Kit, and Kaboodle

There is something about rooms designed by Kit Kemp that makes me want to settle in with a good book. So I am so glad that book can now be Kit's very own! Kit Kemp has been on my design radar for quite awhile. I love her confident and striking use of textiles and her talent for layering patterns, her use of antiques mixed with modern and a strong dash of quirky accessories thrown in.

I was so happy to receive a copy of her book, "A Living Space" from the kind folks at Rizzoli! As you know, Rizzoli never fails to produce wonderful design books with beautiful photographs, wonderful quality paper, and gorgeous covers. I am not sure about you, but I do love a beautifully designed book!

So here is but a sampling of the talented Kit Kemp's work to get your attention.....

Kit Kemp's own cozy an happy!
Kit Kemp resides in London, and it seems to me she does have an English flair in her approach to design. It all seems to be about comfort and livability while also being lovely. Antiques are prevalent, but Kit also brings in whimsical touches, Flea Market finds and contemporary art to bring a space to life.

Kit is also very well known for her co-ownership of the Luxury hotel group, Firmdale. She, of course, is also the design director. The hotels are in New York and London and can credit their success with the brilliantly stylish interiors. Many f the hotel interiors can be found in the pages of A Living Space, although it is sometimes hard to distinguish between private residences and the lovely hotels. In my opinion, that is why her hotel design has been such a huge success. They are luxurious, while personal and cozy and feel like a home away from home.

303 Convent Garden in New of the many hotels Kit has designed.
Kit designs so many of the fabrics and rugs. It looks like almost all of her upholstery is bespoke. The fabrics that are not designed by Kit are often vintage textiles that are unique and so beautiful. Kit says she starts her design concepts  with inspiration from textiles.

Kit seems to be able to give herself permission to design both traditional and contemporary spaces without  any qualms. The thread that seems to hold her design quality together s the confidence to have a vision and see it through with a sense of humor and an adventurous spirit.

In the book, Kit writes about the elements she considers in her designs. She devotes a chapter to Bespoke and one-of-a-kind items and how they are so important to make a space one's own. She discusses the importance of keeping the scale of the architecture in mind bringing the outside scale into play with the interiors. She talks about mixing antiques with modern elements. Her opinion that the stories told by antiques are important for a modern space to keep it from being sterile. And vice versa, modern touches will help a traditional space from being dated and too staid. (A woman after my own heart!) She is a proponent of contrast...whether in style, color or texture. Mixing things up will always be more interesting. Kit also talks about bringing nature inside...using organic pieces in a space "to make it feel comfortable rather than grand". Hear, hear! And this is something anyone can do in their own home. Find and interesting branch and put it on top of an armoire.....put shells or rocks in a silver bowl.

And dogs.....Kit has a love of dogs, devoting a whole chapter to man's best friend. She uses their images in art, upholstery and accessories....and of course the living a breathing variety are always welcome!

She talks about collections....after all, life is a series of collections....of memories and things that help us remember.

Perhaps most importantly,  she talks about taking risks and also of living with things you love. Yes...we should all do that.

I love her philosophies about life and design....especially her opinion that....

 "too much is never too much."

A Living Space
by Kit Kemp, Hardie Grant 2012
All photos by Simon Brown