually cater to the area that they’re located in. So like a home goods here is not going to have wilderness things a lot of …
Like Santa Fe does.
Exactly. It’s just not. It’s going to be catered more to the beachy, the beachy vibe. There’s some other great little shops if you go on down to get like kitsch is really really great. Sometimes actually even like Baker’s cross, they had these cool mugs that are just great for a coffee station that have a blue and white and they’re just like bleeding the colors like they were handmade or maybe the Mermaid Factory where it’s fun to take a client where they can actually make something or a piece of pottery that they incorporate something they did into the space. I do that a lot with kids. So when I’m doing like a living room with for a family, I want the whole family to be involved. So I’ll go to a local place have them do that. And we use it in the design.
That’s very cool. Now you just rattled off a lot of great places and that’s great and I just want the people listening to know I’m gonna link to all of those so I’ll look them all up find them we’ll link to them in the show notes on on the episode this mermaid place on now see here I’m a look I’ve never even heard of this. Sounds fascinating. But uh my immediate thought was is that’s something that if I’m here vacation and I’m saying one of the mini Airbnb or something like that, that you might recommend I go with my family or maybe I’m not a family you know, maybe I’m you know, just me and a significant other in order here. You know, go check it out, make something and take take the beach home that way.
Yeah, absolutely. The mermaid factory. Take Take a piece of it with you. I think that the funnest things about a vacation is memories. So if you can create something that helps stimulate that memory, not only does it make you happy, it makes you want to come back to. Because we’re pretty, we’re pretty cool place. So it’s really fun. I had mentioned the, the speech, the Attica A speech, and just going in there and finding something neat to take home with you a little bowl, a little shell or something like that. That’s a memory that you can have that you can place in your house as a decor item, and also creates a conversation piece to where’d you get that? I got that when I was visiting ocean view. And Norfolk actually visited all of Norfolk was a great place for so much to do. I made that at the mermaid factory where the kids found that when we went to the attic at East beach, or, you know, Matt Keane design designed this place, and I really love scratch that.
Oh saving, that’s good. All right. Well, that’s, that’s really cool. So now one of the things though is I want to question because I immediately what my mind went to also, as you were talking, and you mentioned that all knobs the little touches, and I have a feeling it would be really easy to also in design to add too many of those. So here’s an here’s an adage we use and the graphic design side of our business. And I want to I just want to know if it holds true for you. Least we tell people that great graphic design is reached when absolutely nothing else can be taken away, not when something else is left to be at. But when we have stripped it down to its bare bones. And its if it’s you know, aesthetically pleasing. It gets all the most critical information across. That’s great graphic design. Is that true for interior design?
I’d say it parallels it pretty well. Okay, um, InDesign, my number one approach is three colors. Oh, okay, that’s my first approach that I do, I need to create a palette. So my three colors, I have a deep color, and accent color, not a pop color, and then a complementary color to both of them. Right? Okay, so I start with that. And then I add in the touches. Now, going coastal, you can go Coastal crazy. And what I mean by that is, you know, hot glue gunning shells around your bathroom mirror, painting everything peach and turquoise, you know, what would look better is maybe a small basket of shells you picked up on the beach, and maybe an accent wall that’s painted a peach tone, but a light peach tone, a calming color, or turquoise or blue, whichever way you want to go. Everyone’s in the gray white thing right now. And that’s okay. But if you wanted to translate that into the beach vibe, you could do cool blues and cool grays and whites and maybe a pop of color with it. And that would be the right way.
So that’s connecting to what you were saying where you’ve stripped everything down and you have it just right, just the right amount of stuff. Your eye wants to move around a room and get a sense of what it is okay, when you walk in, you want to feel instantly calming, calm and relaxed. I do that with a lot of greenery. I think bringing nature and really helps. But when you walk in, and you have a seashell rug and seashell pillows and turquoise blankets and turquoise walls and the news, the powder room and I like I said it has hot glue gun show and this is real life experience. You know, seeing ygritte Beach paintings across the walls and the entryway and there’s a time and place for some of that. But you got it you got to pull back and you need someone to check you.
That’s where designer comes in. They can say okay, we’ve we’ve reached the threshold. Now we’re stopping, and then edit and fix it and get it just right.
Colors are really important to me. I would say my design is very streamlined, very symmetrical, very clean, and very peaceful. And very nature inspired.
I like that. So the tip there, you start with your color palette. Yeah. So that’s kind of step one. Now, do you have a handful that you come and present? Or do you sit down and interview the owner of a space, you know, whether it be a business or a home? Do you interview first and then go back and dream envisioning and come and present something? Or do you kind of have some suggestions you start with?
Well, um, I think that every client is different. And it is important to research and interview them and find out who they really are before I can make any recommendations because otherwise I go in with preconceived notions about who they are, and I’m not really listening to them.
