Houston Treasures

Kelly Amen

HOUSTON TREASURE FOR 2022

Photo by: Iraj Ghavidel

After obtaining a Graduate Degree in Interior Design from the University of Oklahoma, designer Kelly Gale Amen did the unthinkable: turned living with art into the art of living. Now, after almost five decades of excellence in interior design, Kelly’s name is a renowned brand.

The journey of KGA Design starts in 1974 when Kelly quit his two-year job at Foley’s to launch a brand of his own. It took two years for his work to grace the cover of a national magazine for the first time. Since then, his acclaimed interior vision has been displayed in many of the world’s biggest publications, from Vogue to Southern Accents to Residential Interiors. He designed homes, stores, boats, and even a controversial condom-filled Tiffany’s window in 1987. His projects earned him awards like Traditional Designer Of The Year in 1998, and the Texas Star of Design award in 2008.

Kelly’s work extends beyond rooms and houses and into carpentries and metal foundries. The late 20th century brought about the creation of the KGA Design Art Furniture brand, which now presents an extensive catalog of award-winning cast metal and wood furniture, as well as pillows, patterns, and commemorative benches. The pieces, all bespoke and one-of-a-kind, are to be found in institutions like the American Embassy in Moscow, the Stafford Museum, or IAH Airport.

1974 also marked the year when Kelly was a founding member of ASID – the American Society for Interior Designers. Passionate about bringing communities together, he has since created and been involved in a plethora of philanthropic projects. Ranging from developing education for children through the Zina Garrison foundation to enriching the lives of cancer patients through his own charity endeavor, Cancer Below The Belt, Kelly makes a goal out of supporting the environments in which he thrives. His actions did not go unnoticed – in 2001, he was named Humanitarian of the Year by the Texas AIDS foundation.

Today, Kelly continues to design vigorously and develop his vision to newer and newer depths. His work, past and present, can be viewed on his website, www.kga.net.

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