Designers We Love | Molly & Aymee of Light & Dwell
With your best friend by your side, you can do anything! Running an interior design business is no exception. Longtime friends, Aymee Kuhlman and Molly Kidd, are doing just that at Light & Dwell. Dive into our Q&A to learn about their business, style, and how they’re embracing the digital design world.
Aymee and Molly met in Young Life and have carried their friendship through the years. In 2016, the pair founded Light & Dwell out of their shared passion for design, interiors, and building relationships. Their goal is to help their clients create places of rest, community, and memories. Whether they are working with clients locally or creating virtual designs for people around the country, Aymee and Molly help to make home interior dreams come true!
Q&A WITH MOLLY & AYMEE
What are some tips you’d share with friends who are interested in starting a business together?
DO IT! Having a partner is the best! Couldn’t do it on just one skill set! Together we’re the dream team. Look for someone who you honestly like and respect and who is easy to communicate with. You enjoy doing anything with them. Molly and I would have fun flipping burgers at McDonald’s while sipping on soda water!
What should someone know and understand about their partner before starting a business together?
Know yourself, know your partner. What are your gifts, what do you want your roles to be, how do you settle conflict? We joke that we’d didn’t do any of these things… We sort of “eloped” and just jumped in… It’s worked out great so far! But, honestly we had spent a lot of time together and had some experience working together before!
What qualities do you appreciate most about each other?
Aymee: I love that Molly is so positive, I trust her as a human (and in business), she loves to laugh, she loves to help others and will do whatever it takes for it to be a home run!
Molly: I love that Aymee is hilarious, super organized, a go-getter, and pushes me on the daily. She is so well connected and great with people. I joke that I never want to go into any business meeting without her next to me!
You’ve been in business since 2016. What is the most important thing you’ve learned in that time?
COMMUNICATION! It’s the key. We work together 2-3 days a week and even though we have different roles, we talk about everything! Being honest about feelings, dreams, and things we wish were different or aren’t working. When we started Molly had one kid and Aymee was just entering the teen years… We needed the business to be flexible and fluid as we navigated adding to our family and being “around” for the teen season.
What is the best thing about owning your own business?
Flexibility, it’s so fun and hard, we are in control of where we want our business to go, we can dream as big as we can! We love it!
What sparked the idea to offer virtual design services?
The need. There is such a need for good virtual design that wasn’t cookie cutter. Full Service is a great fit for the few… VD can fit so many needs! We make it personal, efficient, and affordable. Our clients love it and we love helping so many more people all over the country.
Questions for Aymee:
You are the business director and manage client relations. How would you describe your role in Light & Dwell projects?
My role is people, people, people! I talk to people all day long, describing what we do.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received in your career?
Have a “yes” face and a “yes” life! Challenge the “no” in your response to a situation, opportunity, or person. Am I being driven by fear or stress or this an opportunity to think broader in problem solving, live out our values in a situation, and/or how can we help!
What apps or programs keep you organized and on top of things?
Google docs is life, email: I love you. Debi, our bookkeeper, is the bomb a mentor who is always encouraging me to live more by automating all things! Oh, and I have a spiral notebook where I write EVERYTHING down… Journal entry, notes, grocery lists, to-do’s.
You remodeled a home built in the 50’s. What inspired you during this remodel?
In high school my best friend’s family had a house right across the street from the high school. We ate lunch there, got ready for games and dances, and baked cookies (well, made cookie dough and ate the dough) at her kitchen table. Six years ago when our oldest was starting high school we bought a house across the street from the high school and created the same thing! It was such a diamond in the rough, my son cried and ask if my husband had lost his job and that was why we were moving there.
As far as the design… I wanted it simple, clean, to stay with the era, super hard wearing with high school kids, and now we list it on Airbnb.
Questions for Molly:
You are the creative director and lead designer. What inspires you when designing for a client?
So many things! But to break it down, it all starts with meeting the client. For full service, I take some time getting to know them, their needs, and their lifestyle. From there, I start to think about the bones of their home (if it’s a remodel), their design style, and the overall function and feel the client desires for their home. From there, I get to work creating a mood board for each space, and gathering samples that are inspiring the project. I present that to the client, and if I’m headed in the right direction, I start designing!
Do you have to think differently when creating a virtual design board versus working directly with a client in their home?
For virtual design, I have a team of designers who create the designs for our clients. I then review them and make edits before sending them off. For virtual design, our team is thinking about budget, and selecting items that the client has requested. For full service, I’m the lead designer on the project, and I’m communicating with the client weekly for sometimes up to a year! The design process is from concept to completion. We only take on a few full service clients a year, so those projects and clients take on the bulk of my time.
You are building and designing your own home! How does this experience differ from working with clients?
Oh my goodness, it’s SO different. When I’m designing a clients home it’s typically really clear the direction in which I see the design headed. Everything is organized, set in stone, and nothing changes. For my own house, it’s the opposite! I’m constantly introduced to new things, which then makes me change my mind on the direction I see things going. I feel really grateful to build my own home, but I’m ready to solely focus on clients again!
What design rule do you love to break?
I love mixing antique finds with brand new items. I don’t know if that’s a design rule to break? But I love doing that!
Rapid Fire Questions for Aymee and Molly:
A trend you love?
Aymee: All things dark and moody, especially paint color
Molly: Mushroom cabinets! I love them so much, they’re going in my own home.
Favorite film or television show?
Aymee: Meatballs, a 1980’s classic comedy about camp. Both Molly and I were on Young Life staff that does a ton of camping for kids. So many funny lines in that one.
Molly: It’s a toss up between The Bachelor, The Office, The Food Network, and Dateline. I know, all so different, but it depends on my mood!
Three words to describe your style?
Aymee: 1. Whatever. 2. Molly. 3. Says. She tells me what to wear and not to wear, I have the utmost respect for her style and opinion, I like to be bossed around. Oh, and my adult daughters are… “brutally” honest.
Molly: 1. Classic 2. Minimal 3. Earthy
Favorite paint color?
Aymee: Iron Mountain by Benjamin Moore
Molly: Dark Olive by Benjamin Moore
What Instagram accounts are you loving?
How do you relax?
Aymee: Baths, Audible fiction, walking (while talking to a friend), and going to Black Butte Ranch (we bought a house and renovated it… It’s my favorite place on earth!).
Molly: SLEEPING (when I get it these days with little ones), running, watching cooking shows, and reading.