Saturday, October 5, 2013

Interior Designer Kathryn Ireland is more than just a talented designer.

Continuing along my recent theme about where do Interior Designers Shop as well as sharing some of my experiences on my trip to Los Angeles,  I wanted to introduce you to Kathryn M. Ireland.  Come along with me on a visit to her flagship showroom in Los Angeles.

No, that's not Kathryn Ireland, it's me!  I swear I did not dress to match the door of her showroom.
About Kathryn M. Ireland
Kathryn Ireland in her showroom in L.A.
You may recognize this British born L.A. designer  from her delightful appearances on the TV series Million Dollar Decorator.  You may have seen her interiors in all the top interior design magazines.  You may also have seen her on other television shows.  And in my world of design, she is also a talented designer of incredible, beautiful textiles and more. 

Kathryn is listed as one of the top 100 designers in America today. She seeks out treasures at local shops and flea markets but she also finds them on her global travels.  She has authored 4 books, raised a family and, did I fail to mention, she has a incredible home in the South of France  where she now offers retreats!  She also created a fantastic Designer Boot Camp in her design studio in L.A. She just might be my hero. 

These images are from her retreat at her home La Castellane, in France.  It is on my bucket list!
I first met Kathryn at a Kravet Fabrics showroom in our local design center (DCOTA).  She was charming and funny as she decribed her inspirations for the fabric designs she was showcasing.  That was many years ago.  Little did I know that I was to become such a huge fan.

Of course I have seen her work in many publications and her wonderful books too, but it was Million Dollar Decorators that really gave me a glimpse inside her world.   I loved seeing her interacting with her clients.  The first time I saw her she had to figure out where to put truck loads of furniture her client had bought and had stored away in a warehouse.  In another she dealt with a client who kept buying things that Kathryn was supposed to be finding for her.  There were lots of fun moments when she got together with the other designers, Mary McDonald, Jeffrey Alan Marks and Martyn Lawrence Bullard. I was so excited to see that she has to deal with so many of the same situations I deal with too.  And by the way her projects always turned out amazingly beautiful.

Her style is a playful mix of casual elegance with touches of bohemian and splashes of color.  Her zany personality really comes through in her decorating style.

Here is Kathryn atop her bed in the "I love my bed" article in House Beautiful...and she really does love her bed, and bedroom.  Isn't it enchanting?

This wall of lucious fabrics greeted me when I walked in the door along with Rebecca, the showroom manager.

This color palette is simply fun!

In some of the photos of her work I noticed Indigo is a popular colorway as is shown here.

I love this pattern....but I wish the photo were in focus. (oops) I did get a sample of this, and it is sharp and crisp in person. This one is called Graham.  It is printed on 100% Belgian linen as are many of her designs.

This pattern is a more open variation of her very first design called "Quilt" which was inspired by a motif from one of the fabrics in a nineteenth century quilt Kathryn used on her bed.  I love all the colorways it comes in.   

A design like the paisley above coordinates easily with many other patterns. Kathryn is a master at combining many patterns together in one room.  Some of my clients like the idea of mixing patterns but are nervous about how to go about it.  It does take a little finesse but it is not rocket science.  Do you like to combine different patterns?  I think that might make a good topic for a future post.  What do you think?

Rebecca showed me all the newest editions to Kathryn's line of textiles and shared that all her printed fabrics are now being hand printed in her own local studio right there in L.A..  It is fascinating to see how the designs are transformed by screen after screen. Each color is printed from a separate screen and meticulously registered on top of each other.  You can see why patterns with many screens would be more costly than one with a single screen or two.

The fresh green and bright pink combination is perfect for Florida, in fact they are often found in the elegant homes in Palm Beach.  We call them Lilly Pulitzer colors but now I know they are Kathryn Ireland's colors too.

   The variations found in hand screened fabrics makes them even more charming. 

I might like this one for my living room.  I love how it has it's own border.  Years ago there were many companies that produced designs with self borders.  I have used them down the leading edge of draperies or to band the skirt of a sofa or chair.  There are so many possibilities.
I got several samples to take with me including the one above. It is called Greta.  It is a little too turquois for my room but it probably comes in other colors.

As Kathryn travels she discovers wonderful products from exotic places.  In her showroom I spotted pillows made from "rallies" which are hand made quilts from India.  She also sells the quilts themselves.  I fell in love with them.

Kathryn is not limited to textiles, pillows, quilts and accessories of course. She has also designed furniture she herself uses for client projects, but designers like myself can also purchase them for our own clients. 

The upholstered pieces were first and foremost, comfortable.  I think if you designed a room with furniture from her collection and it was not a beautiful as well as a comfortable space Kathryn would be crushed.  I can't imagine that ever happening.

In reading one of her delightful books I found out that Kathryn began her career making pillows using some of her beautiful textiles and vintage fabrics that she had collected in her travels.  Here you see some of her current patterns. She even produces striking outdoor fabrics as well.

One day my copy of Veranda magazine arrived (August 2012).  Inside were images of the most alluring home with stone walls and French blue shutters, dining tables outside for casual gatherings and all surrounded by an amazing countryside.  It was just the kind of place I had dreamed of visiting one day.  Guess what, it was Kathryn's home in southwest France! 

After visiting her website I discovered she has invited me to come for a retreat, well not just me, she invites anyone who would like to join her and share great food, wine, lively conversations, trips to the markets and yoga and more.  I am already dreaming of getting lost in a field of sunflowers. It just doesn't get better than that!  Thanks Kathryn!

As always I invite you to share your thoughts, ideas and experiences in the comment box below.  Feel free to email me at  I would love to hear from you.

Are you planning a design or decorating project and would like some guidance?  Picture Pretty Interiors is a full service residential interior design firm, helping create the home you will love to live in.

                                         Happy Decorating!

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