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Dapper Designer

Josue Montes did not plan on becoming an interior designer but has found fulfillment in revitalizing spaces through design.

Interior designer Josue Montes can trace his design instincts back to his 6-year-old self. He recalls offering his opinion while furniture shopping with his parents or building living room forts that his mother described as “meticulously done.” But he didn’t begin to take interior design seriously until he moved to Kansas City in 2008. His partner wanted to make his place theirs, and it quickly became his first project. 

“I literally sold everything in his condo,” he says. “I mean everything, to the point where we’re sleeping on a blow-up mattress as I was redoing our condo.” 

When neighbors would come over for a cocktail, they’d compliment their home and ask who the interior designer was, which led Montes to more offers. He began helping his neighbors and friends of neighbors with their spaces in exchange for a nice dinner or a small fee until 2015 when he established his LLC, 1 Dapper Latino.  

He describes his style in their own home as eclectic—a little contemporary mixed with traditional. While each project’s aesthetic differs from client to client based on their desires, Montes wants to steer clear of the space feeling sterile. Rather, he aims to create spaces in which clients feel a sense of relief each time they walk through the door.  

“When you get home from a long day, I want that to be like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is paradise for me. This is home,’” he says.  

Montes finds a lot of inspiration in light fixtures and will typically center the project around this statement piece. This was true even for his first project when he remodeled his partner’s condo—the first piece he bought was a black, crystal chandelier.  

“I always say the door is the lipstick to your house, and the light fixtures are the earrings, the jewelry,” he says. “I want people’s homes to be warm.”

Establishing a sense of cohesiveness is also important to Montes, which he says can be accomplished using patterns, color, furniture or statement pieces, like light fixtures. 

“Cohesiveness—a lot of people think that everything has to be matchy-matchy,” he says. “That’s not true. You can have something that’s different, it just needs to flow. It can start from your front door all the way to your lanai, as long as there is some sort of flow.”

What he enjoys most about his job is revitalizing spaces that maybe haven’t been touched in years.  

“I do really find a true fulfillment, and it just really warms my heart to be able to breathe new life into people’s spaces,” he says. “I’m sure all the designers have the same feeling, but right now, me being relatively new to the game really legit business-wise, I feel like I still have that 6-year-old inside of me that when I look at somebody’s home, like ‘Oh my god, this is what I want to do.’”

Montes loves fashion, too and offers three men’s style tips:

  1. The RIGHT fit: “Wearing clothes that fit you properly will solve a big part of your style problems. Don’t wear clothes that are two sizes too big. Develop a rapport with a tailor who will know your measurements. I highly recommend my tailor, Rydell’s Custom Tailor in Brookside.” 

  2. A navy blue blazer: “This blazer should be a staple in your closet. It can be used casually with jeans to a happy hour and formally with slacks to a wedding.”  

  3. Keep it classic and neutral: “No trendy or graphic/logo wear. Neutrals make you look more refined and effortless.”

Bonus tip: “Wear with CONFIDENCE. If you have doubts, just send me a quick DM.”