My new favorite…

Kathryn Ireland has been all over the blogosphere lately. Now, this Kathryn is the interior designer – not to be mistaken with Kathy Ireland – the swimsuit supermodel…also talented, but in a different way.

I first noticed Kathryn’s work in a February issue of House Beautiful when I fell in love with her design in a spread called “Reimagining an Old Charmer”.  Here’s a little sample so you can see what I mean.

I love the way she drapes fabric over the back of the sofa below. Makes me think of the tapestries I used to decorate with in my college apartments (albeit, a tad more stylish).

Look at this table with it’s beautifully detailed base paired with simple vintage kitchen chairs. I bet a few of you out there own those chairs right now!

What I love about her work is that the finished rooms still feel accessible.  Sure, most of us can’t afford her $300 throw pillows (let’s face it, there are times when $30 seems like a splurge), but I find her interiors inspirational for their very livable qualities.  In some ways, I could pull together a pretty good approximation of this look with the things I already own in my home. It’s the colorful mix and match of fabrics, the old furniture, and the way she incorporates the high end items with flea market finds and hand-me-downs. You can understand her design philosophy when you read her own words (from a Huffington Post article) about how she likes to design a bedroom:

Layering of colors, patterns, and textures, along with a playful or unexpected juxtaposition of periods and styles is a great way to autograph your inner sanctum — for example, an 18th century Gustavian chair alongside a Jacques Adnet desk from the 40’s. Or Moroccan rag rugs underneath an English Chesterfield sofa. Re-upholstering pieces you already own is a great way to re-use and re-cycle. A piece that has lived in another room could be given a new life just by simply changing location. Now is the time to experiment with things you already own. A worn-out dress, an Indian sarong, or an old dressing gown can easily be artfully repurposed into bed pillows.

Wow – if I’m not mistaken, those last two sentences are an example of a big time Los Angeles designer talking about redesign (shameless plug for my services). Here are a few of her bedrooms:

So why do I like her so much? Well, you’ve heard me talk about my design style before – my dream clients come to me with rooms full of things that have traveled with them for years. Hand-me-down chairs, outsider art, old china cabinets repurposed in bedrooms, family heirlooms, and that odd new thing you just can’t live without. I’ve got a friend with her eye on a pink paper-mâché pig right now. We’ve already found a place for it – in the formal living room right next to the vintage ice box re-purposed as a funky liquor cabinet and a red velvet antique sofa. I must say, it’s gonna be perfect.

Stray Dog Designs - pink pig

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