Designer Crush: Kimberley Harrison

1. When did you first know you wanted to be a designer and how do you get your start in the industry?
 
My interest in design started when I was a little girl. I have a vivid memory of begging my parents for a pink and white bedroom (careful what you wish for because mine came with a green shag carpet!). As a teenager, I was obsessed with creating the perfect navy blue bedroom. In fact, from decorating my first apartment with limited funds to hiring a designer for my first home, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t thinking about how to create beautiful spaces. It was actually a designer that I hired who encouraged me to start my own business and once I started, I knew I found my calling.
 
2. What are some examples of how you incorporate “a touch of whimsy” into your projects?
 
Adding whimsy to a space through an unexpected element can be transformative. For example, I recently convinced one of my clients to incorporate a gorgeous dimensional purple cherry statement piece to their family room. Although the homeowners were apprehensive, when I encouraged them to let me fully install the room so they could see how that piece of decor brought a vibrancy to the space, it not only stayed in the house, but it became one of their most favorite design features. Sometimes it’s hard for clients to visualize certain elements in a space, but having a designer’s eye helps pull a viewpoint together in new and exciting ways.
 
3. Have you ever had to gently steer a client away from a design choice you strongly opposed? What is your strategy for guiding them toward the best aesthetic while still staying true to their vision?
 
Design choices are inherently personal and individual. As a design professional, I value the vision of my client. Finding an interpretation of a specific style or point of view is part of my job. It’s not always about saying, “no” to a concept or aesthetic, but more about steering the client in a perspective that respects their point of view in a more defined, creative, or subtle way.
 
4. Who is the musical artist who has resonated with/inspired you the most in your life and why?
 
If I had to pick one person, it would probably be Madonna. Not only does she continually re-invent herself, but also she is unapologetic for remaining true to her artistic vision.
 
5. Can you describe one of your most memorable projects and what made it so special?
 
I love any project that challenges me in creative ways.  One aspect I particularly enjoy is creating custom pieces and working with talented artisans who are skilled in their craft. I recently designed a custom console for a living room project where the client was really open to allowing me create the overall vision for the room.  When we couldn’t find the right piece, we decided to design it ourselves. The final piece is bleached elm with a live edge and natural steel elements on the legs. I try to incorporate custom pieces whenever possible to create spaces that are truly personalized.
 
6. What’s your go-to recipe for potlucks and dinner parties?
 
I love to cook and entertain, but these days I’m too busy to do it as much as I’d like. Fortunately, Ina Garten’s cookbooks are the perfect go-to for easy, but delicious recipes for any occasion. If you need something fast to take to a dinner party or for impromptu cocktails, I recommend her Rosemary Cashews. Simple, addictive, and the perfect crowd pleaser!
 
Lightning round!
 
7. First concert?
 
My parents were so strict I didn’t see my first concert until I was in college. A date took me to see Erasure in San Francisco. He even brought champagne—which he proceeded to drink out of my black patent pump (not Louboutins, thank goodness!). Erasure trumped my look with their bold red rubber suits!
 
8. Favorite ice cream flavor?
 
Coffee ice cream with chocolate chips…caffeine, sugar, and chocolate? Need I say more?
 
9. Favorite makeup item?
 
Can there be anything sexier than the person who can pull off the perfect red lip?
 
10. Guilt TV pleasure?
 
Million Dollar Decorators was the best show ever! Sadly, it’s not on anymore, but I was thrilled to find it on Amazon. What could be better that the dashing debonair Martyn Lawrence Bullard dishing on how delicious design is! I adore him.
 
11. Favorite movie of all time?
 
Hands down, The Wizard of Oz. From the ruby red shoes to the yellow brick road to the emerald city...someone clearly understood the power of color.