So I have to go in completely just listening. I am sounding board for everything that’s going on and everything that they want. And then sometimes I can walk into like, Oh, God, we got to move this couch. And I’m thinking that in my head, but I’m not saying I’m not gonna say that right. And there’s no judgment. A lot of people think we’re here to judge No, we’re here to fix. That’s actually my number one job is I’m a problem solver. I go in and I fix things, I don’t decorate, I fix. decorating is just the fun part of it. I’m sorry, I lost my train. Let me drink another sip of my coffee real quick. But listening and interviewing, the client is so important. And the whole family, I recently interviewed a family. And I interviewed the kids. And I taught him like, Well, what do you want? How do you envision this space, because everyone is important that lives there, everyone is important.
So after I kind of take it all in, I think about it probably for a couple days, maybe a week or so. And I say, Hey, you know, I got some ideas, let’s sit back down, and let me present them to you. And I’ll come back with a palette just kind of a throw out of some ideas like, well, what if we did this, this, this and this, what are your thoughts on it, kind of get their feeling that also lets me know how far they’re willing to go or how much I need to push them to do something. Or if one person is more willing than the other.
Marriage counseling again, or How daring they want to be. And then I go back to the table, I refine that and I present it to them. And like I said earlier, what we start with will always be a version of it, it may be a 99% version of it, it may be a 70% version of it. But for whatever reason, it’s going to start there. And it’s going to evolve through the entire design process. Design should be fun, it really should be fun, you’re transforming something into what you want, you’re creating this environment for you, your family, or your friends, it’s a reflection of you. That’s really what it should be not a reflection of HGTV or what you see in a store, it should be a reflection of you. And that’s really how you make it a home.
That’s cool. That’s cool stuff. Now, you You brought something up a little bit ago, and if and I’m gonna probably put you on the spot, because we didn’t talk about this before we hit record hours. So you said you know, sometimes you’re you know, you’re coming in, and you’re just, you know, you’re just getting a consultation, designed some time. It’s more, you know, I’ll be honest, I think a lot of people hear the idea of an interior designer, and they think that’s great for the people that live on that side. Yeah, ocean view or for the people that can afford to live, you know, and that area or something like that. Is it reasonable? for most people to, you know, hey Like, I have no, I’m so I’m kind of putting you on the spot. I’m not asking you to give actual numbers. But you know, are you affordable?
Yeah, so absolutely. For one, I’m on the love app. So if you get 10 stars, you get me at a really great rate, okay. Just to put that plug out there, I don’t mind the love app. But no, I am completely affordable. You can hire me for an hour, two hours a day. Sometimes people just need to skate.
It’s all scalable,
It’s scalable, it’s scalable from an hour to an entire job. And like I said, some people just need a direction, they just need to push, they just feel stuck. They’re like I don’t know where to go. Sometimes I just do room redesigns where I come in. And for a flat fee, I just help them rearrange their space, maybe go shopping and add a couple pieces, some new lighting, I’ve given them some direction on things. They’re kind of a DIYer themselves so they don’t mind painting the walls and installing a new light on the on the ceiling or something like that. So it’s scalable to the job. I think design should be affordable like design for the people, all the people because it’s not just people that are in a certain income bracket that can afford it. That’s That’s not right. That’s not fair. We’re all people and we all deserve a great home and I love what I do. So I treat someone that hires me for an hour, exactly the same as I treat someone that hires me for a six month kitchen renovation.
There’s no difference.
I kind of got that sense from your social media. And I mean, just talking to you, I wish we could, you know, see your passion that’s coming through as you talk about this. Like, it’s obvious that you love this. And you want people to enjoy the space, the rain, feel good, you know, I mean, I just think that’s just how it just helps people.
Can I mention something? Absolutely. I did not. I was not someone who grew up with a lot. I never went without, but we were always taught to kind of like make the best of what we had. And I’ll never forget like when I was 10, I was taking sheets and making them into valances and I was moving my furniture around and painting it. I was doing Only 16 year old that had the cleanest bedroom that looked like a mini apartment. I mean, I think it’s always been in me. And I’ve always just tried to go in and I look at his face and I say, Okay, this is what I have to work with. And I’m going to make it look the best I can. Absolutely.
And I’m glad you brought that up. Because driving over here, one of the questions I thought to ask and I didn’t write it down was, when did you know that this was something you were passionate about? Or, you know, just had the knack for? So it sounds like you know, 10 16
Younger? I was three,
I know. That’s weird. How would I remember that? I have almost like a photographic memory. Okay. And so like when I visualize something, I can visualize it complete or without, like when I look at it, but I remember a lot like from when I was very, very tiny. My mom just freaks out like, how do you know that? How did you know we had green shag carpet, and it smelled musty with wood paneling that you were two. And I’m like, that’s where I had to play. I don’t know. But there’s this picture of me when I was three. And I did not like my bed. So I took the drawer out of my dresser and I made it its own bed inside. And maybe that’s what a three year old normally does. But for me it was different. And that’s where I slept, because that’s what I wanted it to be because it fit me better. It felt better. Wasn’t this big bed, it was this little tiny drawer. That was right. And it just felt right. And that’s what’s important. And that’s kind of the core of design what’s right and what feels right. And I said earlier problem solving. Right? Yeah. So I’ve always been a problem solver.
