Here at Kit Kemp Design Studio we have FIVE C’s at the core of our aesthetic: Colour, Craft, Character, Comfort, and Curation. Of course we should also add a sixth one, the Cost – as you must never forget about that. These all apply whether you are putting together the largest building or the smallest room. You don’t want to design a room that’s forgettable. There has to be something that sparks a chord and makes it unique. This week I go over THE FIVE C’s that make unforgettable interiors.
Our style is best described as carefree and colourful – colour always brings a smile. After busy days in London and New York, I love to return to rooms filled with light and colour.
We love all colours, but there always needs to be a neutral thrown in to give the room some breathing space. It is important to be bold, not frantic.
Firstly, I look at the aspect of a room and decide how we want it to feel. If it’s north-facing, a dark navy-blue wall will seem uninviting and heavy, whereas a more reflective and lighter tone of blue will bring a hint of warmth and work better. We can then add touches of dark navy to the piping of a chair or a trim on the leading edge of a curtain. This means we can still get the feel of darker shades, without overwhelming a space that lacks light. Conversely, in a south-facing room with good light, we can use denim on the walls with a contrasting colour for the curtains, such as a patterned fabric with a bright pink trim, which will please the eye.
Craft Council’s Collect Art Fair is always a highlight in my calendar. It brings together the world’s best craft galleries. Here at our studio, we love using an eclectic mix of art and craft together. I am constantly collecting fabrics on my travels, finding unique and often handmade fabrics that are exotic and different. We use them in a number of ways, whether pulled across a canvas and hung on the wall or framed in Perspex. A delicate embroidered sampler, simply framed, becomes a work of art.
Creating a scheme with character is essential if you want your room to have integrity. Building a story within a space is the key to our designs. Whilst finding new pieces is always exciting, include some antiques and even weather-beaten items because variety makes a space special.
We are all about warm and comfortable spaces. Getting the lighting right is so important. We try to avoid using spotlights where possible, especially in spaces such as living rooms, libraries and bedrooms. These rooms are meant to be warm and inviting. We tend to use low level lighting with table lamps, standing lights and picture wall lights.
Styling is a key component to making a room feel lived-in but also curated. It’s a tender balancing act between keeping things personal, whilst also elevating the space. I have often been known to celebrate the art of collections. As soon as you start to bring a multitude of pieces together, what might seem like small decorative objects immediately start to look powerful and intentional.
Using a console as a space to display a group of similar vases, candle sticks or chinaware is a brilliant way to create interest and achieve a level of design-led styling.
So there you have it, THE FIVE C’s!
Colour, because it’s the key to happiness.
Comfort, because you have to feel comfortable in that room and never want to leave.
Craft, because we love things that are artisanal, whether a ceramic pot or a lamp base. A machine can make the same thing over and over, but each object made by a craftsperson will always be different and that ‘made-by hand’ look is something we love.
Character, because every room tells a story.
And finally curation, because the devil is in the detail.