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Keia McSwain’s Modern-Meets-Organic Home

A blank canvas might intimidate some, but for NeKeia “Keia” McSwain, it’s a welcome creative opportunity. When the award-winning interior and product designer moved into her brand-new townhouse in Denver in 2022, being the first person to live there was a plus. “It allowed me to grow and evolve with the space as I went along,” she says.

The principal of her eponymous firm and president of the Black Interior Designers Network, whose work has been published in such magazines as Architectural Digest, House Beautiful, and Forbes, Keia soon developed a game plan. “I envisioned this home being a place that felt like someone had lived here forever,” she says. “I wanted it to be warm and collected.”

Partnering with Arhaus, who provided furniture and accessories for the bedrooms, living and dining rooms, and office, enabled her to realize this vision. “They offered me everything I needed to create the perfect piece of art, which is the space, the home in its entirety,” she explains. “Their attention to detail and craftsmanship was the home run for me.”

Keia took her time curating the space, which exudes a glamorous, global feel thanks to cherished artwork and treasures she’s collected during her world travels, from an African sheath and Brazilian tortoise lock to golden scarabs from Indonesia gleaming on the wall. “I’m a discovery designer and I want my home to reflect what I’ve gathered over time,” she says. She paired these items with “amazing foundational pieces from Arhaus,” whose sustainably sourced designs feature the earthy tones and rich textures—think burlwood, ebony, velvet, and bouclé—she favors.

This compelling combination is on full display in the living area. Taking her cues from the subdued tones of a soulful Jas Knight painting called Elegy for Ethan that presides over the room, Keia selected a Fresno Sofa in rich, chocolatey velvet. She loves its sculptural silhouette and comfortable, modern curves, saying “this is where you can find me after a long day, relaxing with a glass of wine.” Next to it is a Fresno Swivel Chair in creamy bouclé, rounding out the seating area and lending a cohesive look.

Fresno’s earthy color scheme is echoed in the Corey Sideboard across the room. Keia’s favorite piece in the home, its clean-lined contours and swirling grain beautifully capture the modern-organic mood she sought.

I envisioned this home being a place that felt like someone had lived here forever. I wanted it to be warm and collected.

Keia McSwain Principal Designer, NeKeia + Co.

Her primary bedroom is also distinguished by an earthy elegance. Doubling as a vanity and display table for décor and incidentals, the Parsons-style Tamarind Console is artisan-crafted in Indonesia of exotic tamarind wood whose patchwork of tones and textures boasts one-of-a-kind beauty. “Duality is key for me,” she explains. “You have to figure out ways to make your pieces work for you.”

Anchoring the interior is the Maya Bed. Wrapped in woven rattan mesh and cane with sheltering wings, its design is finished in black-on-black to enhance the room’s moody ambiance. To ensure the sultry space was sufficiently bright for her to work from bed when she wanted, Keia installed an Arrow Brass Chandelier. Fit with mouthblown glass bulbs, the airy, modern design introduces a touch of metal to the mix, its burnished-brass frame striking an asymmetrical pose overheard.

When Keia is in need of a staycation, she decamps to the guest bedroom across the hall. Swathed in Rafaela Cork Wallpaper, the natural colors and abstract motif are at once relaxed and refined—the ideal ambiance for a room she calls her “retreat, my home away from home.” Here, a low-profile, craftsman-built Rigby Bed beckons with plush, oxblood velvet upholstery and a luxe, pillow-back headboard. For lighting, she chose a Nikita Pendant, its handwoven, tiered rattan shade adding rich texture and an appealing “boho, coastal vibe.”

“This place gave me the ability to dream,” she says, “and the partnership with Arhaus enabled me to bring those dreams to life.”