House Guest: Kit Kemp

House Guest: Kit Kemp

‘I like spaces to tell a story and lift the imagination as I travel through them,’ says Kit Kemp, co-founder and creative director of the Firmdale luxury hotel group. A true polymath, alongside interior designer, Kit is an author and textiles, homewares and fragrance designer. On her design philosophy, Kit says, ‘it pays to be bold – stick to your guns’ - an ethos which certainly plays out in her interiors, fusing beautiful design with a sense of relaxed intimacy - spaces to be lived in, and loved.

This year at Chelsea Design Centre’s annual design event, Focus, Kit has partnered with our sister company, Blithfield to curate their stand. We met the design guru to hear about the collection and quiz her on colour, design and inspiration... 

WW: What are your earliest creative memories?

KK: I was forever rooting through my mother’s chest of drawers where she kept lots of different fabrics. She had an old Singer sewing machine and I spent lots of time making things. When you're young you can do anything; I even re-covered a sofa! I had two brothers and was a Tomboy. I could climb a tree as well as they could - I love interior design because I'm working on a building site, climbing up ladders... Being an interior designer you're not needed if the place looks good.

WW: Where do you start with a room/project?

KK: The aspect of the room is important and the amount of light that comes into it. I look at the age of the building and the shape of the room. I might get inspiration from a textile, a found object or a beautiful weave. The key to creating an interesting space with depth is to mix the old and the new. This is how we design a beautiful space which tells a story.

WW: What’s your philosophy on mixing colour and pattern?

KK: Adding colour to interiors is an instant way to lift spirits - it adds joy; colour makes you happy. It is easier to have a plain wall and then add the pattern into the room. I will only use one large repeat, one small repeat and possibly a smaller geometric, otherwise, it won’t be a restful experience‎.

WW: How did you go about designing the Blithfield collaboration?

KK: It began with Fine Cell Work - a charity which teaches British prisoners how to embroider -  when they asked us to suggest ideas on how to use some Blithfield fabrics. We came up with ways to embellish the collection with hand stitching and embroidery. Blithfield shares our love of textiles and craft; their new collection is a celebration of intricate embroideries and bold, colourful prints on a beautiful slubbed linen to give a hand-blocked effect.

WW: What are your rules for designing/decorating interiors?

KK: The great thing about experience is that you can break the rules. At the end of the day, it’s about tone, texture, scale, dimension and functionality. There always has to be a harmonious thread moving from room to room.

WW: And, finally, we ask all our House Guests - which Wicklewood pieces would you style together?

Kit Kemp's favourite Wicklewood scatter cushions

Shop Kit Kemp's favourites: Kirby cushion, Osborne rug and Fern cushion

See The Kit Kemp edit at the Blithfield stand at Focus, Chelsea Design Centre until Friday 20th September.

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