We can often tell a lot about an interior designer's approach at first glance of their work. We'd even argue that the mood of a room is a direct reflection of their vision. So when we came across the designs of Anna Burke with Kemble Interiors, we were so impressed with the sophisticated and artful way she layers a space. And after an interview with Ms. Burke, it turns out her personality is as brilliant and vibrant as her designs.
A young, up-and-coming interior designer based in New York City, Burke admits that one of the most important considerations she makes when pulling a room together is striking an even balance between comfort and style. Which makes sense to us, since few things are as rewarding as lounging in a plush chair at the end of a long work day (you know you agree!).
Read through our Q&A below to learn more about her thoughts on design and style... and why both are important in putting together a successful space.
The Huffington Post: Which trends are you tired of seeing?
Anna Burke: Ghost chairs...sorry!
HP: What do you anticipate will be the hot trends in the coming months?
AB: I've long anticipated a return to the design elements of our parents' generations like glazed chintz, for example. In smaller doses, of course.
HP: Do you have any signature element you like to incorporate in every project?
AB: No one gets out alive without a living tree and a little bit of brass. I mean it!
HP: Which design decisions make the biggest impact in a space?
AB: Lighting and wall color.
HP: What's the most common misconception about designers?
AB: That we're expensive! Decorating on your own can be time consuming and making mistakes is much costlier to correct.
MORE Q&A BELOW
These photos are from my last apartment in the West Village. Our living room was bathed in light all day long. I loved keeping the walls white and the furnishings simple. The photograph above the fireplace was purchased from a street vendor on 7th Avenue for $2. It had been ripped out of its original frame, and I liked it that way.
Another shot of our living room in the west village. I love to use different textures in a room. A vintage fur throw on a rattan sofa, black and white wool dhurrie rug. I love mixing different elements to create spaces that feel unfussy and authentic.
I found these vintage Mastercraft headboards in an antique store in Palm Beach. I did my whole bedroom around them. I love florals and this one was unique and old and totally intact because the previous owner had kept them covered in plastic! The painting above the bed was a gift from my mother. I've always had it over my bed
I love ikat and I love D. Porthault floral sheets. They feel old fashioned and luxurious to me and any dose of them, even a tiny tiny budoir pillow, elevates just about any bed. The ikat is by Quadrille, one of my cheerful favorites.
I spend a lot of time sitting at my desk. I love fresh cut flowers in a bud vase, pretty brass containers for pens and pencils and little trays from John Derian for holding note pads. This old chippendale desk was a piece we rescued from the street before the garbage men got to it!
Our bathroom was old and dingy when we moved in. I wanted to evoke a Beverly Hills hotel meets D. Porthault moment, and hand painting these 8 inch stripes in peach and white really helped the room! I love art in a bathroom. No need for blank walls!
This bar cart came from my grandparents beach house. Along with tons of our furniture. I love having friends over a few times a week for a quick drink to catch up. A well stocked bar cart means you never have to run down the street at the last minute!
This is a master bedroom of an apartment we did for a young family on the upper west side. We loved the idea of giving them soft muted colors to retire to, and a big sexy headboard, trimmed in antique mirror and covered in soft supple cream leather.
This little black scroll bench with gilt detail was the first thing we bought for the client. Someones one pieces guides an entire room and scheme. We loved how romantic the shape was, and covering it in a black and white ikat print made it more fun and less serious.
This gorgeous skirted table was our solution for the dreaded "where do I drop my keys?" question. most of our clients are looking for some sort of piece in their entry hall with storage. We built the table to house shoes underneath the skirt and a little tray on top was the perfect key holder. It all turned out quite neat!
This client was so fearless when it came to color. She told us a few colors she didn't like and the rest were fair game. Royal blue, olive green and a big pop of orange came together in this dining nook. We mirrored the entire wall to help bounce light around the space and it made for a stunning reflection of the sputnik style light fixture. The peacock was purchased online by the client and he seems to fit just about everywhere in their apartment!
This family room was created for a client in Southampton. Previously their formal dining room, the husband was looking for a room that was comfortable to hang out in with friends and the wife wanted something elegant and in line with the rest of the home. The red grasscloth was existing in the room, so we built of off that.
HP: What's a common mistake that the average homeowner makes in or to their home?
AB: Buying a rug that's too small for a room. Standard rug sizes (8x10, 9x12) can shrink a big room.
HP: What's the one furniture item/accessory/etc., that no one should have in their home?
AB: Anything you don't want to sit on. The intersection of comfort and beauty is key.
HP: What's the one furniture item/accessory/etc., that everyone should have in their home?
AB: A sofa with down cushions (unless you're allergic). There is nothing quite like the experience of sinking into something that requires a crane to get out of!
HP: What house inspired you to be a designer?
HP: What's your own home like? (And if you live with someone, how do they feel about it?)
AB: My home is eclectic - a mix of found objects and pieces bought on impulse after a sleepless night of "I have to have it" thoughts. I'm an emotional decorator. I buy what I love and arrange around those pieces. My fiancee is a saint.
HP: Are your friends and family scared to have you over to their homes?
AB: No! I move around their furniture and give them some ideas, but who am I to judge?!
HP: What's the greatest lesson your design mentor taught you?
AB: Be kind to your clients and craftsmen. Kindness is everything. And you know what? They return it!
HP: Why should people care about design?
AB: Because the time you spend in your home (maybe 14 hours a day) is worthy of your soul, your flair and your identity. Surround yourself with beauty. Start buying art. Add a pillow. Interior design is about strategic accumulation and masterful arranging. The rest is flowers and props and feeling good when you walk into a room.
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