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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Interview of a Color Maven

Recently I saw Kathryn M Ireland speak at Dan Marty Design during the PDC West Week and was really enthralled by her use of color and "found items". I also loved her room at the Greystone Mansion this past year, images of which you can see in Veranda Magazines dedicated issue from this past winter. Not only is she incredibly personable and very funny, as you can see her personal sense of beauty and design has a signature all her own! Here is an interview that I did recently with her:

Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started as a designer?

I started designing by chance when years ago Steve Martin came to my house, loved it and asked me to help him find and design a house for him. Other people did the same and offered me to help them with their houses.

I am basically untrained except I took a course in college on textile and design, which btw, the only thing I really learned was which way the warp and weft went. I was the only one to sign up for the class and honestly did so because I was sure the teacher wasn’t going to show up… No such luck!

What is the most unique room you’ve ever designed?

I did a project for director Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, Forest Gump etc.) He asked me for a ‘screening crypt.’ For it, among other things, I made a coffin coffee table and when you opened it up it had bright pink satin lining. You can just image Dracula popping out… he would have been very comfortable in there!

What is the most popular decorating style you are asked to design?

Comfortable and casual. My style is English manor meets French country meets Malibu beach.

Do you use a sketchbook, idea notebook, or inspiration board to explore new ideas?

Yes all of those, and also endless amount of photographs from my camera.

Have you ever been stuck in a “creativity rut”? How did you break out of it?

Every now and again, and I go to France and chill. Always works.

Where do you find inspiration for your incredible rooms?

All over the world. Also, where I’ve lived. I was lucky enough as a teenager to live in a Palladium Villa in the Veneto region of Italy. In fact, I’ve lived in everything from a Palladium Villa to a fisherman’s cottage to a cow barn; all inspirational.

What are the most popular colors or palettes you’re seeing this year?

I just concentrate on what I’m doing. I see what I want to see and I want to see color. My life is always full of colors.

What styles do you prefer in your own rooms?

Mixture, eclectic; a mixture of items that I love and have to have. It could be something Gustavian, French Rococo, Chippendale…or a piece of driftwood that I’ve picked up on a beach. If something has an innate quality, a beautiful quality, they all work together.

What room is giving you the biggest decorating challenge right now?

I’ve just been working on a project where we had a garage that we converted into a room. It went through many design planning incarnations; a disco, a gift shop—and now its a meditation room. It evolved after many ideas were considered.

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