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In Conversation with Kathryn M. Ireland

Kathryn M.Ireland

Whether you recognize her from her from her work on TV’s ‘Million Dollar Decorator’s’, her numerous talk show appearances, her strong online presence, one of her four books, or her features in countless magazines (including Elle Décor, Architectural Digest, Traditional Home and Vogue Living) – or maybe you’ve used her textiles – chances are good that, if you’re a design geek like I am, you’ve heard of Kathryn Ireland!

Kathryn has a signature style which exudes comfort and relaxation – yet it is never dull, with large pops of colour and a definite bohemian vibe. Completely life and family friendly spaces that keep looking better the more they are used. This style is not just seen in her interiors, Kathryn has a stunning line of textiles which enable fans of her work to bring a little piece of her style into their own homes.

Kathryn Ireland was raised in the UK, and before opening her interior design firm in the early 90’s, she came to the US with careers in clothing design, filmmaking, and as an actress. Now at the top of her field, Ireland has been named amongst the ’10 To Watch’ by House & Garden, and has appeared numerous times in the House Beautiful ‘Top 100 Designers in the United States’, we can’t wait to hear what she is willing to share with us in today’s blog interview, please read on to get in on the conversation…

Iván Meade – What was your first experience with design?

Kathryn M. Ireland – I always remember how I loved it when the housekeeper had been in and cleaned our house in London. I loved it when the house was in order with everything in the right place, and how secure I felt. I was always aware of my surroundings and after my parents took me to the Pyramids in Egypt at age two, I was forever more aware of anything bigger than me. I always thought my mother had the most exquisite taste until I met my best friend Cosima’s mom who was the ultimate original – in everything! She really became a lifelong style icon for me. She was the first person I ever knew to mix antiques and contemporary, to play with color, and to flaunt static convention – in her house, in her wardrobe, and in her conversation.

Interiors by Kathryn M.Ireland

Iván Meade – Who or what has influenced your style?

Kathryn M. Ireland – Everyone of my friends and everywhere I ever went. I chose to go to my school because it had purple uniforms and purple was my favourite color.

Interior Design by Kathryn M.Ireland

Iván Meade – There is a quality in your personal style that I really admire. You create homes for your clients, not houses. Your spaces are very livable, sophisticated, but comfortable at the same time. How do you achieve this?

Kathryn M. Ireland – I listen to my clients, I look at the room, I feel the space. You know, it’s really the talent I was born with. Some people can sing or write or paint. I know where to put things. It’s not unlike a sixth sense.

Interiors by Kathryn M.Ireland

Iván Meade –Million Dollar Decorators has become a huge hit. I think that you have stolen the show with your personality – It has exposed your life and career to the viewers, showing the good and the bad sides of design, as well as your personal life. How has your life changed since appearing on the show?

Kathryn M. Ireland – Now when I arrive at Charles deGaulle airport from LA I get hugs and kisses from fellow Americans as if I was their best friend. They feel they know me. That’s what being on a reality TV show accomplishes, I believe, much more than being an actress playing a fictional part. If you’re on a show being yourself and you come across as you and you like who you are, well, then, people feel immediately and naturally comfortable when they meet you. After being in the design business for 18 years, it’s been fantastic the experience of people publicly displaying their affection and appreciation for what I do. In my day to day life, I always feel I’m getting by and making a living; I’m not building Versailles, after all, just doing whatever is making my clients happy. So it feels rewarding that fans feel I’m approachable. It’s also very humbling.

Interiors by Kathryn M.Ireland

Iván Meade – What inspires your fabric and wallpaper designs?

Kathryn M. Ireland – There’s really no set trick or regiment , other than I travel a great deal and wherever I go I really take the time to photograph things that interest me. I notice colors, textures, and elements. It might be a carved ceiling in India or a stained glass window in a French cathedral, then again it is just as likely to be a screen saver on a computer!

Interiors by Kathryn M.Ireland

Iván Meade – Do you have a favourite technique or printing process that you like to use for your fabric and wallpapers?

Kathryn M. Ireland – I like everything to be hand-printed and I even hand-print myself. I have my own studio now because I love the whole process – mixing the colors and playing with design until I get it just right. That’s how the artist in me comes out.

Fabrics by Kathryn M.Ireland

Iván Meade – Do you have a piece from any of your collections that is your favorite?

Kathryn M. Ireland – I think my very first design is still a pattern that makes me happy to see, especially in someone else’s house. It’s called Quilt and it’s a colorways red. It’s already fifteen years old and it still makes me happy.

Quilt Fabric by Kathryn M. Ireland

Iván Meade – What are you excited about right now in the world of design?

Kathryn M. Ireland – The fact that there is so much diversity everywhere. When I was growing up style, or I should say what was considered in England “good” style and design was more or less monolithic. But now you never know what you’re going to see; you don’t know what’s ahead and that’s very exciting.

Interiors by Kathryn M.Ireland

Iván Meade – What is your guilty pleasure?

Kathryn M. Ireland – Having a cold bottle of coca-cola, the kind from Mexico where they use cane sugar.

Interiors by Kathryn M.Ireland

Iván Meade – Lastly, you have already created a stunning body of work with many mediums and styles. What would you like your legacy to be?

Kathryn M. Ireland – That it wasn’t just about my work but about who I was as a person – that people got to know me through my body of work. I’m not too serious, I’m playful and take certain risks. I don’t take myself too seriously.

I invite you to visit Kathryn M. Ireland website at: