Texas-based designer Kim Lewis, no stranger to the spotlight, has come to appreciate the value of iconic design. As a production designer on “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” Lewis helped design and renovate more than 120 homes across America over the course of six years.
“No pressure there,” laughs Lewis, sitting on the back of her treasured workhorse – a vintage 1977 blue-and-white Ford F-150 Ranger she calls “Pearl.” She bought the truck after moving back to Austin from Los Angeles to launch Kim Lewis Designs, and it’s become an integral part of her global design business.
Lewis, hailing from a longtime Ford truck family, learned to drive in her grandfather’s 1978 Ford F-150. That truck remains in the family to this day, and is what inspired her to find her own vintage Ford truck. “All around Texas, people know Pearl – we’re two peas in a pod,” says Lewis. “She’s exactly what I needed to start my business and has become part of my brand. My Ford truck was built for life and built for my work.”
In 2006, working as a marketing manager for a furniture company, Lewis seized on an opportunity to design for “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” Her first project, which took her all the way to Alaska, was a success. Within two years, she would take over managing the show’s entire design team.
“I was constantly running to and from the airport to work on projects all around the country,” says Lewis. “It was a modern-day barn-raising, as we worked with local communities to help raise people up and inspire them.”
Today, Lewis designs restaurants and tiny homes all around the world – using Pearl whenever possible to travel to job sites or to deliver furniture and accessories. She recently worked on a Thanksgiving Day makeover of Dallas Fire Station No. 43 with the Dallas Cowboys, Fox Sports, Leary Firefighters Foundation and Ford Motor Company, which donated a 2017 F-Series Super Duty to the firefighters.
Lewis has also launched an accessory line to provide women in places like Ethiopia, Ghana and Honduras with sustainable economic opportunities. She frequently travels to developing countries to train and assist women, finding new inspiration for design along the way.
For details on Ford’s 40 Years Tough series, including more on Lewis and Pearl, or to share your F-Series story, visit www.40YearsTough.com.