Skip to main content

A Tribute to Robert Kime

Our Design Studio and I are saddened by the recent news that Robert Kime has passed away. He leaves a legacy of accolades as a renowned interior decorator, fabric designer and antiques dealer. We are so proud to have known Robert Kime. He once came to our house and mentioned that he often advised his clients in London to turn the best room in the house into the kitchen. This was a light bulb moment for us and we turned a stuffy dining room that faced the garden into a well loved kitchen. We will be forever grateful for his advice. Robert had a dry wit and he was not a minimalist. He once said, “I like a room where I have to walk around lots of furniture to get where I am going”,  we will miss this design genius greatly…

Robert Kime was known for his distinctive style of generously mixing antiques with layered textiles which were often created by himself. He worked his magic on the homes of Daphne Guinness, the Duke of Beaufort and most famously, the Prince of Wales. With a lifelong interest in rugs and textiles they made robust appearances in Robert’s homes and projects. Having decorated some of England’s foremost houses with an air of natural permanence, his large stock of antique textiles started to dwindle. This led Robert to begin designing his own fabrics in 1983, a practice he had carried on since. We admire his extensive collection and sourcing of document pieces. Robert’s company is based in Ebury Street, London and also in Marlborough, Wiltshire. Under the leadership of Managing Director Orlando Atty, the company embodies the broad and unique sensibility of Robert Kime.

Claire Jackson, Robert Kime and Orlando Atty

Kime, being an antique lover, collector and dealer, maximised the utilisation of antiques in his interior schemes. In decorating this drawing room of an English country house, he sourced antiques along with furniture and antique portraits. Robert Kime once said, “to have a room with no pattern is to have a room that is rigid”. Combining and layering patterns are the design tools that give a room its voice. Mixing and matching antique textiles amplify that school of thought.

Kime was also renowned for using Ikat in his interiors as well as creating Ikat-inspired textile designs. He was particularly fascinated with ‘Khiva Ikat’ which was traditionally made on very narrow looms, creating textile pieces about 30cm wide, which guaranteed unique patterns. The design below is Robert Kime’s Termez Blue.

When mixing textiles, Kime treated the pattern as a block colour. He was not averse to using bold colours as well as juxtaposing various patterns. He advised the use of more muted background colours to allow the patterned pieces to ‘sing’. In one of his homes, pale blue neutral walls offset the armchairs which are upholstered in Robert’s own Tynemouth Ticking fabric as well as the ottoman which is covered in an eighteenth-century Turkish textile.

An inspired design is Tiffany’s Library at Covent Garden Hotel where we have used Kime’s Versailles linen for the roman blinds.

Kime also collaborated with fabric houses to launch extraordinary textiles. Like us, he also contributed in crafting a collection for Chelsea Textiles. An interpretation of the quintessential English style, his collection entailed subtle hand-embroidered fabrics on light linen backgrounds. We love that they effortlessly echo English heritage textile patterns.

Left/Top: 'Arya', inspired by original C17th hangings. Crewelwork incorporates different hues of blue in a large-scale floral pattern. Faithfully embroidered by hand with great attention to detail. Right/Bottom: 'Hardwick', a very large scale tree of life embroidery, inspired by original C17th bed hangings. Faithfully embroidered by hand with great attention to detail.
Left/Top: 'Duchess', a marvellous crazy C17th Tree of Life, recreated with some very unusual stitches. Found as a door curtain at Quenby Hall in the 1970s. Right/Bottom: 'Oberon', a traditional small repeating floral pattern with embroidered panels, compliments well with the Nalia design - embroidered by hand.

We are truly grateful for all the design decisions that Robert Kime has inspired us to make. Thank you Robert for breaking the shackles of design with innovative use of antiques, layering textiles and patterns. Your legacy will not be forgotten.

Robert Kime 1946 – 2022

Back to top
Our website uses cookies to improve your experience. By continuing to browse our site you are agreeing to our cookie policy.