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    Kathryn M Ireland

    Kathryn M Ireland

    British-born, pre-eminent interior designer Kathryn M. Ireland is a true citizen of the world.  From her legendary “sympathetic restorations” of landmark architectural houses and hotels to extraordinary homes for the Hollywood elite, the star of Bravo’s Million Dollar Decorators brings the best attributes of grand European style and cool California chic to every project.  A die-hard fan of bold color, layering of pattern and texture, and the beauty of imperfection, Ireland’s interiors convey an easy, elegant vibe that is worldly and chic, yet effortless. Kathryn has also established herself as a major force in product manufacturing and has been dedicated to producing her bespoke textile collections, woven collections, and upholstered goods all locally in the United States.

    1. You have such an impressive and multi-faceted career. Could you tell us when and how it all started?

    I arrived in LA, met a man, got married a few months later, and in the following 4 years, I had 3 boys. One night, Steve Martin came to dinner and said how much he liked my house… could I help him? The rest is history.

    2. Would you say it has been a defining moment in your career? Could you tell us about it?

    Defining Moment – It just happened to have my granddaughter Georgina. I finally feel like a grown-up!

    3. What is your favorite type of client/project?

    Favorite client – the one who trusts me and doesn’t question me.

    4. How was working with Steve Martin? What was the best of working with him?

    Working with SM – I was new to working professionally on homes. I was renovating a French farmhouse in the Quercy region and had moved from house to house with my growing family. Thrown-up curtains here and there. He was incredibly gracious, always kind and polite. I still am the most proud of this project.

    5. What do you think is the deciding factor in a successful interior design project?

    Deciding factor. The energy of the house and the owners. I have a good radar for people; they need to be part of the project. It has to be a collaboration.

    6. Your textile designs are incredible. How would you describe your creative process and its influences? How do you get inspired?

    Gosh… My 1st collection 25 years ago was inspired by an early 19th-century patchwork quilt. I just looked at it one day and thought, I’ve got a collection. I get inspired by counties and travel. Mexico Meets Morroco came about when a client asked me to do a horse ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains. I simply asked. What was the vibe she was looking for she replied, “Mexico meets Morroco”. The latest collection. East Meets West was based on the many Suzani’s I’ve collected over the years. I was working on the Cotswolds project, a barn with large windows, not able to find the yardage of Suzanis even if I patched them together I decided to print them. The houses I take on are my inspiration.

    7. How do you combine so many aspects of your job in such a complimentary way? What is the most challenging aspect of all of this?

    I believe that houses need life, the life of the inhibitor. For the most part, it’s very apparent. It’s as if I’m a songwriter or musician it just happens… I lead the way, but the property talks to me and gets me there, to a place where the owners are completely in love.

    8. What would be the ideal place to design for you?

    Wherever I go, I want to buy a house and decorate. At this point, I’d like to have an English country house somewhere in Dorset or The Cotswolds. Ideally a bit of a hodgepodge…Elizabethan with Georgian addition. A walled garden and a fabulous approach. A place to teach Georgina how to ride…

    9. What was one of the hardest-learned lessons in your job?

    The hardest lesson – is to say NO…never take on a job for the money, even if you have to live in a bedsit. Making sure that all my T’s were crossed and I’s dotted. One has to learn the hard way. Most people are fabulous and trustworthy, but every now and again, you come across a “bad penny”. Interior design is 80% drudge, hard work, bookkeeping etc, and only 20% is icing on the cake.

    10. What advice would you give to beginner designers?

    Whatever it takes to get experience, there are online courses at Create Academy, where I have given 24 lessons…in small sound bites. A wonderful way to learn. Use your own home as a sounding board and have your project professionally photographed as soon as they are finished.

    11. If you had to summarize your creations in one word or sentence, what would it be?

    I’m a hybrid: California beach life meets French country (not crazy for that work) and English Bohemia. Down to earth, practicality rules; everything in a home needs to speak to each other.

    12. Is there a design object you would not like to live without? It so, what is it?

    Curtains – if those are appropriate. I think they frame a room; they are practical if you like in any house built before the middle of the last century and have original glass…Keeping in the warmth. A very good well, built sofa.

    13. Do you have any books/programs/podcasts to recommend to our readers?

    Any of my 7 titles!  Just kidding… World of Interiors. Million Dollar Decorators, a show I did 10 years ago for Bravo is currently trending on Netflix. It shows you what life at the top is like… not so glamorous.

    14. Anything you would like to add?

    The house has to speak to the outside and needs to be respectful of its history and surroundings. I have been fortunate to have wonderful clients, great locations, and amazing associates. I liken house design to the film business. Everyone is important and plays a part.

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