Undoubtedly, surroundings significantly impact how one feels, and when beauty, comfort, and functionality combine, a well-designed home can soothe the soul and improve quality of life Interior Designer Kimberley Harrison understands this concept implicitly; she applies it to her own space. “If left to my own devices, I’d like a clean aesthetic. I like a home design that is quiet and not too fussy, but you want it to feel comfortable too. That’s where you bring in textures and layers, so it still feels warm and welcoming.”
Interior design is a second career for Harrison, who worked in sales before marrying and raising two children. However, she knew she had a knack for design and eventually launched her interior design company, www.kimberleyharrison.com, in 2016. That year, she was selected to participate in the Napa Valley Showhouse, and her bathroom design appeared in Traditional Home Magazine; from there, the floodgates opened. Today, she has a team of eight, a new office/studio/retail space in Lafayette, and she’s planning to launch a home accessories and décor shop online.
Harrison said of the retail line, “We’ll offer unique upscale and custom-made pieces. For example, I found an artist in France who makes these fun vases, so we ordered some of those.”
With interior design, optimizing space and resolving functionality is key, but aesthetics are vital because the design should reflect the person living there. For that to happen, a designer must tune into the client.
“I do a good job at hearing what clients say and what they want and understanding who they are intuitively.”
One of her favorite projects to date required her to use her tuning-in skills. She created what she calls “modern masculine,” a design concept that has become one of her signatures.
“The homeowner trusted me, and he let me run with the idea. It is easy to work on a project when the client trusts you, and if you spend the time upfront to create that direction, it works well. I pulled a lot of imagery up front, and we went through it so he could point to specific things he liked.”
The client is the third-generation owner of a family-owned iron company. “He wanted some elements of the family business mixed in, so I added some metal architectural elements and a custom mohair, alpaca, and wool rug with bronze inlaid strips. It captures the client’s desire to incorporate metal into the design and my instinct to blend textural elements. The final design has a masculine edge but feels warm and approachable.”
Modern masculine appeals to many of her successful male clients who are busy and need help. “They are great to work with because they know what they like and dislike, and they have strong opinions, so you get things done,” she adds. As a result, men have been some of her best clients to date.
Her next frontier is the northern Bay Area. She loves bringing nature and the outdoors into architecture, and bringing in the outdoors is especially desired when the landscape is as beautiful as California wine country. “When you use the right windows and keep your space open, that simplicity puts the focus where you want it—looking out at vineyards and rolling hills.”