Determined by Design Believes in High-End Design for All

The Washington, D.C.–based firm specializes in “equitable design outcomes” by steering developer clients toward thoughtful, high-end interiors for affordable and supportive housing.

Kia Weatherspoon, an Air Force veteran as well as a designer, launched her firm, Determined by Design, in 2012 to give residents of affordable housing access to interiors normally reserved for market-rate properties. “A big part of our equitable design process is educating our development partners. We design to change lives,” Weatherspoon says.

Enigma chandelier

Enigma chandelier “A perfect decorative light fixture can make a statement and add character.”

light stone wall

Cumberland Stone brick “Varying textures and finishes are a big part of creating an elevated aesthetic. We specify them from a single vendor to keep the cost within budget.”

patterned textile sample

Avant, Redox Tandus Centiva carpeting


Mining for Coal by Kim Johnson “It’s often overlooked in affordable interiors, but placing art is among the first things we think about and advocate for.”

golden bowl

Pure Foundations Centerpiece bowl “The value of adornment is that it adds character.”


 Flex Electric Fireplace “This is a cost-effective solution for elevating a common area to a space with a sense of community.”

round white padded chair

Bohemian armchair X Patricia Urquiola “We like using hospitality vendors because of the high level of craftsmanship.”

yellow couch

Drop In sofa “For affordable housing, the tendency is to specify vinyl. Part of our process is educating [clients] that softer fabrics can be functional and beautiful.”

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