Photography by Lauren Lieberman
While studying graphic design in Michigan, Keith Williams left college his sophomore year to take a job in ad layout at The Palm Beach Post. After nine years in newspaper design, he was offered the opportunity to work in landscape design with renowned Palm Beach architect Mario Nievera. Now a partner in Nievera Williams Design, he helps create some of the most impressive and admired gardens and outdoor spaces worldwide.
“I would’ve never guessed this is what I would be doing,” he says. After 15 years, he’s never looked back.
Words to live by: "Green side up."
Favorite pastime: Painting figurative abstract pieces. I would mix watercolor, oil and charcoal with canvas, wood or metal. I was kind of all over the place.
How he met his business partner, Mario: He bought some of my paintings.
Local project he’s most proud of: The gardens at the Royal Poinciana Chapel.
Most unique overseas design challenge: Designing a Palm Beach-style home development in China.
What he’s working on now: A Bermuda-style house.
Whom he admires in his field: Thomas Church, who was ahead of his time, and Charlotte Frieze, who has an amazing eye for detail and a great sense of spatial relationships.
What his personal landscape is like: It’s an evolving garden. It’s like a chameleon; it changes all the time.
His family roots: My mother is a master gardener, and I remember my grandmother gardening a lot.
Stress reliever: Working out.
Hobby: Taking photos on my iPhone with cool camera apps.
Favorite restaurant: Table 26. They have great gardens. (We worked on them, so I’m a little partial.)
Most prized possession: A Nikon camera my mother and father gave me when I was a freshman in high school. I won a photo award with it, so that gave me a little boost from a creative aspect.
Hidden talent: I can ride a unicycle.
Confession: I’m not a book reader. I maybe can count on my hand how many books I’ve read entirely.
Guilty pleasure: Ferragamo shoes.
How many pairs of shoes he owns: I’m not going to answer that question.
The title of his autobiography: Hurry Up. Everything seems to be so fast-paced, I think mainly because of technology. There seems to be no time to actually sit down and think about things. That’s all we deal with—our deadlines—which is fine, great. It keeps you going. It’s a challenge.
The best part of his job: The people I work with and meet.
What he’d rather be doing: Nothing. Maybe a rock star, but that’s about it.