We’re going across the pond today, colorfully and eclectically, with a peek inside the book A Living Space, from London-based interior designer—and one of Annie’s personal favorites—Kit Kemp.
Over a 30-year career, Kit has been the prodigiously talented brains behind a variety of interiors, including some of the most design-savvy hotels in the Western world. As the design director of Firmdale Hotels, she’s put her indelible stamp on the Soho, Covent Garden, Charlotte Street, Haymarket, Number Sixteen, Knightsbridge, and Dorset Square hotels in London and the Crosby Street Hotel in New York City. We can’t get enough of her fearless mixing of color, pattern, and time periods to create witty, exciting, and contemporary spaces with a retro wink.
Kit’s overarching message in A Living Space is that design isn’t something that should intimidate; it should be embraced and enjoyed in all its rule-breaking glory. She’s all about a bespoke approach to interior decorating in which you trust your instincts, take some risks, and cleverly combine more affordable pieces with investments and heirlooms. “A great space need not be the most glamorous or luxurious,” writes Kit. “It is how personal and interesting you make it, how much it reflects you, your interests and your humour, that lends it a warm welcome.”
A Living Space offers insider tips on fabric (hint: Kit’s a major collector), unique and custom décor, how to work with scale, bringing the outdoors in, mixing the antique with the modern, contrasts (color, shapes, and time periods), incorporating art, and . . . dogs. It’s true: the dog-crazy Kit loves to add a bit of whimsy to a room in the form of a dog-decorated pillow, lamp, barstool, artwork, and more. She also delves into how a range of the everyday to the spectacular inspires her, from a surreptitious peek inside a home while out for a stroll on a London street, a dusky sky during a horseback right, a Parisian fashion show, or a pile of fabrics at a Turkish bazaar.
If you didn’t have a chance to pick up Kit’s book when it was first released, you’ll want to grab a copy now. We promise you’ll keep turning to it for advice for years to come.