Whatever gift for interior design I have can be indelibly linked to my mother. My sister and I would come home from school and our mother would have rearranged everything. She was always one for evaluating her surroundings, assessing what was there and visualizing how a rearrangement would make it better.
Real decorators are never really satisfied with status quo. And rooms are really never finished. Like my mother, I’m always changing things and evolving my rooms. As the bones of my taste are English, I grew up with a grand conception of furniture and still consider the English yardstick the last word as far as comfort is concerned – deep, commodious sofas and chairs, lots and lots of pillows and throws, and rugs and rugs and more rugs. But extensive travel, more than anything else, has exposed me to a wide range of ways to utilize accessories, color and fabric. I have always been more than willing to depart from the English country home formula of chintz, Oriental rugs and formal landscapes, but as my passport becomes filled with entry and exit stamps, so too does my aesthetic sensibility expand to embrace the geometrics, colors and irregularities found in the exotic locations I frequently visit.
Inspiration from travel
You could say I suffer from a form of design jungle fever. Whether it’s Egypt, Indonesia or Peru, I’m always on the lookout for unique and authentic furnishings, textiles and pottery. Travelling has inspired me to shuffle subdued good taste to the back burner in order to foreground vibrant, saturated color stories into my interiors and fabric designs and to fearlessly mix and match items from wildly divergent periods, cultures and continents into singular spaces. I have deployed this playful lack of orthodoxy with great success for clients all over the world for years, as well as in my own residences in Santa Monica and France. All of the rooms at La Castellane have been infected with my “fever.” My office, for example, jumbles a midcentury rattan pouf with a Berber rug with an antique French gilt mirror, etc.
Somehow it all goes together in a way that seems effortless and, best of all, lived in. With the summer winding down, I’m packing to return to L.A. — not to rest, God forbid, but to prep for a fall booked with more traveling. My style, like all my rooms, will surely continue to evolve. I can’t wait to see where it takes me!
See more of Kathryn’s French home
Summers in France is an eclectic decorating book overflowing with country home design inspiration. Kathryn presents her favorite summertime recipes and entertaining tips as well as stunning before-and-after photographs of the remodeled and decorated rooms.
More home décor and style ideas
Kathryn Ireland: “There is method to my madness”
Decorating Diva: Travel-inspired home decor
Fall color and pattern trends
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