Most designers, when they graduate from interior design school, spend some time working under a senior designer on their first professional projects. Not Isaac Musket. Upon finishing his work at Portland Community College, he joined design/build firm C&K Custom Remodeling, jumping into his role as lead designer with his first remodel.
“It was completely surreal for me,” says Musket.
While still in school, Musket experimented often with bold color, with the understanding that much of what he would work on afterward — or at least what he thought he’d work on — would be neutral or white kitchens. But he found in this client a perfect partner, who came to the project with elements she knew she wanted: green countertops, terra cotta on the floor and an artistic use of tile. The two bonded over their shared love of watching hand-painted tile videos on Instagram and their affinity for bold choices.
“Most people would think: ‘I could never … ’ But with this client, she is always thinking: “Well, yes, I can.”
The first stage of the large-scale renovation — for a gallerist who had worked for decades in New York City before returning to Oregon — encompassed the kitchen and dining nook, with a bathroom on the horizon. Musket mixed more traditional wood cabinets with showstopping finishes like quartzite countertops and hand-painted tile from Southern Oregon company Kibak. A whimsical tropical wallpaper paired with grass cloth turns the nook into an unexpected moment without overpowering the room.
Six months out of school, Musket has a full project finished, as well as an emerging sense of who he is as a designer who finds a magic mix in historic and contemporary styles. And he has helped build out the entire design side of the company he has worked for, which previously only used outside designers for its projects.
“It honestly feels so amazing and unexpected,” Musket says.
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