KAM Design

Our designer spotlight is on a designer that’s had some experience being in front of studio lights. Kim Annick Mitchell is the founder of KAM DESIGN, LLC, based in Westchester, New York. She has served as the design lead for HGTV’s Property Brothers: Buying and Selling for three episodes in season 5 and the design lead for an episode of Property Brothers season 10. She is an accomplished designer outside of the show as well. Kim shared some of her history and thoughts on design with Hubbardton Forge.

HF: What inspired you to go into interior design?
KM:
I recently spoke at a middle-school career day and surprised the students when I told them that the bird on my business card was an art project I painted in high school. I shared this because I believe you are most fulfilled when you stay true to who you are. The arts always inspired me and are at the core of who I am. I started my career in the creative fields of advertising and marketing. I liked the right brain, left brain dynamic of the industry as ideas came to life.

Having been exposed to many TV commercial sets, I began freelancing on the weekends as a stylist but then put it aside when the demands of my full-time account management job became too demanding. It was when I bought my first home and started various design projects that I realized that I wanted to be even more involved in the creative process. Interior design fulfilled my design passion and artistic abilities while applying my client and project management experience.

HF: What was your earliest big break in the industry?
KM:
I have been very fortunate in the path to my dream job. Being accepted to Parsons the New School for Design cemented my break into the design world. There is knowledge one can learn on the job, but the rigor of the program prepared me to analyze, research, problem solve and design with confidence.

HF: How would you define your design style?
KM:
I strive to design client-inspired timeless interiors. Home design is an investment that should last more than the latest fads. While I have some design preferences, I do not subscribe to one style nor strive for a signature look. Being an artist at heart, I like each design to be a new creation, an expression of the homeowners interpreted through their lifestyle, experiences, interests and aesthetic preferences. Like a bird’s nest that is assembled together and beautifully crafted piece by piece, each space should uniquely reflect where its owners have been, where they are going, and most importantly, always be a place where they feel perfectly at home whenever they return.

HF: Do your clients usually have a strong idea of what they want for a design or do you drive the discussion?
KM:
My clients know what they want functionally for their spaces and how they live which is the jumping off point. I have a thorough interview process where I gain an understanding of the lens through which I will design the concept. Through this homeowner question and answer process, I gain a general style direction, as well as color preferences. I also assign design homework that we review together. This exercise gives me a general design field and then I create a design that is uniquely for them. My clients do not come to me to duplicate what they have seen somewhere else. It’s my goal to create custom designs that make the clients feel perfectly at home and at the same time elevate the interiors with designs that they might not imagine on their own.

HF: What would be your dream design project?
KM:
I love the ability to fulfill homeowners’ dreams for their homes and the wonderful relationships that residential projects enjoy, yet I would love someday to do hospitality work, especially a boutique hotel lobby. I love conceptualizing ideas. Hospitality allows a designer to push boundaries and play a bit more with fantasy, art and drama. A lobby should be like an interactive art installation in which guests are transported and inspired.

HF: What was your most memorable design challenge and how did you address it?
KM:
Working with The Property Brothers was an amazing experience and a design challenge simply because of the exceedingly fast TV production pace. It required both flexibility and problem-solving skills. Always having a back-up plan became the key to success as once the train left the station, there was no stopping!

HF: What design trend do you wish would go away?
KM:
Trends in general are not a driving force in my designs. I certainly love design innovation like you see in the lighting industry and Hubbardton Forge with LED lighting, but saying a color is in or out is counter to design in my opinion. Would Monet or Picasso not paint in a color because it was ‘out?’ While home websites have been wonderful for sharing great design and for inspiration, I think there is a trend of design imitation that I wish would go away. Designing is an artistic endeavor and I tell my clients that our goal should never be to enter their home and see my home or their neighbor’s home. I want homeowners to feel free to express their individuality and create a home that is a sanctuary for their family, not to please the outside world.

HF: What design trend do you wish would make a comeback?
KM:
I wish living rooms would make a comeback. Many homeowners when we first meet mention the fact they don’t use their living room. When I investigate further I understand that they have this image in their heads of their living rooms from their childhood. The living rooms of the past conjure up memories of an adults-only “no touch” space, but it absolutely does not have to be like this. Living rooms can be one of the most fabulous lounging spaces. They just need to be designed in a way that is comfortable and welcoming. I am getting many requests recently for bars in living rooms that speak to the desire for hospitality. Some of the homes I’ve worked on are older homes that were designed with only one living space so I tailor my design so that this space can be adapted for adults only or family time. The living room is a space where there should be no TV; a space that promotes conversation, reading, quiet time, and family and friends time, all in front of a roaring fire. We could all use more of these things.

HF: What is your favorite thing about the job?
KM:
Besides the fact that as an interior designer I get to create – to go from an empty space to an implemented design – when my clients see the finished design and react positively, that is the ultimate rush. Creating spaces that people can feel at home in is a privilege and it’s my dream job.

HF: You’ve used Hubbardton Forge in a number of projects – how did that come about?
KM:
I’ve been following Hubbardton Forge for years. I think I was first introduced when I discovered them for exterior sconces. The reason I have stayed a passionate fan is that I connect to their innovation process, authenticity and craftsmanship. Hubbardton Forge is constantly pushing the boundaries of what can be done with light and has really widened and contemporized the style range. Also, the fact that it is designed and forged right in Vermont gives me comfort as a designer that quality and personal artistry is at the heart of every light they create.

HF: What’s the number one piece of advice you can offer to aspiring designers?
KM:
I have a quote from author and playwright George Bernard Shaw on my desk that reads, “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” Pay attention to how you are creating yourself. I recommend creating a solid foundation of knowledge and skills through a design education. Good taste or an eye for beautiful things is not a substitute for a design degree. Then seize every experience; say “yes” enthusiastically. Every experience, however big or small, builds on the next. Failure is a part of creating yourself as you learn from it. Then, try again!

PROJECT FEATURES: KIRIGAMI SEMI-FLUSH, ARC PIN UP SCONCE, EXOS LARGE DOUBLE SHADE PENDANT,

BEACON HALL SCONCE, QUILL LED PENDANT & LISSE 2 LIGHT SCONCE

 

 

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