Now from on the business side, is there anything you know, for those that are listening to this that are business owners? What can design the right design? Or maybe not even the right design? Well, what can design do in a business space to make or break? conversions, customer satisfaction, return anything like that?
So two things I would say upfront one is the appearance on the outside. When someone pulls up, what does it look like? Is it inviting? Does it make sense? Do the outside of statics fit the company? Is it giving the right image the professional images at fitting the space? You know, we wouldn’t want a log cabin look here and in coastal Virginia would we just wouldn’t make sense. And then secondly, when you go in so it’s your first impression pulling up? Secondly, is what does it look like when you walk in? Is it warm? is an inviting? Is it sterile? Is it white? Is it old? Is it is it? Is it smell weird? Does it that’s all reflections of how you no matter how great your customer services, no matter how great your businesses, unfortunately, we live in a society that takes judgment when they walk into a business.
So you have to represent yourself the best you possibly can. So the outside entrance and the immediately the first entrance. Is it a warm and welcoming desk that you walk up to to greet somebody? Is it clean is organized. Cleaning is free. And it amazes me how many people don’t do that.
That’s the first thing that’s a free organ organization is free. Yeah. It’s amazed me how many people don’t do that. So get all your junk out of the front and put it away organize it in the Marie Kondo your business, you go and then call me so we can paint it and put some great chairs, you know, and that’s important. Yeah, that’s what’s important. And a lot of people have fluorescent lighting, still worse lighting in the world. You know, it makes me think of just like, the 1950s Yeah, 1950s 60s 70s, adding secondary lighting options, warm up the space lamps and things like that, instead of just a bunch of, you know, six month old magazines on the side table that came from a yard sale.
Yeah. I was recently in the market for a new accountant for my business. And I tell you, I went to visit one. And I think the 60s was the last time they did clean or declutter, and I’m sure that the guys very competent, you know, he was highly recommended. But between him and the other person I went and met with, I ended up with the other person because his office was it just presented.
You know, and he did too. I mean, I think they were both very capable. But then it just it didn’t look organized. I thought, dude, I don’t know if I can trust you with my accounting. If you can’t keep your office clean. organized.
And so it that good. That does play a lot.
Yeah. So yeah. And we were talking earlier about shoot, I lost my train of thought again, Eric. I guess I’m on low memory today. That’s okay. That’s okay. All right.
So as we’re wrapping things up here, yeah. What is kind of the, you know, your closing thoughts, your final ideas like what’s the big takeaway you want from for somebody to hear from you with this podcast episode?
You’re not alone. In design. Yeah. My design firm is probably a little unique because I’m willing to work and want to work with all sorts of people. It makes me really diverse. And I learned a lot doing that. It makes me better at my job. I like working with just people. And I like make I love that moment when I do a house for a family design a house rather. And they walk in, and they just can’t even imagine that it could ever look like that. That’s a moment where I feel like I’m actually making a change in the world, because I’ve helped make someone’s life better. And that’s what I want to do. Yeah, I don’t care if you make $10,000 or $100,000, I work with you and figure it out. And in relation to coastal Virginia, this is an amazing place. It’s amazing place to work and live. And it’s thriving. And it’s, I can’t wait to do more projects here. And I just, I love what I do. And I thank you for interviewing me and the opportunity to do this today.
Absolutely. And we’re able to do this because of the business, the OV Business Association, love the OVBA and all they do for the area. But I think your business fits here so well, because you just said like, you know, I’m unique in this in my industry. Well, this community is a unique community. And I think there’s some, you know, great things you’ve mentioned for people that are local, that want to help their inside space match this amazing outdoor place we live and some great tips for people that are visiting the area on how to take a little bit of this home. And and and take some of that magic of OV that love feeling of OV you know, and take that home with them and, and help them get through till their next trip.
All right. Hey, where’s the best place for people to find you? If they want to reach out to you ask questions like what’s the best place to have people find you at?
You know, visit my website. Matt ma TT Keane. Ke ane design.com. And it’s my social medias. LinkedIn there I got a bunch of portfolio photos on there. Some about me some pricing and all the things you’re looking for on there. It’s all there.
That’s all there. Alright, cool. And as always, if you’re listening, you can find I will link to all that. I’m pretty sure this is why I’m not gonna say what episode yet because I don’t know. But I will say what episode number it is and the the outro that I record later. So Alright, Matt, thank you very much.
Absolutely. Thanks, Eric.
I want to say thank you for listening to this episode of the ocean view Business Association podcast called discover o v. If you enjoyed today’s podcast, please make sure you’ll leave us a rating or review. It helps other people find the podcast and if you want any links to any of the stuff that Matt talked about, make sure you check out ocean view dot biz/003 for the show notes of this episode. Thanks a lot Matt for sitting down with me at coaster coffee and again friend. Thank you for listening to this episode of the Discover OV podcast