Q&A with DE­SIGNER KIM STEPHEN

Décor - - Organic Chemistry -

De­signer Kim Stephen is best known for her art­ful com­bi­na­tions of jux­ta­posed tex­tures, un­ex­pected color against neu­trals, and old and new ac­ces­sories.

Q: What char­ac­ter­is­tics do you strive to em­body in your de­signs?

A: My de­sign style bal­ances vi­brant en­ergy with re­laxed liv­abil­ity— it’s an aes­thetic that is both play­ful and el­e­gant. I aim to cre­ate spa­ces that are so­phis­ti­cated as well as easy to live in. My mother has worked in the in­te­rior fab­rics busi­ness since I was very young, so I grew up around color and tex­ture. Fab­rics are now the most ex­cit­ing part of a project for me.

Q: How is de­sign­ing a sec­ond home dif­fer­ent from de­sign­ing a pri­mary res­i­dence?

A: Sec­ond homes are used dif­fer­ently, so the prac­ti­cal­i­ties re­quired in a pri­mary res­i­dence can of­ten fall away. In place comes the need—for ex­am­ple, in a beach home—for great en­ter­tain­ing spa­ces, out­door show­ers, zones for dif­fer­ent gen­er­a­tions within the fam­ily to en­ter­tain their own friends. It’s a lot more fun, but it’s vi­tal to un­der­stand how the fam­ily uses the home and likes to re­lax in or­der to pull it off ef­fec­tively.

Q: If you could have a sec­ond home any­where in the world, where would it be and why?

A: I would love a home set amongst the vine­yards at Pam­pelonne just near Saint-Tropez in the South of France.

The sparkling blue Mediter­ranean Sea and a long stretch of beach are just a minute’s walk away; the vi­brant and jaw­drop­pingly beau­ti­ful town of Saint-Tropez is just around the cor­ner with fab­u­lous shop­ping and restau­rants. And yet when you are tucked away in the vine­yards of Pam­pelonne, you could be deep in ru­ral France with­out an­other per­son in sight.

Q: What style would you use to dec­o­rate it?

A: It would be pared back and low-key with terra-cotta floors—a nod to tra­di­tional Provençal style—large white linen so­fas, a few pas­tel col­ors to com­ple­ment the light in the area, im­pact­ful art, and zero clut­ter. De­spite the fact that I am a big fan of in­te­rior ac­ces­sories, in this en­vi­ron­ment, I feel that less is best.

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