SH: Could you share some of your favorite whites?
SK: Benjamin Moore probably has my favorite group. I recently told my brother to paint his entire house, inside and out, with Benjamin Moore’s White Dove, and it looks terrific.
SH: As much as you love white, you have a very sophisticated way with color, too. Although your rooms often read as colorful, they never seem to overwhelm. What is the secret?
SK: Yes, I’ll do bold rooms, but it’s about how I can use color strategically. You can use all colors throughout a house as long as you use the same values. But often I let color come in through details, art, and accessories or in unexpected ways. The dining room is one place that I usually use color or a paper on the walls. For a dining room I did in an Atlanta showhouse, though, I lacquered the walls in white and used color on the ceiling with blue. I had never done a white dining room before, but the ceiling had an odd pattern of beams, and this was the best way to treat it.
SH: Speaking of color, you recently collaborated with La Cornue on a collection of ranges with some pretty unpredictable shades for the kitchen, including pink and turquoise. How did that come about?
SK: I’m inspired by the way the French approach color. After I selected the colors for the collection, I realized they were similar to some ribbons I had been buying from a store in Paris for years. I agree most people wouldn’t automatically think of putting a pink stove in a kitchen, but if you get the color just right, it will appeal to everyone in a classic way. We exhibited it at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show, and you wouldn’t believe all the burly contractors who were taking pictures!
SH: Where else do you find inspiration, both for your interiors and the many product collections you design?
SK: Fashion has been a huge influence. I’m drawn to the way fashion designers put colors together, and I also like couture dressmaker details. I’ll notice a beautiful pleating or ruffle from Stella McCartney or the way Fendi uses leather. An interesting aspect about fashion is you can see an element, and then it translates in a completely different way in interiors. With my furniture collection for Hickory Chair, I design with hidden zippers, flat flanges, and custom cording. A detail on a pair of Valentino shoes might inspire a square, gold nail-head trim on a screen. A piece of jewelry stirs up something for my lighting collection for Visual Comfort. I don’t think I’m consciously aware of how I interpret and absorb visual inspiration—it can be found everywhere.