Kristine Nash Finklea celebrates more than 35 years of personal and innovative work as an interior designer and the owner of Kristi Finklea Interiors. Her passion for art and design began at a young age, and Ms. Finklea credits her success to having the confidence to recognize and develop her talent early in life. A graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University, she holds both a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Master of Arts in painting and art education. She financed her education by selling original drawings and paintings, and began her career as a public school art teacher. While working as an educator, Ms. Finklea started exploring her interest in interior design and antiques. After inheriting her father’s collection of antique furniture and decorative items, she combined her passions into a side business in antiques trading.
Eventually, Ms. Finklea’s creative eye and impressive antiques collection caught the attention of a friend who hired her to decorate an office building in Dallas. She began to dedicate more of her time to refining her design sensibilities and learning the intricacies of the interior design industry, working alongside other professionals and “just wandering antiques stores” to master the language and techniques necessary for success. Her reputation as a designer continued to grow, and she completed enough freelance design work to save the equivalent of a years’ teaching salary before leaving public schools behind to enter the field full-time.
In 1985, Ms. Finklea opened Kristi Finklea Interiors, a full-service interior design firm with a portfolio of clients across the United States. Known for her creative use of color and an unusual eye for detail cultivated by decades of world travel, she has maintained close relationships with her clients over the years and largely works by referral. She is proud to have grown with her repeat clients, and is proud of her unique ability to reinterpret and refresh clients’ existing furniture and artwork in new properties and designs. Recently, Ms. Finklea has transitioned into remote design in order to continue to meet her clients’ needs while respecting public health restrictions. She considers her work designing a “virtual kitchen” for a Dallas-based first responder to be one of the highlights of her career, noting that the entire process was conducted with only a single in-person visit to the space.
When she is not designing or shopping for interior design clients, Ms. Finklea continues her fine art practice and is an avid painter. She has studied in Italy and was selected to represent Texas artists in a Bicentennial exhibition, among other honors. Ms. Finklea is a proud member of Delta Kappa Gamma, a professional society for female educators, the former vice president of classroom teachers in Tyler, Texas, and is active in community outreach and charitable initiatives benefiting a broad range of causes. In the coming years, she looks forward to continuing her design work and hopes to resume traveling as soon as she is able, with plans to explore several European countries in the near future.