"Modern life is so fast and furious that it is necessary to start and end your day in pampered luxury."
We looked to interior designer Kevin Isbell to discover his passions and hear his perspective on how to be the best host.
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What determined your passion for design?
I think I have always been drawn to design. As a small child if I wandered away at the department store, my parents knew to find me in the furniture department. I was in awe of the different room displays. Walking from room to room dreaming about how I would live in each space.
How do you make your guests feel most comfortable?
Besides keeping a fully stocked bar, I like pressed sheets on the bed. Flowers bedside. And a bottle of water on the nightstand. A few creature comforts to make my guests feel welcome.
Do you have any "house rules"?
None. Just relax and make yourself at home. If someone feels that they cannot relax or sit on the furniture then I have failed as a designer. It's a home not a display.
What inspires you?
Travel and Art. I need it to feed my creativity and recharge my soul.
Can you remember your first design project?
Convincing my parents at a young age to allow me to redecorate my room. I painted each piece of furniture in a different bright color and swagged a giant black and white polka dot fabric at the windows. It was the 80’s after all.
What field of design are you most interested in?
Residential design. I like being able to shape how my clients experience their most intimate of spaces.
What is your process in designing a room or home?
My business process is always the same, but creatively I look for a spark which helps to set the tone and tell a story. This spark could come from a piece of artwork, a client's favorite book, or an exotic destination. Something which allows me tell a story creatively and to build upon it. It can be something as esoteric as “Holden Caulfield meets Aristotle Onassis” which, believe it or not, was my concept for a city high-rise apartment.
What is the best decorating advice you can offer someone?
Be true to yourself. Avoid fads. And know when you need to ask a professional for help.
What is your favorite book, magazine, or site on design?
Cabana magazine has been a great source of inspiration lately. And the website Quintessence is a must read for all things lifestyle.
What are the most important elements when designing a bedroom?
A quality mattress, quality sheets and a wall mounted swing arm lamp at the bedside.
What does it feel like to wrap yourself in Frette sheets or Frette bath?
Like a mother’s warm embrace. Modern life is so fast and furious that it is necessary to start and end your day in pampered luxury. It’s the only part of the day that is totally in your control why not make the most of it.
Do you prefer your sheets to be linen, sateen, percale, or poplin?
Freshly ironed percale.
What is on your bedside table?
A stack of magazines, a carafe of water and an iPad.