The Twin Cities is filled with lots of great design, and lots of great design bloggers! With such a thriving design blogging community right here, we thought it would be fun to get to know each other better through some local design blogger features. A few weeks ago we featured Twin Cities design blogger, Jennie, from Twin Cities Design Scene. Today we sit down with Kim from Lark Nest Design.
Kim is a life-long lover of design, with a background in journalism – so it’s no wonder the projects she chronicles on her blog are smartly written and truly inspiring. Kim says the blog began as a natural outgrowth of her website, LarkNestDesign.com, as a way to share her finds and illustrate the process of giving new life to old furniture. Although she does admit the blog also has a self-serving purpose – to indulge her passion for fabric, color, texture and design!
Not only do you blog for Lark Nest Design, but you also blog for Flea Market Style Magazine and Junk Bonanza and are a former writer for the Star Tribune, so which came first – your love of writing or your love of design?
Probably the latter, though I’ve been so fortunate to find a way to integrate so many of my interests. I’m trained as a business journalist, but my love of textiles, color, textures and decor won out! I am incredibly fortunate to spend each day searching out finds and fabrics for decor clients or for myself, for the projects I retail through Linden Hills Florist and the Piccadilly Prairie occasional sale. In addition to blogging for the Junk Bonanza and Flea Market Style magazine, I handle marketing for the former and build projects for the latter. So the writing/decor functions are fairly seamlessly intertwined!
How would you describe your personal style as it relates to home decor?
Eclectic and functional (though my husband calls the vintage farmhouse columns that flank the fireplace, holding beautiful spheres made of rusted barbed wire, merely decorative!).
We live in a small, 1921 home in SW Minneapolis, so all the space has to function well. I love neutrals and to layer in different saturation of each color. We have a lovely deep khaki in the living room and a chocolatier version of it upstairs. The dining room was recently painted Timberwolf Gray. They all work together. I also love to combine lots of elements: metal, reclaimed as well as polished wood, ebony, leather, textured fabrics, new and old pieces. Nothing takes the self-consciousness off of new furniture more than adding pieces with patina to the mix. I am self-taught, so a decorator rather than a designer. The “Design” in Lark Nest Design refers to the pieces I refurbish and recast from curbside and estate sale finds.
You love rehabbing and refurbishing furniture – do you have a favorite project you’ve worked on where you took a flea market or vintage find and turned it into something fabulous?
A favorite strategy is to use modern fabric treatments with old furniture frames. Something about the juxtaposition really makes a piece sing. The vintage details give a piece gravitas, but the fun new fabrics imbue them with energy!
One of my favorite projects is a hundred-year-old door from northern India with gorgeous original hardware that I purchased at the Oronoco Gold Rush Days for a client who had a lot of collectibles to display. We expanded the frame and built it out using reclaimed wood to make a beautiful, one-of-a-kind display armoire.
Another is a total rehab job on a pair of wooden card table chairs I found in the alley! They were sound, had chinoiserie-style legs but, alas, had that early-’70s aura. I knocked the backs and arms off, restyled and upholstered them as X-benches. It is very fun to give something a new lease on life!
Do you have any tips for readers who like to go to flea markets and antique stores – what should they look for in a piece of furniture to know that it is worth investing some time and effort in to bringing it back to life?
Something has to be pretty bad for it to be beyond salvation, but you need to decide whether you have the time and inclination to do the work! Pieces often need to be re-glued and clamped, stripped and/or sanded and de-glossed, primed and painted or stained. Chairs can need new webbing as well as cushions and upholstery. It’s really a calculation as to whether you have the time and desire. I also believe that if you really, really love something, there is a way to make it work and to fit (Exhbit A: those farmhouse columns in my living room!)
Through your work as a writer and decorator, what have you learned the most about design or what have you learned to love the most about design?
That beauty and integrity are found in many, many pieces. It’s your job as a homeowner or as a decorator to find a way to curate the pieces so they create a harmonious and beautiful space that reflects your style and your needs and make it a place to which you are happy to retreat. A home, not a showplace. I love that there are so many great choices out there for good design, and I enjoy the puzzle of finding the perfect, functional fit. I also love that there are so many talented designers and decorators at work in the Twin Cities. There is a style for everyone!