A few years ago, I made a trip to my design center to view the introduction of a large group of new additions to Interior Designer Kathryn M. Ireland’s fabric line. She gave an hour long presentation about her design process, then stayed afterwards for a meet and greet session. I found her self-depreciating sense of humor delightful, her energy boundless, and her talent unlimited. She is timeless.
I was absolutely enchanted by her, to put it mildly, so I was honored to be asked to review her fourth book, Timeless Interiors, and I’m excited to share a sneak peek with you!
In this section of the book, Kathryn gives a tour of client Leslie Burke’s Spanish Colonial Revival home in Palos Verdes, California. I’m a huge fan of the style, so I drank in this home like it was a very fine bottle of wine. I savored every word and image. I had a twinge of envy when I read about her renovation of a Wallace Neff classic in Ojai, but I started mentally packing my bags when I saw Leslie’s historic1924 Roland E. Coate beauty.
The clean, crisp palette compliments the deceptively simple appearance of Spanish Colonial details. Much like modern architecture, it takes a lot of work to get the connections of the different planes in the space to look seamless.
I love the pops of red in the living room. It’s one of my favorite colors, in all it’s incarnations. It adds oomph to the neutral space. Notice how Kathryn mixes three patterns in the pillow fabrics, a fourth with the throw on the back of the sofa, and a fifth in the drapery. The ability to mix patterns successfully is a truly an art.
The living room opens up to the sun/music room, making them feel as if they are one space:
The piano was a hold over from Leslie’s previous home. I can visualize a fabulous cocktail party here and it takes me to a happy place…I need to make sure I “pack” an outfit for an evening like that. One may be a proverbial party crasher, but should always dress as though they are an invited guest.
I see six patterns in this view of the music room. Count them up. Did you catch the Rogers and Goffigan lampshades? What about the large stripe on the sofas? I totally missed the patchwork poof!
Mixing is all about scale, proportion and color. As you can see on the next page, there are additional patterns that we couldn’t see in the previous image. I love the barley twist detail on the legs of the large coffee table. In a period room, this table might feel too heavy, but in this space it adds balance to the visual weight of the piano. For example, a lucite table might get lost in this room, but keeping the fabrics, finishes and furnishings light lets the table and piano shine.
Leslie has a keen eye for art, and Kathryn took care to give the collection it’s proper place. In the vignette below, I love the juxtaposition of the rustic antique Spanish chess table with the abstract artwork by Tim Woolcock.
The arrangement adds an air of quiet sophistication to both elements of the design.
The dining room is a study in casual elegance. The chairs are Italian, from Kathryn’s shop, KMI Studio (Keep your mitts off that fab drum table. I’ve got my eye on it!), and she deftly mixed fabrics from Robert Kime and Rogers and Goffigon to set the mood. I’m loving the green of the wood and iron chandelier.
The walnut trestle table is a custom piece from the Hampton’s Country Gear, while a newish oil painting from Sherrie McGraw hangs over an old 18th century chest. The sconces are vintage 1920s, while the Amadi contemporary rug pulls all of the elements together.
I can’t wait to read the rest of her book. The lush images and delightful details are inspiring and insightful, and are delivered with a heaping dose of her no-holds-barred style. I recently read a quote that I believe applies to Kathryn Ireland’s career and speaks to why she has been so successful:
That’s good advice for us all, and it applies to where you live as well. As it is with Leslie Burke, your home should be authentically, 100% you!
Published 2012 by Smith, Gibbs
Images courtesy of