2018 CH+D Awards: Icon, Kathryn Ireland

Kathryn Ireland is someone you want to get to know and, more than likely, be. Not just for her ability to throw a remarkable dinner party, but for the chance to hear her share witty stories of life, love and design. Raised in England and Scotland, Ireland landed stateside in Los Angeles, where she built an interior design and textile business that define California style, in addition to raising a family.

A serene master bath in Ireland's former home in Venice.

 

Prior to building her empire, Ireland worked as an actress, a fashion designer, in film and producing music videos for iconic hits including “Walk Like an Egyptian” by the Bangles, “Got My Mind Set on You” by George Harrison and “You Can Call Me Al” by Paul Simon. “My career to date has been very unexpected,” she says. “It’s taken many fabulous, different turns over the years.”

Not receiving formal design training did not stop Ireland from realizing her A-list achievements. She catapulted her career by showing her work on her own home to a few well-known locals including comedian Steve Martin, who later became a long-standing client. “I was my own client for many years,” says the designer. “I realized you have to get out there and be completely fearless.”

Ireland's former living room showcasing her textile collections.

More than 20 years ago Ireland launched her line of textiles, which features a highly curated assortment of wovens, batiks and more inspired by living and traveling abroad. Truly ahead of the curve, she credits her success to staying true to the craft by producing the fabrics herself. “I was passionate about color since I was a little girl,” says Ireland. “I like doing things myself so I opened a handprint studio as I could not find the quality I was looking for and was frustrated by the production timelines.”

The author of six books, Ireland allows us all to indulge in her work, her travels and her approach to entertaining at home. These days, you might catch Ireland working with a handful of clients that she enjoys, renovating her own home or speaking at one of her design retreats around the globe. Oh, and in the midst of running the textile company with her son Otis Weis, who is currently launching Otis Textiles, a line of shears that will offer a more muted palette, she has an interior design platform launching online this spring that will assuredly be a game changer for the design community. In a world that teaches us women can’t always have it all, Ireland inspires us to fearlessly follow our hearts. “If you have an idea, keep with it and follow it. Everything I’ve wanted to do, I’ve worked toward it, and achieved.” 

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